Bay View’s Proposed Wheel Park Now Slated for Sijan Playfield

January 3, 2019

By Katherine Keller

Bay View Neighborhood Association has changed direction with its plans for a Bay View Wheel Park. Originally destined for Humboldt Park, the all-ages BMX, scooter, skates, and skateboard venue is now slated for the upper field of Sijan Playfield. 

The upper field is bordered on the south by Milwaukee Forge, South Nevada Street on the west, and Lake Parkway on the east.

BVNA’s wheel park project leader Nichole Williams originally contacted MPS in 2010 or 2011 but it showed little interest, she said. Instead, she approached Milwaukee County Parks, hoping to convince them to allow BVNA to construct it in Humboldt Park. MPS owns Sijan Playfield.

A preliminary rendering of a feature of a proposed wheel park for Sijan Playfield. Courtesy Milwaukee Public Schools

After several years of failing to reach an agreement with Milwaukee County Parks, which owns Humboldt Park, she determined that its barriers were too cumbersome. 

She approached MPS in April 2018 and she said it welcomed the idea. BVNA and MPS are currently in the early stages of discussing the project and nothing is finalized.

If the two parties reach a consensus, BVNA would fund the project, and when completed and paid for, it would gift the wheel park to MPS.

The plan involves two, possibly, three phases. The first is replacing the existing soccer field with the wheel park, resurfacing the adjacent basketball court, and creating a replacement lighted soccer field in the lower Sijan fields. 

The area outlined in yellow is the upper level of Sijan Playfield where the basketball court and soccer field are located. The wheel park would replace the soccer field, the court would be surfaced, and the soccer field moved to the lower level of the park. Annotated, Google Maps

The estimated Phase One cost $250,000, Williams said. BVNA has already raised $50,000. The remainder would be acquired through grants, sponsorships and donations. 

Phase Two would improve the playground and modernize it as an all-abilities facility.

A potential Phase Three would make improvements to the bathrooms, if necessary, based on use.

Williams noted that unlike Oak Creek, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Brookfield, Delafield, Lake Geneva, Sheboygan, Mt. Horeb, and Madison, which have free and public skate/wheel parks, Milwaukee has none.

Prior to approaching MPS, Williams contacted residents who live within a one block radius of the park to gauge their disposition about constructing a wheel park at Sijan. She said their responses were positive.

BVNA has initiated a capital campaign to raise funding to complete this $200,000 investment.

If you would like to learn more about sponsorships or donations, contact Patty Pritchard Thompson: 

Cultivating Healthy Bodies, Imagination, and Down to Earth Know-How

November 3, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts? Agriculture Program grows and grows

Kegan Murray, Anaiyahliz Coriano Torres, Erin Dentice, Mary Thaw, and Colton Medina. Photo Tom Grimm

At one time in Wisconsin, most children were aware, many from direct experience, that vegetables grow in soil and need sunlight and water and nutrients to thrive. They helped their parents sow seeds in farm fields and in backyards, just as they helped the family harvest and preserve the bounty. 

Today in Wisconsin and beyond, data farms proliferate as family farms disappear. Children have lost touch with the elemental processes that produce the fruit and vegetables and grains on their plates.

There is a growing movement in the United States to reconnect school children with food. Slow Food’s school garden curriculum aims to teach children “where food comes from, what real food tastes like, how to grow and harvest it in an environmentally-friendly way, and how food connects to culture and community.” 

Similar programs have emerged in the past 20 years, among those UNESCO’s Garden Based Learning, the nonprofit National Farm to School Network, and Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Project.

The agriculture program at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts began modestly with the installation of raised garden beds in front of the school, 2969 S. Howell Avenue. Photo Katherine Keller

In Bay View, an exemplary agriculture program for students in K4 through Grade 8 has taken root at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, instituted and led by dynamo Erin Dentice, the program’s coordinator.

When Dover Street School and Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities formally merged in 2013, Dentice installed 4 x 8 foot raised bed garden plots in the front lawn of the school, 2969 S. Howell Ave. Her motive was to thank the teachers for their hard work and to help make neighbors aware of the new school. Parkside is located in the former Gustav A. Fritsche Middle School building.

The school garden plots served as the seeds for Parkside’s full-fledged agriculture program. From kindergarten to eighth grade, students participate in different aspects of the program. Those range from learning about growing food to cooking and preserving to studying and preserving it to studying the food and culinary traditions of fellow students.


The program began when one of Park­side’s parents, who is affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin, approached Dentice and Parkside administrators with a proposal to form a partnership with MCW for a study about the effect of nutrition education and its effect on students — specifically how it affects behavior, self-efficacy, confidence, and body mass index. 

Dentice and Parkside were on board. To gather information for grants, she would write to fund the program, Dentice and MCW held three community listening sessions where they asked parents, if we provided a service for families, what could we do to make the biggest impact?

Dentice’s vision was to create a program that would educate the whole child. For her it was vital that it would include nutrition education, which is often missing in the curriculum. “The thing that we heard the most,” Dentice said, “was the family buy-in piece, the family having a vested interest in it — bringing parents in so they were also learning what the children were learning so they could take it into the home. We heard that theme a lot. That was resounding.

“You can teach kids about nutrition in school and to cook tasty things, but if their choices are limited at home, it’s hard for the children to practice and sustain what they’re learning”.

Erin Dentice, who is the ag program coordinator at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, said she had a lot to learn about growing vegetables in a hoop house. Keeping squash vines within the house confines was a challenge. Photo Erin Dentice

The garden component of the proposed program received a boost when Erick Shambarger, the City of Milwaukee’s Director of Environmental Sustainability, told her about hoop houses that were available. 

Shambarger, who attended the listening sessions, told Dentice that there were large hoop houses on the Garden District community garden grounds at Sixth and Norwich streets. The abandoned hoop houses were originally constructed and used by Will Allen and Growing Power. 

Dentice was referred to Simon Landscape Company, who owns the land beneath the hoop houses. Bryan Simon, whose company is located near the Garden District gardens, was instrumental in establishing and developing community gardens, working closely with Ald. Terry Witkowski. 

She inspected the site and hoop houses with Shambarger and Simon, thought they would enhance her program, and wrote a proposal outlining how Parkside could grow produce in the hoop houses and use it in the culinary arts program. Simon was persuaded and Dentice selected two of the 30 x 70 feet houses.

“When we saw them, the hoop houses were falling apart. The plastic was ripping off and they needed some work,” Dentice said. The community pitched in to renovate them.

Bay View High School donated plywood, hardware, shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows.

Families helped make repairs. Bay View High School students, through a workforce development program, also worked at the hoop houses. Some of the older students who spoke the same language as younger Parkside students with rudimentary English, volunteered as translators.

Dentice, who worked as a project manager in the mutual funds industry and proprietor of an in-home daycare center before Parkside, ramped up skills she’d need for the program by drawing on others’ expertise.

