Alice’s Garden, the home of a Lindsay Heights family garden program that teaches residents to grow, cook and store healthy foods, has won a prestigious award for using public space in a way that “contributes significantly to the overall well-being of the community.”
Alice’s Garden received the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award, presented at the 12th annual Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) dinner on March 30. Other finalists for the public space award were The Walls Project, a memorial to victims of violence in the Washington Park Neighborhood, and The Community Gardens at Kilbourn Park in Riverwest.
Marcia Caton Campbell, executive director of the Center for Resilient Cities, said she was thrilled with the award, which was new this year. “It’s such a marvelous thing to be the first winner of this award,” she said. “People have waited a long time for positive change. It has been occurring over the last 6-8 years but to have a space in their community recognized in this way is very powerful.”
The Center for Resilient Cities is a nonprofit organization that works with citizens, nonprofits and government partners to create healthy, high-quality environments. The center also is involved in revitalizing the Johnsons Park area, which includes Alice’s Garden.
Although Alice’s Garden has been a community garden for nearly 30 years, a neighborhood planning process that culminated two years ago resulted in construction of a central pavilion, tool sheds, picnic tables and other amenities.
“If you saw a photo of Alice’s Garden even three or four years ago, it would have looked very different,” said Caton Campbell. There wasn’t any programming at that time, and no sense of community or community ownership, she added. “That has all changed.”
The MANDI awards, hosted by LISC Milwaukee, drew nearly 600 people. Awards were presented in six categories to honor outstanding efforts to revitalize Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods.