By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Feb 06, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Residents in the West Side neighborhoods of Lenox Heights. Enderis Park and Enderis East have learned that there is a proposal to transform three adjacent, vacant properties on the 6600 block of West Lisbon Avenue into the sustainable Lisbon Food Village, an urban farming and food co-op.

According to the proposal, written by permaculturalist Barbara Richards for Milwaukee Redevelopment Authority, Milwaukee Office of Sustainability, Transition Milwaukee, Sweet Water Organics, Growing Power, Outpost Foods, Urban Ecology Center, Second Harvest, Columbia/St Mary’s and "other supporters of local, resilient, sustainable food systems," the project would:

"create a sustainable resilient food system for the West Side of Milwaukee that integrates the co-op benefits of Outpost Foods, the community involvement/ outreach and education of Growing Power, the knowledge from Growing Power and Sweet Water Organics vermiculture and aquaculture systems, and the water harvesting and energy use knowledge from the Urban Ecology Center. Second Harvest has knowledge of outreach to those in need. Columbia/St Mary’s has expertise in community health centers."

The three buildings – 6620, 6642 and 6654 W. Lisbon Ave. – would be transformed into a greenhouse and production facilities, a processing center and retail store, and a building that would house a time bank, resources exchange, community health center, office space for community groups and an education outreach facility.

The proposal sets out a goal of obtaining the properties by June 2012, developing the sites with a 12-month period and being ready to open the retail outlet by September 2013. Richards is currently organizing a non-profit corporation and finalizing a business plan.

Architectural renderings have already been created with UWM architecture students and the proposal is already in its second draft.  This is an exciting idea for a neighborhood that could really use a retail and commercial boost. And it's the kind of sustainable, neighborhood-focused project that could really bring some energy to the area.

Ald. Michael Murphy said he's seen the proposal.

"I have seen the proposal and have spoken with Barbara Richards about it," he wrote in an email this morning. "I do support it and think it could be very positive for the community."

I hope the DCD and others are watching and getting involved in this idea.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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 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.