Milwaukee Alds. Russell W. Stamper, II and Michael J. Murphy will celebrate the reconstruction of Foundation Park, 3700 W. McKinley Ave. in the East Martin Drive neighborhood, in an event Thursday from 4 until 6 p.m.
As part of the ongoing MKE Plays initiative to transform 14 deteriorating city parks, the 8,000-square foot Foundation Park has gotten a new sidewalk, new play equipment, shade trees, lawn, benches and picnic tables.
The protective rubber surfacing at the playset features a tradition Hmong embroidery patterns, reflecting the neighborhood’s growing Hmong community.
Foundation Park before (above) and after (below).
The improvements were realized with funding from the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and the Walt Disney Corporation, and collaboration between the Martin Drive Neighborhood Association, the Hmong American Friendship Association, MKE Plays and local artists.
According to a statement from the aldermen, "The revitalized park highlights the rich cultural heritage of the growing Hmong community in this west side neighborhood, and includes accessible rubber safety surfacing with vibrant, colorful embroidery patterns that are symbolic of the Hmong culture. Foundation Park provides a social gathering place for all neighbors."
There will be performances at 4:30 at today’s event.
"Please join us for an afternoon of fun activities as we welcome a new park and community space that celebrates our Hmong neighbors and their culture," said Stamper. "I thank all the organizations and individuals who made the new Foundation Park a reality and an extraordinary community asset."
"Foundation Park is another wonderful example of Milwaukee community members working together with MKE Plays, an initiative I began in 2015," added Murphy.
"Through the generous support of the NRPA and the Walt Disney Corporation, I am proud to see another beautiful park reconstructed to benefit our neighborhoods where our residents live, work and play."
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.