“I called the farmer that runs our family’s CSA and asked him about growing in hoop houses. He invited me to come out to the farm and take a look at their hoop houses. I learned all about what I would need to repair and properly reinforce ours,” she said. “I am so grateful for partners like Bryan Simon, and April Yuds and Tim Huth of LotFotL, for their support and expert guidance. This is what makes community projects successful!”

Parkside’s Compost Team members are Kayla Arnold, Egypt Isom, Janassi Arce Jones, Kylie Moore, Lucy Peters, and Ella Williams. The poster above is in the lunchroom where compost is collected, placed in an outdoor cart, and picked up by Compost Crusaders. Photo Erin Dentice

Jesse Blom, who worked for Sweet Water Organics, taught her how to operate and maintain the aquaponics system that is one of the features of her classroom/kitchen/lab. 

“My sons are the inspiration behind why I do what I do,” she said. Dentice and her husband Anthony have two sons, Sal and Sonny (Salvatore and Santino), who are 10 and 12. 

Dentice developed an interest in gardening and farming when her children were born. She wanted to give them healthy organic food. Likewise, when she opened her childcare center, she wanted to provide the same for her clients. She taught herself through research and practice.

Dentice said she had a lot to learn about gardening in hoop houses where conditions are dramatically than growing in the open. “Over the summer it gets very hot so there were things that just went bananas, like the tomatoes, they really liked it. And we had lots of squash. I underestimated how much space they’d need. It was like Little Shop of Horrors!” she laughed. “It definitely exceeded expectations in terms of production.” 

She tried to train the squash vines to stay within the confines of the hoop houses. “But when I came back, they’d be growing out the ends and all over! I’ll do a little bit more with giving them things to climb up next year,” she said.

Dentice’s decisions about what to plant in the hoop houses were based on the food traditions of Parkside’s families, who have roots in more than 25 different nations. The families submitted recipes that she used to make choices about what to grow. “We tried basically everything,” she said.

She and her students grew corn, squash, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, herbs, tomatillos, peppers, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers.

Water is provided from a rainwater harvesting system adjacent to the hoop houses. Dentice installed a pump to move the water from the rainwater cistern to the hoop houses, funded by a South Side Soup grant that also paid for some of the plastic that was required to restore the structures.

Some of the hoop house bounty was preserved in 72 jars of pickles used for students’ lunches and snacks. She also freezes it for use during the school year, enlisting the help of people with home freezers.

An integral component of Dentice’s ag program is teaching children about their own and fellow students’ food ways and food cultures. Students interview each other to learn about the food they eat at home and about different culinary traditions.

Dentice is working with the school’s first graders who are making lists of their favorite healthy foods that they will incorporate in a self-portrait each child creates.

 “My favorite food is mac and cheese!” exclaimed Colton Medina. “I usually don’t just use foods (in a drawing of myself.) This is the first time I’m using food.” He will also use peaches, apples, and oranges. He might use mac and cheese to outline his head and face and the fruits for his eyes and mouth and other facial features.

His buddy Kegan Murray reflected on the preparatory sketch he made for his self-portrait. “I think,” he explained, “I used a big, big tomato for my head. I used a banana for my mouth and I used some grapes for my hair, green! My eyes, I used little, little tomatoes. I put some strawberries in for my cheeks. And I put fruits around in the background. Like, I put in some squash. It’s going to be peach squash.”

Mary Thaw said she was going to draw a cucumber. “And a watermelon,” she said, bursting into laughter. “And carrots, strawberries, and apples.”

Learning about plants is Mary’s favorite part of the ag program. “I like seeing them grow,” she said.

Anaiyahliz Coriano Torres also likes watching plants grow. It was not a bit challenging deciding how to portray herself with fruits and vegetables. “I am going to use an orange, a banana, green grapes, cucumbers, a watermelon, and apples! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” she quipped amid a gale of giggles.

At MPS, we greatly value the rich learning environment urban farming can provide. Barriers to fresh, nutritious food for Milwaukee students extend beyond mere access to include a knowledge gap for families and community members regarding how to procure and prepare healthy food. To begin to address this challenge, Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts works with a myriad of community partners — Bay View High School, Garden District, Simon Landscape, local chefs — to form a collaborative effort to address motivation, self-efficacy, nutrition, physical activity, and success for today’s students. —Dr. Keith P. Posley, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools

Admin and parental buy-in

Parkside parent Aubrie Granata said the ag program has motivated her boys, James Pike, 11, and Benjamin Pike, 7, to be more engaged and to participate more in her backyard garden plots. “Erin’s personality draws kids in and they want to be involved. Kids from all walks of life are drawn in.” she said. “She makes the program available to all children. She has an understanding of kids with special needs and has a huge amount of patience that others may not have.” 

Granata, who said she’s a firm believer that you get out what you put in, volunteers in Dentice’s lab and in the hoop houses, where she planted tomatoes and weeded. “Oh my gosh, I’ve moved a lot of dirt,” she laughed.

Stephanie Calloway and her husband Joshua Calloway enrolled their daughter Skyla at Parkside (K5) because it’s close to their home and it reflects their personal interests. Joshua is an artist, who teaches at MIAD, and Stephanie oversees the gardening program and teaches cooking classes at CORE El Centro.

Math, geometry, and painting skills were combined when Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts students made barn quilt paintings. They are displayed on the fence at the west end of the school’s hoop houses on Sixth Street and Norwich Avenue. Photo Katherine Keller

“I appreciate that the ag program is within the context of an arts program. It feels like a comprehensive program. There’s composting in the lunchroom, an explosion of plants in the hoop houses, and there are cooking classes. And there’s an aquaponics lab where food is growing on site. And there are animals (turtles),” Calloway said.

She attributes the growth and depth of Parkside’s ag program to Dentice’s grant writing and to the school’s administration for its wisdom appointing a dedicated staff person to develop and oversee it. 

Parkside’s principal Lila Hillman is proud of school’s achievement. “I am excited to offer agricultural programming at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts and feel strongly about the benefits it provides the students at the school. Our students, staff, and families work together to create an environment where children are intellectually challenged in ways appropriate to their individual strengths, needs, and experiences using an arts integrated approach with a community focus,” said Hillman.

“These are all concepts and principles that work cohesively with the values promoted by the programming carried out by Erin Dentice. Her project-based learning opportunities suit many different learning styles. Ensuring all activities have cross curricular applications sets the students up for success in the real world. I am confident in the ability of this program to change lives within the district and also throughout the communities the school serves. We are so proud of our school and its accomplishments.”

MPS Schools With Ag Programs
Alliance School of Milwaukee

Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education
Bradley Technology and Trade
Fernwood Montessori
Byron Kilbourn
MacDowell Montessori
Milwaukee School of Languages
Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts
Casimir Pulaski
Ronald Reagan
South Division High School

Farm to School
(With a minimum of two garden beds and
hydroponic growing system)
Grantosa Drive

Hawley Environmental
Maple Tree
River Trail
Daniel Webster

Bradley Technology and Trade

Brown Street Academy
Hawley Environmental
Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts 
Note:  The list above may be incomplete, an MPS official said,
who provided this information.

