North side park, UWM health school among development award winners

By Tom Daykin
April 16, 2015
A central city park created from a vacant lot, and a former brewery building converted into a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee school are among the winners of the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation, announced Wednesday night.
The annual MANDI awards, hosted by Local Initiatives Support Corp.’s Milwaukee office and sponsored by U.S. Bank, recognize efforts to improve Milwaukee’s distressed urban neighborhoods.
This year’s awards are:
*The Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award, for a public space that helps build the community, to the City of Milwaukee Home/Grown initiative’s Ezekiel Gillespie Park. Developed with Walnut Way Conservation Corp., the park at N. 14th and W. Wright streets features native plants, fruit trees and sustainable water systems.
*The BMO Harris Bank Cornerstone Award, for an organization for its commitment and effectiveness over time, to the Rotary Club of Milwaukee. The club plays an active role in improving some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods and people.
*The Northern Trust Navigator Award, for an individual for leadership and collaboration, to Venice Williams, of Alice’s Garden. Williams “fosters an environment at Alice’s Garden where people not only exchange gardening knowledge, but share their lives.”
*The PNC Trail Blazer Award, for an innovative approach to a community problem, to Benedict Center’s Sisters Diversion project. The program, working with police and prosecutors, offers an alternative to incarceration to stop the cycle of prostitution.
*The State Farm Building Blocks Award, for a real estate project that advances the community, to UWM’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, 1240 N. 10th St. The school, a combination of a renovated former Pabst brewery warehouse and new construction, reinvigorated the area and became a partner in improving health outcomes.
*The Wells Fargo People’s Choice Award, a new category with online voting, to Guest House of Milwaukee’s Cream City Gardens and rain harvesting project; Benedict Center’s Sisters Diversion project, and Express Yourself Milwaukee, a community arts program.

*The Vision Award to Leo Ries, who is retiring as LISC Milwaukee’s executive director. The group provides venture capital and technical assistance for community development projects.