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Milwaukee celebrates grand opening of new $4.5M Burnham Playfield

Posted at 9:49 PM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 22:49:35-04

MILWAUKEE — It's a super-size scissors day for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Dr Keith Posley.

The schools Milwaukee Recreation Department is celebrating a ribbon cutting for the grand opening of its new $4.5 million Burnham Playfield.

It's everything you would want as a kid, but it takes an adult size effort to make it happen.

Lynn Greb is Senior Director of Milwaukee Recreation.

The project took several years to complete and included funding from MPS and partners like the Zilber Family Foundation and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's Conservation Fund.

Greb says the playfield was rebuilt with one purpose and that was to serve the Burnham Neighborhood.

"To me, the most important thing is that everybody in our city have a safe and quality space in which to recreate outside," said Greb.

It worked. Judy Rivera can walk to the playground with her grandchildren.

"This is beautiful for the kids to come with the family," said Rivera. "We enjoy it. It's an improvement for us to be safe."

It's not just a playground. There's also a new soccer field with synthetic turf and basketball courts.

The area is among the largest green space in a 165-block radius of Burnham, serving 21,000 families with 7,000 children. A park that has served German, Polish and Italian families through the decades and now a predominately Latino community.

Greb says multiple factors play into when and where to invest in neighborhoods to create more safe spaces.

"One of the most important ways is based on how we prioritize the projects around equity. We look at where the need is the greatest not just in terms of the physical needs of the playfield, but also the neighborhood and the needs of the neighborhood," Greb says.

For Rivera and her seven-year old granddaughter Haydee, the new playground is a splash.

Milwaukee Recreation has 52 facilities around the city. Seven have been rebuilt over the years and one more will come online later this year.

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