Funding Parkside’s Agriculture Program

The program is funded through fundraising and grants. Program coordinator Erin Dentice’s part-time limited term employee contract is paid the Milwaukee Public Schools. Dentice said equipment, chef fees, ingredients, and program materials are funded by grants and fundraisers.

Anodyne Coffee and Colectivo Coffee, burlap
Baby Mama Botanicals, seedlings
Bay View High School, materials to renovate hoop houses
Bay View Neighborhood Association, aquaponics system, rain barrels, recycling bins
CD Besadny Conservation Fund, conservation grant
Custom Grown Greenhouses, seedlings and plants
Grand Appliance and TV, stove
Home Depot, raised bed materials
Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative, ingredients for culinary classes
PF Chang’s, chef fees and ingredients
Pick ’n Save, ingredients for culinary classes
Simon Landscape Company, hoop houses, soil
Southside Soup, water pump, plastic, wiggle wire
Target, transportation grant
Whole Foods, garden expansion-tiller, seeds, mural materials
Woodman’s, ingredients for culinary classes

2018 Bay View Bash Wrap Up

October 2, 2018

By Sheila Julson

Bay View Bash has rocked Bay View since 2004. This year the one-day street festival held on Kinnickinnic Avenue between Potter and Clement drew an estimated 35,000 people, said Nicki Rouleau, president of the Bay View Community Fund, (BVCF) the not-for-profit that has operated Bash since 2010.

Held on the third Saturday of each September, the 2018 event took place September 15.

The revenue generated by the festival pays for the party but also is the funding source for the grants that the Bay View Community Fund distributes each year. 

Rouleau, who has been involved with the Bash organizational committee for seven years, said that city permits, entertainment, generator, stage rental fees, and electricity cost about $30,000. Vendor booth fees and sponsorships generate revenue but beer sales contribute the largest portion.

The 2018 Bash receipts were still being calculated at press time, however Rouleau said that the $17,000 profit generated by the 2017 Bash was distributed to Second Hand Purrs, Downtown Montessori Academy, Milwaukee Makerspace, the Robert J. Haertle Memorial Scholarship Foundation, English Language Partners of Wisconsin, Kompost Kids, Interfaith South Shore Regional Neighborhood Outreach, Humboldt Park 4th of July Association, South Shore Sharing Meal Program, and Bay View Huddle: The Missing Voice Project.

BVCF’s goal is to provide grant money to each group that applies. “We try hard to fulfill as many requests as we can because we want to help as many groups as we can,” said Rouleau.  

This year there were 134 vendor booths, many of them long-time participants.

In the beginning, electricity for amps and lights was provided by business owners. “Businesses would run cords from inside their businesses out onto the street,” Rouleau said. “Obviously we’ve grown since then, but a lot of those businesses on KK have helped over the years.” Among those are Rush-Mor Records, Bay View Quick Mart, the Shape Up Shoppe, and Sven’s Café.

Music has always been a feature of the Bash. This year 21 bands performed on three stages.

The Demo Stage, which has become a favorite over the years, presented nonmusical acts like Dead Man’s Carnival, as well as the Strong Man competition that is organized by Ken Weber and his team at Brickyard Gym.

The Divas of Hamburger Mary’s, a drag show that took place at mid-afternoon on the Demo Stage, was another favorite. “They had not participated for a couple of years after they moved to Walker’s Point, but they came back this year,” Rouleau said. Hamburger Mary’s moved from its Bay View location on Bay Street and Kinnickinnic Avenue to Walker’s Point in 2016.

Bay View’s eateries had a strong presence among the 30 different food vendors. Vanguard, Café Lulu, Café Corazon, and Hue were represented, as were other restaurants outside of the Bay View area.

Kompost Kids brought in members of Milwaukee Area Science Advocates to help manage recyclables, compost, and landfill materials produced by the Bay View Bash street festival. PHOTO Katherine Keller

This year Bash organizers partnered with a number of organizations including Kompost Kids, who have assisted for the past five years by collecting compostable materials and helping the festival organizers move toward a near-zero waste goal. Kompost Kids brought in members of Milwaukee Area Science Advocates to help manage recyclables, compost, and landfill materials produced by the street festival. 

Volunteers from local nonprofits helped bartend. “This year all bartenders came from different nonprofit organizations and their tips were donated back to the organizations where they work,” Rouleau said.

Approximately 200 volunteers, including the bartending staff, were recruited for Bash 2018. Planning the Bash takes eight months, Rouleau said. The committee starts planning in February.

Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) was another partner this year and shared its resources and volunteers.

“BVNA has benefited from the Bash by way of a grant that is earmarked for our skate park project, and they have also been sponsors of Chill on the Hill,” said BVNA president Patty Pritchard Thompson.

Bay View Bash was established in 2004 as a community project of the newly formed the Bay View Neighborhood  Association.

BVNA sponsored and operated Bash through 2007. In 2008, BVNA announced its decision to discontinue sponsoring the Bash to focus on smaller events. From 2008-2009 the Bay View Historical Society helped stage the festival.

In 2010 a core group of Bash volunteers formed the nonprofit Bay View Community Fund and has since operated the street festival.

More info:

Bay View Resident Adopts a Storm Drain Grate and So Can You

October 2, 2018

By Sheila Julson

Joe Hrdina, who lives on the east end of East Lincoln Avenue, was inspired to adopt two storm drains on his street. He has been maintaining the grates that cover them since August of this year so that rainwater will be able to flow into the sewer system instead of flooding the street. PHOTO Tom Grimm

Program aims to help divert pollution from our rivers and lakes

Bay View resident Joe Hrdina has always been environmentally conscious. When he stumbled across the Adopt-A-Storm Drain program through Respect Our Waters, he was immediately on board.

Adopt-A-Storm Drain is a pilot program launched last year by Respect Our Waters. The program encourages people to take a pledge to keep a storm drain clear from debris—trash, leaves, and grass clippings—before and after a rainfall and snowmelt.

Respect Our Waters is an educational program of the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust. Also known as Sweet Water, it is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring improving the water quality of local lakes and rivers.

Hrdina found the Adopt-A-Storm Drain program during a search to discover the meaning of a painting of a fish that he’s observed next to some storm drain grates such as the one near the Costco in New Berlin.

He discovered the role of the “fish portrait” is to remind people that anything that goes down drains eventually ends up in Lake Michigan.

“I found the Respect Our Waters site, and a lot of the information on there was new to me. I was surprised by how much of an impact stormwater has on our local waterways,” Hrdina said.  

The site informs visitors that “rain or melting snow washes soil, litter, pet waste, fertilizer, and lawn clippings off the pavement and into your storm drain. When the storm drain (water) empties into lakes and streams, these materials become pollutants that can kill fish, close beaches, and increase weed and algae growth.”

