Johnsons Park Project Construction Begins!

October 2015 Newsletter


By Marcia Caton Campbell


The long-awaited Johnsons Park project began construction in mid-July, managed by the Center for Resilient Cities and Ayres Associates. Blaze Landscape Contracting of Menomonee Falls was awarded the general contract after a public bidding process. This summer’s good construction weather has allowed the project to move forward quickly, with completion anticipated later this fall.


A walk along Johnsons Park’s new asphalt pathway system reveals a newly graded and seeded sports field for football and soccer, a brand-new T-ball field and backstop, park benches along the paths, several attractive pedestrian roundabouts planted with central trees and perennials, and nearly 80 new trees added to the park’s existing tree canopy. A small concrete plaza now connects the two playground structures, with additional bench seating and bicycle racks. A new “pedestrian-height” LED lighting system has been installed that will shed large pools of light on the park and its users, as well as providing greater energy efficiency. Along the Fond du Lac side of the park, an infiltration basin captures and slowly releases stormwater into the ground over a 24-48 hour period. This feature, while modest in appearance, performs a significant environmental function that nearly eliminates stormwater runoff from the park into the storm sewer.


Milwaukee County began construction on the new restroom building for the park in late August, with completion anticipated by the end of October. The park’s lighting system will be turned on when this building is connected to electrical service.


A rendering of the John Walker Performance Stage

The Johnsons Park performance stage, designed by The Kubala Washatko Architects, will be erected later this fall. Timberpeg, the nationally renowned artisan manufacturer of post and beam style homes since 1974, is fabricating the performance stage. This design and fabrication team was also responsible for the Lake Park performance stage, after which the Johnsons Park structure was modeled.


A community celebration of Johnsons Park’s completion will be held in June 2016. At that time, the park’s performance stage will be dedicated in memory of Rotarian John C. Walker. Feeding America will provide food for the occasion, while Milwaukee County Parks will host a concert in its summer series. Community groups including Johnsons Park Neighborhood Association, Brown Street Academy, Running Rebels, Neu-Life Community Development, and Alice’s Garden will also participate in the festivities. Stay tuned for further details!


Rotary’s involvement in the Greater Johnsons Park Initiative goes back to 2008 when the club donated $100,000 for the restoration of the schoolyard at Brown Street Academy  which is located directly west of Johnsons Park. Then in 2013 the club committed another $100,000 for the rejuvenation of Johnsons Park and dedicated group of Rotarians have worked together with the Center for Resilient Cities to raise over $1 million to get the job done. 


When one also considers that RCM was a founder of Feeding America located on the east side of the park, Rotary can be very proud of the difference we have made in this community.