More than 150 Lindsay Heights families, neighbors and community supporters gathered recently in Johnsons Park on a mild summer’s day to celebrate the first concert in the park after five years.
David Bowen, county supervisor, 10th District, said he believed the concerts in the park were stopped due to trouble with crowd control. And although Bowen said crime has risen in the area, he added that he hopes to combat that with events such as the concert. Bowen’s office co-sponsored the event.
“I’m interested in rebuilding and strengthening the bonds of the community, and the way to do that is to bring people together to enjoy themselves, and see their community thriving,” said Bowen.
Other attendees agree that building community is important for Lindsay Heights and the 10th District.
“It’s positive to have these events because it brings people out, and you can see who lives in your community and who supports your community,” said Mario Drain, who grew up in the neighborhood on 13th Street and Vine Street.
“So many people, especially in this community, are going through so many issues and things in their life,” said Adebisi Agoro of BLAX and the Bloodhounds, a band that performed a mixture of original rap and rock music at the event. “It’s important to bring the arts back into the community, especially since we’re lacking arts (education) in the school system, so it’s nice to just relax and let go of the worries of the day.”
Live entertainment went from 5:30 p.m. until dusk. In addition to BLAX and the Bloodhounds, performers included Jazz Poets, a band of students from Milwaukee High School of the Arts who performed cover songs of R&B music.
Interspersed throughout the concert were updates from community organizations such as Alice’s Garden and Feed the People, which promote healthy eating in the black community.
Milwaukee County Parks has offered free concerts all summer at 21 county parks. The parks department presented the concert in partnership with the Johnsons Park Neighborhood Association and Bowen.
Guy Smith, parks chief of operations at Milwaukee County Parks, said Johnsons Park is a great venue. He added that the concert “brings family and everyone together.”
Czerda Riley, a Lindsay Heights resident for more than 50 years, saw the signs for the concert, and decided to celebrate her grandson’s and deceased mother’s birthday with her family at Johnsons Park. “We decided to have the party here to enjoy the music, food and fun,” she said.
“This is one of those events that is about love and caring to show people that we can get along,” Riley added.