Hrdina, who lives on the east end of East Lincoln Avenue, was inspired to adopt two storm drains. He has been maintaining the grates that cover them since August of this year.

“One is where I park, and the other one is right in front of my house. When I leave for work in the morning, I can look at both of them and see if they need to be cleaned out,” he said. “If I know a big storm is coming, I’ll go out there in advance and make sure they are clear.”

As one who doesn’t mind going above and beyond, Hrdina will often clean his adopted storm drains, but also the gutters  on his street between his home and the Bay View Dog Park on E. Lincoln Ave. and S. Bay St.

“When you adopt a storm drain, you’re essentially pledging to keep [the grate] clear from debris. I take it a step further and clear all the litter because I know that when it rains, there’s a good chance it will flow down the gutter and end up by the drain,” he said.

Hrdina and his girlfriend occasionally foster dogs. When they take them for walks, he’ll take a bag along to pick up trash. He said leaves and grass clippings also clog storm drains, causing stormwater to pool. He compared clearing leaves away from drains to pulling a plug from a bathtub; once clear, the water flows properly. Through his research, Hrdina learned that when leaves are left in water and start to decompose, they release phosphorus, similar to what is found in fertilizer, which encourages harmful algae bloom.

Hrdina receives text messages when heavy rainfall is expected that might force the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) to release excess water and raw sewage. When MMSD’s deep tunnel system is filled to capacity, it is forced to release the excess into local waterways and into Lake Michigan.

Heavy rainfall, Hrdina said, is a time when residents should wait for storms to pass before running a dishwasher or taking a shower to prevent adding even more water to the system.

“There are a lot of drains that need attention and it’s hard not to stop at each one. It could be a full-time job. While visiting my mom on the East Side last Sunday, I cleared out a drain on Farwell by Whole Foods. The drains I cleared yesterday were very clogged with leaves,” Hrdina said. “It really helps if people bag up yard waste rather than blow it into the road.”

And what happens if those drains aren’t cleared? 

Earlier this summer, Hrdina observed that the stretch of East Lincoln Avenue that borders the Bay View dog park was flooded. “The dog park flooded yesterday morning because the drains were blocked,” Hrdina said. “Later I saw city workers in the area and imagine that they cleared the blockage.”

Hrdina saw first hand how his volunteer work makes a difference when there is heavy prolonged rainfall. “I cleared about 15 drains from Woodward Avenue to Bay Street on Lincoln. That was during the recent series of torrential storms and that dog park area did not flood that time.”

Hrdina said he’s seen two of his neighbors also clear storm drains, but he’s not sure if they are affiliated with Adopt-A-Strom Drain or if they just do it on their own.

He estimates he’s picked up about six grocery store bags of trash since he’s been part of Adopt-A-Strom Drain. “It’s important for people to be part of their communities in some way,” he said. “Whether people know about it or not, every little bit helps. It can have a big impact if we work together to make Bay View a better place.”

Jake Fincher, stormwater program manager for Respect Our Waters, said they are gauging the public’s interest in participating in a program like Adopt-A-Storm Drain. Fincher estimates that in the year since the program started, about 10 drains in the South Shore region (Bay View, St. Francis, Cudahy, and South Milwaukee) were adopted.

Interested participants can sign-up on the Respect Our Waters website by clicking on the Adopt-A-Strom Drain tab. “Privacy is our number one concern. We don’t give out anybody’s exact information; we just mark locations on our map so people can see where in the Milwaukee area storm drains have been adopted,” Fincher said.

He added that years of urban development have completely changed the natural way that water flows, leading to serious problems like flooding and pollutants in rivers and lakes. Respect Our Waters helps 37 different municipalities throughout southeast Wisconsin raise awareness about stormwater pollution prevention.

“Everybody wants cleaner lakes and cleaner water. But what we don’t realize is that [when it rains, there] is a massive amount of water, picking up a massive amount of pollutants, going down these storm drains, which by design, were meant to be invisible,” he said. “Nobody is outside during a storm looking at where stormwater is going. But the fact is that water is going down these storm drains that lead to our water, and we have to help take responsibility.”

For more information about Adopt-A-Strom Drain and tips on keeping water cleaner:

To keep track of how full the deep tunnels are during rainstorms:

Mulch, Compost, or Bag Your Leaves
Advice from Respect Our Waters

Autumn leaves making their way to our water doesn’t sound like it could be a bad thing, right? Leaves are biodegradable, meaning they naturally break down and return nutrients to their surroundings. However, we have altered the earth’s surface tremendously and it has changed the way that leaves and their nutrients interact with (and affect) the quality of our water.

Our streets act like artificial streams during rain events and transport leaves to the storm drains that then collect in our storm sewers.

Normally, when leaves fall, they decompose and release nutrients into the soil. When leaves find their way into our streets and are transported into our sewers, there is no soil to absorb the excess nutrients. Then our storm sewers become a place where overwhelming amounts of nutrients like phosphorus are released directly into our rivers and lakes, untreated.

This excess phosphorus and organic material will help feed unwanted algae growth in lakes and rivers the following spring and summer, which reduces the amount of oxygen available to native aquatic species. Additionally, there is the possibility that the algae can release toxins that are harmful to plants, mammals, amphibians, fish, and humans!

To prevent these negative effects, we have a few options:

Mulch your lawn or garden.
Whole or shredded leaves can be left on your lawn and garden! Not only will your lawn and garden absorb the nutrients, the leaves will help protect against soil erosion, prevent weeds from sprouting, and act as a protective layer of insulation for perennials in your garden. 
Put leaves in a compost pile.
Take advantage of the breakdown processes, capture the extra nutrients, and use them as a natural fertilizer for your lawn and/or garden.

Check with your municipality to see if its neighborhood services will pick up leaves for you!


We All Want Clean Rivers and Lakes
Here’s How You Can Help

Milwaukee and Southproperly—not in storm sewers or drains. 

If your community does not already have a program for collecting household hazardous wastes, ask your local government to establish one. 

• Clean up spilled brake fluid, oil, grease, and antifreeze. Do not hose them into the street where they can eventually reach local streams and lakes.

• Control soil erosion on your property by planting ground cover and stabilizing erosion-prone areas.

• Purchase household detergents and cleaners that are low in  Shore residents can actively help clean up the area’s creeks, rivers, and lakes by reducing their own contribution to nonpoint source pollution (NPS). According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the surface. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and ground waters.

Here’s what you can do.

• Keep litter, pet wastes, leaves, and debris out of street gutters and storm drains—these outlets drain directly to lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands.

• Apply lawn and garden chemicals sparingly and according to directions.

• Dispose of used oil, antifreeze, paints, and other household chemicals phosphorous to reduce the amount of nutrients 

discharged into our lakes, streams and coastal waters.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Milwaukee Residents’ Hazardous Waste Disposal Options

City of Milwaukee residents can dispose of hazardous household wastes and other material at the Lincoln Avenue Drop Off Center provided by the Department of Public Works on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (except holidays). Note: You must provide proof of residence before you will be allowed to enter the facility. The center is located at 3879 W. Lincoln Ave.

