The Fondy Food Center connects Greater Milwaukee to local, fresh food – from farm to market to table – so that children learn better, adults live healthier, and communities celebrate cultural food traditions. At the Market, farmers will provide healthy choices to local residents who often times do not have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
The land next to the farmers market has been vacant for years and has become a place where items are often dumped and abandoned. The challenge is to turn the land into a ‘super green park’, meet all of the visions put forth by residents, and meet those visions on a very limited budget.
Working closely with local community members and the City of Milwaukee, the vacant land was transformed into a new park that encompasses three-fifths of an acre, incorporates numerous green infrastructure features such as a “water tower” cistern, downspouts connecting to bioswales, in-ground runnels that direct roof runoff to a large bioswale, and a native prairie garden. The project will also monitor water that leaves the site through an in-ground vault and measuring equipment to quantify the amount of water that leaves the site versus be infiltrated on site.
The project’s ecological features incorporate nature and nature-based rainwater management strategies into places for people to enjoy the park. Items such as rain gardens, native landscapes, and infiltration zones handle a tremendous amount of roof runoff. A new stage for music and performances incorporates concrete foundations that will support a future boardwalk and art displays. Moreover, the park's central lawn plays host to various programming and activities such as summer jazz music, public art showings, movie nights, and yoga. All of these items were suggestions in the Fondy Park Resident Survey and are now a reality for the neighborhood and residents adjacent to the market.