The boards of directors of Zilber Family Foundation and the Rotary Club of Milwaukee today jointly announced gifts totaling $350,000 toward the revitalization of Johnsons Park. With this announcement, the $1.23 million final capital campaign phase of the Johnsons Park Initiative, led by the Center for Resilient Cities, has reached half its goal.
The Zilber Family Foundation will be providing a $250,000 gift to the project. “The board of directors of the Zilber Family Foundation knows that safe and inviting parks and playgrounds enhance the quality of life for children, youth and families,” said Susan Lloyd, Executive Director of the Zilber Family Foundation. “Because Joe Zilber grew up in Lindsay Heights, where Johnsons Park is located, the board’s support is especially heartfelt.”
“Our $100,000 gift continues Rotary’s long-term involvement in the Johnsons Park area,” said Kathie Eilers, president of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. “From our involvement with the founding of Feeding America, to our ongoing presence as volunteer tutors in Brown Street Academy and helping to renovate the school’s playground last year, Rotarians have long believed in this neighborhood. A revitalized Johnsons Park will help this area reach its full potential.”
Owned by Milwaukee County, Johnsons Park (1919 W. Fond du Lac Ave., 53205) is the only public park space in the 110-block Lindsay Heights neighborhood and was identified as one of 13 catalytic projects in the 2008 Lindsay Heights Quality of Life Plan, said Marcia Caton Campbell, executive director of the Center for Resilient Cities.
Funds granted by the two foundations will be used to make improvements to Johnsons Park that promote a mix of recreational activities for youth and families, such as football and soccer on improved sports fields, and walking, running and bicycling on tree-lined pathways. Energy-efficient lighting will allow extended hours of safe park use and pilot the new County standard for park lighting. A performance stage will facilitate community concerts, performances and other gatherings. A bioswale planned for the center of the park will help manage storm water on site.
Caton Campbell also noted these two gifts have generated significant interest among other potential project funders. “We expect to make additional announcements soon,” she said.
The Center for Resilient Cities has completed two phases of the Johnsons Park Initiative: improvements to Alice’s Garden (Phase 1, completed in 2010, winner of the 2011 Brewers Community Foundation Best Public Space at the MANDIs), and the renovation of MPS’s Brown Street Academy Schoolyard (Phase 2, completed in 2012, 2013 MANDI finalist for Best Public Space). Both phases won Mayor’s Design Awards, in 2011 and 2013, respectively.