What Materials Will Be Accepted

Garage & Workshop

Artist’s paints and media
Auto body repair products
Automobile oil
Battery acid
Brake fluid
Car wax, solvent-based
Contact cement
Deck strippers (wood bleach, sealers and preservatives)
Driveway sealer
Fiberglass epoxy
Fluorescent light bulbs
Gasoline/oil mixtures
Gasoline and other fuels
Glue, solvent-based
Glue, water-based
Joint compound
Latex paint
Lighter fluid
Non-automotive oils
Oil filters
Oil-based paint
Paint thinner
Paint stripper
Parts cleaner
Photographic chemicals
Roofing tar
Rust remover
Transmission fluid
Wood filler
Wood preservative

Kitchen & Bathroom
Cleaners, solvent-based

Floor care products
Hair remover
Nail polish
Nail polish remover
Oven cleaner

Home & Garden
Aerosol cans, full

Batteries (button & rechargeable)
Dry cleaning solvent
Fertilizer (with pesticides)
Furniture polish
Metal polish, solvent-based
Insect spray
Lamp Oil
Light ballasts
Pool chemicals
Rat poison
Shoe polish
Spot remover
Stump remover
Weed killer

What Will Not Be Accepted
Compressed gas cylinders
Car batteries
Clothes dryers
Containers larger than 15 gallons
Medical Wastes
Prescription drugs
Propane cylinder
Tires of any type
Washing machines
Radioactive wastes




George Washington Bay View Post 180 for Sale

September 5, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Constructed in 1941, the brick Georgian Revival Bay View George Washington Legion Post, 2860 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., was designed by Nicholas Backes, who also designed the former American Legion Headquarters in Milwaukee, 812 E. State Street, in 1923. —Photo Katherine Keller

A Bay View landmark since 1941, this building has served its country as home to the George Washington Bay View American Legion Post 180. Now it’s time to serve the community in a different way.

So reads a sentence of the Falcon Realty listing for the red brick building that has been perched on the corner of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Fulton Street since 1941.

An offer to purchase the property is pending and is contingent on the prospective buyer receiving a raze permit from the city of Milwaukee, according to Emily Huf of Shoreline Contracting Services. Huf filed the application to raze the building on behalf of her client July 30.

Huf said the “buyer’s identity will be revealed as soon as the city issues the raze permit.” The review process includes searching for historic preservation designation or other restrictions.

A review of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Architecture and History Inventory records indicates that there are no existing historical designations for the building.

Listed for $699,000, the red brick 7,194-square-foot building consists of an open auditorium on the main floor and a bar and restaurant on the lower level that is equipped with a full kitchen and walk-in cooler. The lot is .69 acres with a 54-space parking lot. The current assessment is $480,000. 

Constructed in 1941, the brick Georgian Revival building was designed by Nicholas Backes, who also designed the former American Legion Headquarters in Milwaukee, 812 E. State Street, in 1923.

“The decision to sell was not easily reached,” said Ian Nunn, the current GWBV post commander.

An Iowa native, Nunn graduated from Marquette University’s ROTC program in 2004, served in Iraq in 2005 and moved to Milwaukee after completing his service. He and his family live in Bay View.

Declining and aging enrolment contributed to the members’ decision to sell the building. Nunn stressed that the members are not disbanding or letting go of the post’s charter. 

At one time, Post 180 boasted 1,000-plus members but has dwindled to fewer than 200.

Four years ago, Bob Schlemm, a 40-year GWBV member told the Compass that the Legion faced a perception problem that made recruiting new members a challenge. “We’re struggling right now,” he said. “We’re struggling to find memberships, and it’s not that we’re short of veterans…We just went down to the Reserve Center two weekends ago and one of the things we were approached with was, ‘Well I’m not 60, 70 years old, why would I want to belong to an American Legion? My father belonged to it.’”

Nunn agreed. The Legion struggles with recruiting new and younger members at the national, state, and local levels. “Many see Legion members as people who march in parades. When members looked in the future, they didn’t see a future need for such a large property,” Nunn said. “The building required money and work to maintain it and no one had the time or inclination to volunteer to maintain it.” 

The members began to consider whether they should continue leasing the building or if they should sell it.

Public bar and rental hall

Many Bay View residents fondly remember attending a Friday night fish fry in the Legion post and attending wedding receptions and other family functions in the first floor hall.

Members of the community were able to rent the hall for ceremonies and functions.

The Legion members generated income by leasing the bar, restaurant, and hall to help offset property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Although the Legion is a nonprofit organization, normally exempted from paying property taxes, they were obligated to pay property taxes on the portion of the building that generated income. He noted that their tenants, rather than the Legion members, paid the utility bills.

The most recent tenant was Little DeMarinis pizzeria, which closed in March 2018. 

Veronica and Joey Cieslak opened Little DeMarinis at the Legion post in February 2014, reviving the shuttered DeMarinis pizza restaurant, a community icon for since the 1950s.

The original DeMarinis began as a corner tavern on Potter and Wentworth avenues and was owned and operated by Veronica Cieslak’s grandparents, Lucille and Vincenzo DeMarinis. The couple lived in the apartment above and there they raised their family of four, two daughters and two sons, RoseMary, Josephine, Philip, and Dominic. Veronica is RoseMary’s daughter. 

The couple began serving food in their tavern in 1952.

When Lucille and Vincenzo retired in 1980, their children took over. The sisters operated the original restaurant until they closed it in 2012. They also provided care for their aging parents. “It was getting to be too much for [sisters RoseMary and Josephine],” said Veronica Cieslak. “Mom was always in the role of caregiver, and it just got to be too much.” 

Bequeathed with the original recipes and motivated by a desire to continue  her grandparents’ legacy, Cieslak and her husband opened Little DeMarinis.

“There were a lot of things we were naive about going into opening the restaurant,” Cieslak said. It was a decision based off emotion and I admittedly didn’t think everything through. At this point in my life, with two children and a full-time job already, I simply did not have the time to invest in the restaurant that it required to be successful.”

The Cieslaks’ lease expired in July, although they closed in March after notifying the GWBV post that they would terminate early. “We had intentions of selling the business and had a buyer interested in establishing their own lease at the American Legion Post,” Cieslak said. “However, when they went to one of the post’s meetings, they were told the Legion was no longer interested in leasing the space because they were selling the building instead.”

The Cieslaks’ five year lease allowed for early termination with proper notice.

The building is not ADA compliant and the kitchen is small. Ian Nunn said the building was originally conceived as a clubhouse with a small kitchen.

A new patio and a ground floor entrance were added to the Kinnickinnic Avenue side of the building, paid for by the GWBV post prior to the Cieslaks’ arrival in 2013. Nunn said the Cieslaks made interior changes to the bar/restaurant area at their own expense and were given a discount on their first two months of rent as a goodwill gesture.

