Dozens gathered on the sun-drenched asphalt south of Longfellow School and Journey House in Milwaukee’s Clarke Square neighborhood on July 9, 2019 to mark the public announcement of investment in green schoolyard redevelopment projects at Milwaukee Public Schools properties.
Speaking dignitaries included Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District executive director Kevin Shafer, Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Keith Posley, Longfellow Principal Rosa Cerda-Castañeda, and MPS Foundation Board Chair John Kersey.
Current and former students also shared their perspective in both English and Spanish.
Longfellow’s asphalt will be removed and replaced with green infrastructure along with schoolyards at three other MPS schools in this year’s cohort: Burdick, Hawley, and Starms. Fundraising is underway to support next year’s cohort of five schools: Anna Doerfler, Clement, Golda Meir, Vincent, and Westside.
Mayor Barrett framed the moment by quoting Joni Mitchell’s famous lyrics from “Big Yellow Taxi”—”They paved paradise; put up a parking lot”—and related how it is now an intergenerational undertaking to remove the asphalt because his own kids recognized the lyrics from the Counting Crows’ 2002 cover of the iconic 1970 song.