Happy Earth Day, Milwaukee!

A garden dream came true this Earth Day, Wednesday April 22nd 2015 as volunteers from Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association (WLCA), Metro Milwaukee Chapter installed garden beds, picnic tables, and play areas for the new Neighborhood House Garden Park on a vacant corner of W. 27th St. and Richardson Place. The ground-breaking ceremony featured park project donors, WISN TV’s Mark Baden, Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman, State Reps Nikiya Harris and Evan Goyke, neighborhood residents and guests. Many hands made light work, despite the April snow flurries, as NH staff, kids, neighbors and adult students from International Learning Center pitched in to help shovel compost, dig post holes, install fencing, and put up a 6 foot sign for the corner gateway.

The Earth Day work blitz was part of an annual community service project of the WLCA, spearheaded by Bradley Blaeser, whose landscaping firm The Green Team of Wisconsin, Inc. specializes in sustainable landscape management. Blaeser worked at Neighborhood House as an environmental educator from 2001-2007.

The project’s funders include Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation; Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust; and a local family that has been long supported Neighborhood House’s environmental programs. Area WLCA landscapers generously donating time and materials for the project include: Hoppe Tree Service, Johnson Nurseries, ALCS, Beautiful Blooms Landscape & Design, Greener Roofs and Gardens, Jon Welch, The Farm, Aquatica, Landworks, Tom Shepard, Bryan Bergner, Darren’s Skid Steer Service, Jaime Dechamps, Matthew Schofield, and the Green Team of Wisconsin, Inc.

Jeff Martinka, Executive Director of Neighborhood House, expects this urban agriculture project to enhance the neighborhood, and give the community center a presence on W. 27th Street, an area poised for redevelopment. “This part of the city has very little parkland – our neighbors need more safe places for kids and families to come together.  The Garden Park supporters are literally making this corner come to life,” said Martinka. Neighborhood House is working with the City of Milwaukee, SHARP Literacy, Milwaukee Police Department, and other key partners to keep the site active, safe and crime-free.


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