If sold, then what?

The owner of On the Clock Bar and Grill (South Howell Avenue and East Bolivar St.) has allowed the members to meet in the restaurant. Nunn said they would continue to meet there because “it’s hard to beat a free facility.”

If they sell the building, the proceeds will be used to pay operating expenses and to finance post functions.

Those proceeds will be substantial since the GWBV building was paid for long ago. 

Nunn said, post functions include supporting numerous veterans organizations and causes such as Camp American Legion, Hometown Heroes, Honor Flight, Fisher House, Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin, the Inter-Organizational Council of Bay View, Humboldt Park 4th of July, various parades, local Boy Scout and Young Marines troops, and sponsorship of two boys per year to attend Badger Boys State.

He said the post might reduce membership fees that are currently $50 per year.

Another project that may benefit from the sale is the restoration of the World War I Memorial structure in Humboldt Park. 

The post will rent a storage facility for flags and plaques that are currently stored in the building. Nunn said they would sell materials they don’t need or want, most likely via Facebook.


In 1928 the post was chartered as Bay View Post 180 and was headquartered in a building at 2530 S. Shore Drive that it leased from the Carnegie Illinois Steel Company of Chicago. Courtesy George Washington Bay View L

As the Compass reported in 2014, Post 180 began in June 1927 when Fred Osterndorf, who later became the post’s first commander, began recruiting local veterans for a Bay View chapter of the national American Legion. In 1928, the post was chartered as Bay View Post 180 and was headquartered in a (no longer existing) building, 2530 S. Shore Dr. that it leased from the Carnegie Illinois Steel Company of Chicago. Soon the post’s membership grew and its services expanded. By the next decade, it became clear the post needed to move to a larger building. The building it now occupies was erected in 1941. The post purchased the land from the city of Milwaukee and constructed the building for $25,000.

In 1971, Bay View Post 180 merged with the St. Francis Post and was re-chartered as Bay View St. Francis Post 180. After another merger in 2002 with the George Washington Post, it was renamed George Washington Bay View Post 180. The function of the organization has remained the same throughout its nearly 90 year history—to mentor and sponsor youth programs, promote and advocate for veterans, to rehabilitate veterans, and to provide a social and democratic forum for veterans.


Lucille and Vincenzo (Jimmy) DeMarinis started their business in 1949 as a tavern and began serving food about 1952. They named their restaurant Mama DeMarinis. Courtesy Bay View Historical Society

Vincent and Lucille (Vitrano) DeMarinis opened their corner tavern on South Wentworth and East Potter avenues in 1949 and lived in the apartment above it. They began to offer food about 1952. Lucille was born in Buffalo, N.Y. Vincent DeMarinis emigrated from Italy.

Veronica Cieslak said many people assumed the family recipes came from Vincent DeMarinis, but they were developed by Lucille. She liked to cook and worked diligently in the kitchen, even while pregnant with twins Josephine and RoseMary. In addition to their daughters, Lucille and Vincent had two sons, Dominic and Philip.

In 1996, Josephine DeMarinis and RoseMary DeMarinis Latter began operating their parents’ restaurant. A family dispute with their brothers Dominic and Philip ensued over ownership of the Mama DeMarinis. It led to the brothers opening their own restaurant a couple of blocks north, 1211 E. Conway Street. They named it Dom & Phil DeMarinis Original Recipes and it is still operating today, solely by Phil since the death of Dominic in 2003.

Lucille DeMarinis’ recipes, specifically the pizza, were renowned throughout the community, drawing long waits at the bar for a table and sometimes lines out the door.

The family operated a second location on 108th Street in West Allis during the 1980s. Veronica Cieslak said during the same period, Vincent’s brother, Albert DeMarinis, operated DeMarinis Cocktail Lounge in the building now occupied by Lee’s Luxury Lounge, 2988 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Opened in the mid 1960s, the cocktail lounge and supper club operated for three decades.


Daniel Mangert Bail Set at $20,000

August 22, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Milwaukee County Sheriff’s inmate records show that bail has been set at $20,000 for Daniel Mangert, the suspect arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old boy in the Humboldt Park Pavilion men’s bathroom on August 19, 2018.

In July 2006, Mangert pled guilty to a bail jumping felony and was convicted of that charge in December 2006. The bail jumping occurred after he was charged with a Class A felony 948.025(1)(a).

A person is charged with this felony for committing at least three sexual assaults of the same child.  Mangert pled not guilty to the charge in January 2006.

In October 2006, the original felony charge was changed to the lesser Class F Felony 948.04(1), when Mangert pled guilty to it. 

A Class F Felony 948.04(1) is charged when someone exercises temporary or permanent control of a child and causes mental harm to that child by their conduct and demonstrates substantial disregard for the mental well-being of the child.

He was found guilty on October 26, 2006 and sentenced December 8, 2006 to four years confinement and five years of extended supervision.

Charges are pending for the alleged Aug. 19 assault.

Suspect Daniel Mangert Hospitalized after Jumping from Building

August 21, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Daniel L. Mangert, the suspect who was arrested for the alleged sexual assault of a four-year-old boy in a bathroom of the Humboldt Park Pavilion Sunday, Aug., has been hospitalized after jumping from a building in an attempt to escape law enforcement officials Sunday, Aug. 19, according to authorities, who spoke with Ald. Tony Zielinski this afternoon.

Mangert is wearing a neck brace and nose tubes in the photograph of him that appears in the Milwaukee County Sheriff Inmate Records online database.The Compass is seeking further details from the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department about the incident, Mangert’s injuries, and his condition.

Charges are still pending.

Zielinski Downed, but Says Not Out

July 2, 2018

By Katherine Keller

District 14 Ald. Tony Zielinski, who represents Bay View, was booted from his role as chair of the city of Milwaukee’s Licenses Committee June 21.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton removed Zielinski in response to a number of unidentified business owners who complained that he pressured them to contribute money to his mayoral campaign.

“These are anonymous allegations,” Zielinski told the Compass. “There is no basis in fact. I followed proper procedures. This is an attempt to knock me out of the race because they know I am a serious threat.”

Zielinki frames his removal from the committee and chair role as a political ploy “by people associated with the status quo power structure (in Milwaukee) that I have been battling against.”

“If anybody thinks that this will stop or even slow me down, [they do] not know me,” he added.

Zielinski, who has held the District 14 seat since 2004, launched his campaign for Milwaukee mayor in November 2017.

Mayor Barrett recently announced that he would run again. This, his third term, ends in 2020.

Zielinski said he’s confident he will prevail because of the issues he has championed as alderman and that have been neglected by Mayor Barrett. 

“Once the campaign is up and running, [my opponents] know most people agree with me that the steep police cuts should not have taken place,” he said. “Most people agree with me that we have higher priorities than the streetcar. Some of those higher priorities include protective services, fixing our potholes, replacing our antiquated street lights so they are not constantly going out, and addressing the hazardous lead issues.”

