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Milwaukee Recreation
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Milwaukee Recreation celebrates summer successes

Milwaukee Recreation worked to safely serve our community across a variety of program areas despite the many challenges brought on during the summer of 2020.

Milwaukee Recreation continued with renovation projects at Southgate Playfield, Ohio Playfield, Green Bay Playfield, Franklin Square Playfield, and Burnham Playfield. The department also launched a Mobile Recreation Playground program to deliver thousands of play equipment pieces to young people around the city.

And with so many families looking for child care options, Milwaukee Recreation opened nearly 50 child care locations, many of which were open all day.

Read below for more of Milwaukee Recreation's summer successes, or view the full document here.

Child CarePartnerships

Opened 26 CLCs and 10 Safe Places in partnership with 6 Community-Based Organizations to provide in-person programming for youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Programs served 1,066 youth during the month of July. Many sites were open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Supported 41 arts and humanities partners in providing free and significantly reduced cost programming in areas such as music production, environmental exploration, mural painting, filmmaking, and more to youth in grades K-12.

Placed 33 high school students in paid internships to explore careers in the arts. Nine (9) Milwaukee area arts organizations opened their doors to supervise and mentor the students. Summer arts interns earned approximately $44,500 in wages.


Completed $1.1 million renovation of Southgate Playfield which officially reopened on August 10. More than 1.25 acres of asphalt were replaced with green space and now boasts a splash pad, new play equipment, circular and colorful basketball courts, walking path, multi-purpose field, seating, lighting, trees, and ADA accessibility. The fieldhouse will be upgraded in 2021.

Invested $450,000 to replace the aging play structure at Ohio Playfield along with adding new seating, shade structures, ADA accessibility, trees, and other landscape improvements.

Completed $1.5 million renovation of Clovernook Playfield, which officially reopened on August 31. The site now features a splash pad, new play equipment, basketball courts, shade structures, seating, lighting, trees, and ADA accessibility. The fieldhouse will be renovated in 2021.

Hosted in-person and remote community engagement sessions for the redevelopment of Green Bay Playfield. More than 125 individuals provided input on the playfield of their dreams.

Continued work on Franklin Square and Burnham Playfield renovations. Franklin Square will feature a splash pad, new play equipment, an obstacle course, basketball courts, seating, lighting, trees, and ADA accessibility. The fieldhouse will be renovated in 2021. Burnham’s renovations include a splash pad, play equipment, basketball courts, synthetic turf field, seating, lighting, ADA accessibility, and a renovated fieldhouse.


Staffed 17 playgrounds to provide free meals to the community. In partnership with the Milwaukee Center for Independence, over 31,000 meals were served from June 22 - Aug. 24 across all playground locations. Meals were served in a grab-and-go format, where both a hot lunch and cold dinner were provided in take-home containers.

Partnered with the Milwaukee Public Library to provide over 250 free books to youth attending the summer meals program.

Partnered with Artists Working in Education (AWE) to provide grab-and-go art kits at summer playground locations. Hundreds of kits were given away over the course of 18 days so youth could engage in the arts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched the Mobile Playground program to ensure youth had access to play equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mobile Playground program traveled to all playground sites, giving away sports and educational equipment, and providing exercise opportunities on the playground. Over 4,000 items were given away including, 400 basketballs, 400 soccer balls, 720 coloring books, 720 crayons, 400 frisbees, 400 jump ropes, 340 puzzles, 320 bracelet kits, and 480 kites.

Opened 6 wading pools (Modrzejewski, Holt, Ohio, Merrill, Enderis, Burbank) averaging 711 participants per week.

Opened 6 Twilight Centers and recorded more than 900 visits by youth ages 10-18. In alignment with COVID-19 safety procedures, provided game room activities, physically distant activities in the gym, Free Friday giveaways, and e-sports.

Engaged 30 Team Milwaukee Special Olympics athletes in alternative program options, including yoga and cardio activities at Wick and S. 78th St. Playfields.

Engaged 135 Team Milwaukee Special Olympic athletes and their parents/guardians through daily social media posts.

Issued 18 tennis court permits to community groups.

Run Back to School: Virtual ChallengeLifetime Recreation

Registered 483 participants for the Run Back to School Virtual Challenge which consisted of 3 pre-determined walking routes, a burnout challenge, family fitness bingo, a throwback t-shirt week, and prizes for the winners. Participants posted their successes online via the RBTS Facebook group, which captured many positive comments about the event. Proceeds will provide minigrants to 7 schools to purchase sports and wellness equipment for their students.

Coordinated recreational golf league play, golf lessons, and tennis lessons for 86 adults to safely stay active.


Celebrated the fourth summer of MPS Drive by providing instruction to 305 students. With the launch of a new virtual platform, half of our students followed the information superhighway to learn the rules of the road.

Used the virtual platform to offer live Fire Safety classes and outdoor education lessons to students enrolled in Community Learning Centers, Child Care Camps, and Outdoor Education Camps.

Provided 14 virtual classes for 50+ participants to stay active and engaged. Classes included chair yoga, senior fitness, and acrylic painting.

Therapeutic Recreation Art KitsPosted 212 virtual Therapeutic Recreation at Home videos featuring storytelling, cooking activities, crafts, science experiments, adaptive workouts, and a daily news show.

Created a Virtual Art Class that included supply kits delivered directly to the homes of the therapeutic recreation participants. Online instruction allowed participants to create a July Calendar Project, Watercolor Project, Canvas Painting, Paper Plate JellyFish Project, and a Mini Garden with a Painted Birdhouse.

Registered more than 1,500 individuals for 336 adult and youth enrichment classes held at 5 community centers.

Offered instructional camps in tennis, soccer, and basketball. A total of 264 children participated.

Supported operations at 13 MPS Child Care Camps which served 141 youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivered 310 care packages full of enrichment and athletic activities to Therapeutic Recreation, Team Milwaukee Special Olympics, and Summer Stars participants.

Delivered 120 care packages consisting of various self-directed enrichment activities to 50+ participants.

Developed comprehensive protocols and safety procedures to guide operations at 49 summer after-school programs and provided more than 135 part-time after-school staff with virtual learning resources and training in preparation for summer operations.

Built a partnership with Marquette University to create care packages for select MPS schools that participate in Adaptive Athletics programs.

Developed the first ever E-Sports league for adults.

Hosted 35 free classes via our Community Wellness program across multiple locations, engaging 233 participants. Classes included a walking club, outdoor yoga, outdoor bootcamp, and a Learn to Run program.

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2021
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