MILWAUKEE -- What once was a pile of dirt behind Browning Elementary School and the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, is now a beacon on Milwaukee’s northwest side.
“It brings life into a community. There’s a buzz here today," said Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Darienne Driver.
“It’s like a dream come true, right? It’s everything that we imagined, and we did a lot of imagining," said Alicia Dupies, Milwaukee Bucks VP of Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Bucks and Johnson Controls held a grand opening ceremony Thursday, September 7th for the $150,000 multi-sport complex. There are six basketball courts, areas for soccer and four square, tennis and volleyball, all ringed by a 200-meter track.
“We want these kids to become fans of ours, but in order to become fans of ours, they need to have the foundation and a healthy and safe place to live and play," said Dupies.
“How do we contribute to the community and create assets that people can actually use, and contribute to the growth of the city," said Bucks President Peter Feigin.
And the growth of the kids as well. Browning sits in the Westlawn neighborhood, which received federal grant money two years ago as a "Choice Neighborhood."
“This is really where you learn about social interactions and just building character. Teamwork and what it means to persist, and practice makes perfect," said Driver.
“Frederick Douglass said that it’s easier to build strong children than repair broken men. I want that to just kind of marinate," said Grady Crosby, Johnson Controls VP of Public Affairs. "
The new facility is open to the community, and has lights to ensure a safe space for play at all hours. Additionally, the Bucks and Johnson Controls have pledged an annual gift of $60,000 for the next 10 years that will go towards community programming.