Zielinski originally supported the streetcar project in downtown Milwaukee, voting for the project, but reversed his position, becoming a vehement opponent.

Confident that he’s well known on the city’s south side, Zielinski said he is campaigning on the north side, promising that he will address long-neglected issues that blight the city’s impoverished neighborhoods.

“Turning around the central city is another issue. If you are African American and you live in Milwaukee, you have it worse here than just about any other part of the country,” he said. “That is unacceptable and if we want to turn this city around we have to address central city issues.”

Offensive Graffiti in Bay View Park and Emigh Playground

July 2, 2018

By Evan Casey

Two separate cases of offensive and derogatory graffiti displayed on public property were found by disgruntled citizens in Bay View last month. This led some to call for a quicker response for graffiti removal across Milwaukee. 

Earlier in June, District 14 County Supervisor Jason Haas learned about a case of offensive graffiti through the Bay View Town Hall Facebook group. The graffiti, painted
on the Oak Leaf trail in Bay View Park, read, “You can kill a baby not the memory. Whore.”

Haas notified the parks director on June 9, but the graffiti was not covered (with blacktop) until the morning of June 11. Haas believes part of the delay was because the parks department has a “razor-thin staff.”

An offensive message was painted on the Oak Leaf Trail in Bay View Park. —Jason Haas

“There’s been vandalism in the parks from the days that they were first created, so it’s an ongoing problem,” said Haas, who does not believe this was a hate crime, or related to any other incidents. “I want [the vandalizer] to get help…lots and lots of people saw their message.”

A week later, more graffiti showed up, this time on a Milwaukee Public Schools building in Emigh Playfield, 494 E. Morgan Ave. This incident was also posted on the Bay View Town Hall page. Alderman Tony Zielinski was alerted via the group. He said that his office called the incident in.

This time however, the graffiti was cleaned off entirely by the morning of June 18, fewer than 24 hours after it was reported. It was removed before a children’s summer recreation event began the morning of June 18, according to a Milwaukee Recreation employee.

Graffiti of any kind is illegal in Milwaukee. A city ordinance that deals with graffiti states, “No person may write, paint, or draw any inscription, figure, or mark of any type on any public or private building or other real or personal property owned, operated or maintained by a government entity or any agency or by any person, firm or corporation unless the express permission of the owner or operator of the property has been obtained.” The penalty for graffiti is $500 to $2,000, where damages total less than $500. 

Milwaukee does have a graffiti hotline that deals specifically with the removal of vandalism on public and private properties. The Anti-Graffiti Program is part of the Department of Neighborhood Services’ outreach. City employees remove most of the graffiti on city property and work closely with the Milwaukee Police Department. Their website, which can be found on the City of Milwaukee website,, also gives tips for graffiti removal.

Christina Klose, the DNS Communications Coordinator, said there have been 436 graffiti complaints in 2018 to date. Klose said the program works with businesses and residents to help abate graffiti. 

“The property owner is responsible to remove graffiti on their own private property,” said Klose. “If graffiti is not abated, the city can then send a contractor to clean it up and charge the property owner back for the expense.”

Erin Dentice reported offensive graffiti that she found at Emigh Playground. Photograph altered to obscure vulgarity. —Erin Dentice

Bay View resident Erin Dentice posted a shared photo of the graffiti at Emigh Playfield on Facebook. Dentice was happy that it was removed quickly. She said she did not remember seeing any graffiti there before. 

“My first response was somewhat surprised,” said Dentice. “We’ve used that park a lot over the years and I don’t recall it ever being an
issue before.”

Haas, who is also the chair of the Committee on Parks, Energy and Environment, said he would try to find out why there was a delay in the removal
process of the Oak Leaf Trail graffiti. 

“I hope that the person who made it would seek counseling,” he said. “While I think anyone who commits vandalism should be held accountable, I think it’s important that they get help to deal with their anger, which I presume fueled their decision to paint this message on the Oak Leaf Trail.”

In response to concerns that the message on the trail was still legible beneath the coat of blacktop, Eduardo Santiago, Interim Chief of Operations for Milwaukee County Parks, told Haas that a black top sealer would be applied that he said should effectively obliterate the graffiti.

Emigh playground is bounded by Morgan, Wilbur, Quincy, and Whitnall avenues. Bay View Park, 3120 S. Lake Drive stretches along the east side of the road from Oklahoma Avenue to the Federal Bureau of Investigations property, 3600 S. Lake Dr.

The Milwaukee Police Department was contacted for this story but did not respond before press time. The anti-graffiti hotline number is (414) 286-8715. 

Lake Express Ferry 2018 Season Launched April 27

May 2, 2018

The Lake Express Ferry was being prepped for the 2018 season on April 22, readying it for its 14th season, which runs April 27 to October 24. The high-speed diesel catamaran crosses Lake Michigan four times daily between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Mich., with seating for 240 passengers and with a 46-vehicle cardeck. The 80-mile crossing takes two and a half hours. Prior to the Lake Express maiden voyage in 2004, there had been no regular ferry service between Milwaukee and Muskegon since 1970, when the Milwaukee Clipper ceased service. —Photo Katherine Keller

Humboldt Park Lagoon Restoration Project

May 2, 2018

Charles Liedtke captured this Great Egret at 8:45am on April 21. This is one of a pair that he saw on several occasions in April, when they were foraging in the Humboldt Park Lagoon. —Photo Charles Liedtke

Cattails and other invasives will be removed from two sections of the Humboldt Park Lagoon this spring, thanks to a $4,010 grant from the Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust (Sweet Water). Humboldt Park Friends (HPF), a nonprofit volunteer group, is one of 14 groups that received a Sweet Water grant this year.

Members of HPF have been working with the Milwaukee County Parks Department and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to restore the four-acre lagoon in the center of the 73-acre park located in the heart of Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. HPF cleared cattails and other invasive plants from two sections of the shoreline in the autumn of 2016 and 2017, as part of a pilot project to improve the lagoon. Later this spring, volunteers will establish native plants in some areas of the cleared shoreline in an effort to control erosion and maintain the new unimpeded lagoon sightlines.

“About 15 years ago, cattails were introduced to control access to the lagoon by geese. The combination of insufficient cattail maintenance and the arrival of invasive species changed the lagoon from what it had been for more than 100 years,” said Timothy Richter, co-chair of the HPF Lagoon Committee. “During the past 10 years, cattails went from a few access points, to overtaking roughly 90 percent of the lagoon shoreline. In some areas, these plants extend 40 feet outward from the shoreline.”

The result was declining water quality and unfavorable conditions for fish survival. Excessive nutrients in the stagnant water and a layer of scum on the surface marred the water quality.

