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“This is the wave of the future:” South side urban orchard, park is a model for the rest

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee city and county leaders call it the future of local green spaces. FOX6's Deandra Corinthios takes you to the south side, and shows you why one urban orchard and park is a model for the rest

Colorful plants, a stream, a solar flower, hoop houses for growing vegetables. The list goes on and on.

All examples of sustainable living -- and nothing like what this section of S. 6th Street and Norrwich used to be.

"Five years ago if you had driven by S. 6th Street, you would have seen a half dead tree fence line and an overgrown field," said Bryon Simon with Energy Exchange."

Now, a source of pride for those involved as they dedicate the newest fruit tree orchard and permeable parking lot.

"We`re starting to see others come to Milwaukee to find out how we've done this," said Kevin Shafer, the executive director at MMSD. "What we`re standing on is a really the future of how parking lots, sidewalks [and] streets need to be built in the future -- talking about trying to get multiple benefits from the same space."

 Rainwater drains through bricks, it is then pumped and funneled into the irrigation system that waters 80 fruit trees in the park.

An important step to make Milwaukee more 'green' but also, more resilient to flooding. Bio swales like this one, store overflow water and filter it into the irrigation system.

"We have just simply too much regular pavement out there and when it rains, there is just no place for all of that water to go," said Erik Shambarger with the Milwaukee Office of Sustainability.

It's part of what is being dubbed the green corridor. A stretch of 6th Street that extends from the south side of Milwaukee into Oak Creek -- and city leaders promise development will continue for years to come.

"This is the wave of the future, this is tomorrow," said Alderman Terry Witkowski.

The next step of the project is to build an arboretum to be used as an education facility. The entire project is paid for with grant money and donations.