At its meeting on Monday, Milwaukee’s Common Council unanimously adopted a resolution to rename the Cawker Play Area at 2929 N. 30th St. in the Amani neighborhood Alwin Lopez (Al) Jarreau Park.
The move was co-sponsored by all the members of the council and now just needs a signature from Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
Singer Al Jarreau was born in Milwaukee in 1940 and graduated from Lincoln High School before going on to a career during which he earned six Grammy Awards and 19 nominations.
Jarreau died in Los Angeles in 2017 at the age of 76.
“Al Jarreau was a brilliant and extremely influential artist in the genres of jazz and R&B, but so many Milwaukee residents are unaware of how important this city was to him, or that he even came from Milwaukee,” said Ald. Khalif Rainey, in whose 7th Aldermanic district the park is located.
“That’s why I’m glad that this renaming file was adopted and we can honor a man who made great strides with his music and always cherished his home city. I hope that this will promote his legacy and provide an example for our children to aspire to.”
The park had previously been named for nearby Cawker Place, which was, in turn, named for Emanuel Cawker, who owned and subdivided the land in the area, which is known as Cawker’s Subdivision.
The park, which has a playset, swings and basketball courts, is adjacent to the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Engine 13 quarters.
Artist Tia Richardson designed new fence and basketball court murals for the park, based on ideas collected from neighborhood residents, who were also recruited to help paint the first mural last month.
“The input provided by area residents for these murals was greatly appreciated,” said Rainey at the time. “The more people we can have involved the better as we aim to complete this true community-driven
The City of Milwaukee Parks project was a collaboration with Milwaukee
County Parks, the Dominican Center, Amani United and Safe & Sound.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.