In 2016, HPF launched a pilot project to remove cattails and invasive species by cutting the cattails below the water level, depriving them of oxygen. The pilot project opened 30 feet of shoreline and it worked so well that HPF was permitted to expand the test area to clear an additional 50 feet of shoreline in autumn 2017.

“We received immediate, positive feedback from park visitors on the new vista created by the removal,” said Jane LeCapitaine, co-chair of the HPF Lagoon Committee. “It also sparked additional community interest in getting involved in the lagoon’s restoration. We’re looking for ways to share our resources and knowledge with other friends of the parks groups in Milwaukee County.”

The Milwaukee County Parks Department directed HPF to develop a plan to control erosion and run-off by planting native vegetation in the reclaimed sections of shoreline this year. The native plants will prevent excessive nutrients, like grass clippings, goose and other animal feces, dirt, and other materials that collect on the paved pathway from migrating to the lagoon. Results from the cattail removal and shoreline planting will be used in development of a long-term lagoon restoration plan and maintenance practices.

HPF received the first half of the $4,010 grant from Sweet Water during the annual Clean Rivers, Clean Lakes conference at Alverno College on April 26. The will receive the remainder after the shoreline planting is completed this summer. HPF plans to purchase native plants, additional equipment, and tools for reclaiming and restoring shoreline with the second half of the grant money.

Milwaukee County District 14 Supervisor Jason Haas, who represents the area, participated in both the cattail and invasive species removal last year. He said what HPF is doing is an excellent example of how volunteer groups can work together with county
employees to improve the parks system.

“The issues faced by Humboldt Park are not unique. Milwaukee County’s Parks System has more than 60 parks with ponds and lagoons with challenges including water quality, shoreline deterioration, and overgrowth from aggressive plants like cattails,” Haas said. “Other park friends groups are interested in restoration of their park lagoons. This pilot at Humboldt Park can serve as a demonstration project that can be replicated by other volunteer groups at other parks.”

Planting of native vegetation will take place between late April and June. Later this summer, Milwaukee Riverkeeper staff will sample the lagoon’s water quality, as part of its long-range restoration efforts. Additional cattail and invasive vegetation removal and shoreline restoration is planned for early October. To learn more or get involved, consult

Traffic Calming Measures Installed On South Howell Avenue

May 2, 2018

 By Katherine Keller

In response to concerns for pedestrian safety in the stretch of South Howell between East Oklahoma and East Montana avenues, two pair of curb extensions were installed in April, each pair on opposite sides of Howell. 

District 14 Ald. Tony Zielinski pushed for the extensions after a traffic engineer from Milwaukee Department of Public Works advised that vertical treatments such as humps or tables would not be recommended due to the volume of traffic on Howell Ave., as well their impact upon fire trucks and bus traffic. Howell Avenue is one of the city’s main arterials and is a preferred route for emergency vehicles.

DPW spokesperson Sandra Rusch Walton said that its data indicated that curb extensions would provide more safe crossing gaps, even more than a traffic signal, by narrowing the width of the street.

The curb extensions were placed at key crossings to reduce the crossing distance and improve pedestrian visibility.

Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts, seen in the background, was one of three schools that called for traffic calming measures on South Howell Avenue. The curb extension in this photo was installed at Dewey Place on the east side of Howell. —Photo Katherine Keller

One set is installed at Dewey Place and the other at Montana Avenue.

“Ultimately, we agreed with Alderman Zielinski and the residents to install curb extensions at Montana and Dewey for the school and access to Humboldt Park,” said Rusch Walton. “We are not installing anything in the roadway.”

The project also included the installation of newer sewer facilities due to drainage changes created by the extensions. 

The extensions were installed along the curb in the parking lanes. 

South Howell Avenue, looking north, at the intersection of East Montana Avenue. —Photo Katherine Keller


Last year, Bay View residents who live on or near Howell, along with school officials from Milwaukee Parkside School of the Arts, Saint Lucas Lutheran School, and Downtown Montessori Academy mounted a campaign to draw attention to speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, and the dearth of stop signs between Oklahoma and Lincoln avenues. The campaign included yard signs and a petition drive that culminated in a public meeting held December 1 at Parkside.

Presenters included Jake Newborn of the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Joseph Blakeman of Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works, and Dist. 14 Ald. Tony Zielinski. Milwaukee Police Department Sergeant Eileen Donovan-Agnew and Community Liaison Officers Carlos Felix and Joshua Dummann also attended.

Newborn pointed out that there are no traffic controls on Howell between Oklahoma and Lincoln, which he asserted contributes to the careless driving and speeding that make Howell Avenue hazardous to pedestrians. The stretch of Howell serves students who attend Parkside, 2969 S. Howell Ave.; Saint Lucas, 648 E. Dover St.; and Downtown Montessori, 2507 S. Graham St., and includes a crossing for the Oak Leaf Trail.

In summer, the popular Chill on the Hill concert series in the Humboldt Park bandshell generates high traffic volume that is hazardous to pedestrians, others said. Many attendees walk to the concert with their children and must cross Howell.

Newborn and others at the meeting asked for stop signs or traffic lights, pointing out that the curve on Howell between Dover Street and Russell Avenue posed sightline hazards, putting pedestrians at risk. Ald. Zielinski said that DPW wouldn’t add stop signs or traffic lights on Howell between Oklahoma and Lincoln because the street is a major arterial.

Last year, Bay View residents who live on or near South Howell Avenue, along with school officials from Milwaukee Parkside School of the Arts, Saint Lucas Lutheran School, and Downtown Montessori Academy mounted a campaign to draw attention to speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, and the dearth of stop signs between Oklahoma and Lincoln avenues. In response to their appeal, curb extensions were installed in April. —Photo Katherine Keller

DPW traffic engineer Joe Blakeman said that he had no record of pedestrians being hit in front of Parkside.

He said that parents and kids generally are doing a good job interacting with Howell traffic. He noted that some of the problems with speeding and careless or reckless driving are attributable to the lack of driver education classes in the Milwaukee Public School curriculum.

Several audience members asked for curb extensions in lieu of stop signs or traffic lights. Curb extensions make a section of a street narrower and motivate drivers to reduce their speed. There is a pair of curb extensions on Potter Avenue behind Dover Street School.

Speed bumps were ruled out because they would be detrimental to emergency vehicles and bus traffic, slowing their rate of progress.

Another suggestion was for flashing beacons but it was ruled out by Blakeman, who said they cause rear-end collisions. The in-road pentagonal signs, that remind drivers that state law requires they must slow down or stop for pedestrians, were deemed ineffective by Newborn and audience members.

After considering remarks made by presenters and audience members, Zielinski said he would try to find funding for curb extensions for the intersection of Howell Avenue and Montana Street and for another pair near Downtown Montessori.

After the December 1 meeting, Zielinski told the Compass he’d like to see the Howell Avenue curb extensions installed in 2018, and in 2019 another set on Homer to stem traffic that backs up at Downtown Montessori when parents pick-up and drop-off children.

The total cost of the project was approximately $100,000.

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