Milwaukee County Parks was a back-to-back winner during the 18th Annual Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI) ceremony on April 6.

Milwaukee County’s Johnsons Park named as the Public Space Award winner, and the “Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award” recognized the efforts of numerous partners and community groups, who came together to revitalize the 13.2 acre park, the only public park in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood.

“Great parks help build community and contribute to the overall well-being of a neighborhood. The MANDIs highlight some of the most innovative and collaborative projects happening in Milwaukee and all of the nominated projects deserve a lot of praise for the lasting impact they’ll have on the community,” County Executive Chris Abele said. “The Johnsons Park revitalization project is a great example of what can be achieved through strong partnerships, a shared vision, and community involvement.”

Johnsons Park reopened in June 2016 after a two year renovation spearheaded by the Center for Resilient Cities, the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County Parks, which included improved sports fields, all new pathways to connect the existing playgrounds and exercise equipment, new energy efficient lighting systems, new bathrooms, benches and bike racks, a picnic shelter and an open-air performance stage. The park upgrades also included environmentally sustainable features to help collect storm water and prevent flooding, including 80 new trees and a bioswale.

Project partners included the City of Milwaukee, Johnsons Park Neighborhood Association, and Alice’s Garden. Last year, Milwaukee County’s Moody Park took home the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award at the MANDIs.

As part of County Executive Chris Abele’s Urban Parks Initiative, Milwaukee County’s Moody Park has been completely transformed, and the investment has brought the community together. Moody Park was one of five parks included in the first phase of this ongoing community investment to replace old, abandoned, and costly facilities with multiple features that are more responsive to the needs of the community.

Through the County’s partnership with Amani United, Friends of Moody Park, COA-Goldin Center, Dominican Center for Women, Building Neighborhood Capacity Program, and Milwaukee Public School-Auer Avenue, the new park has become a positive rallying point for the community and provides a safe and accessible place for all to visit, learn, and enjoy.

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Lee Matz