Milwaukee Bucks and Johnson Controls officials, along with more than 100 elementary school students, celebrated the unveiling of a new $150,000 multi-sport complex for youth in Milwaukee’s Westlawn neighborhood today.
The complex is located on the campus of Browning Elementary School, 5440 N. 64th St. and the adjoining Silver Spring Neighborhood Center on the city’s northwest side. It includes six basketball courts, a futsal court, a soccer field and recreation space, all contained within a 200-meter track. It also includes lighting to allow it to be used in the evening.
The Bucks and Johnson Controls first announced plans to build the complex in May.
“This space is something that we imagine will be used for years and years to come,” said Alicia Dupies, Bucks vice president of corporate social responsibility. “Perhaps the most important aspect is that we know that sports of all types can directly contribute to positive youth development. The programming that will be provided by both Playworks and Silver Spring Neighborhood Center will ensure that children are engaged in active learning and have opportunities for skill building and to foster cultural competence and healthy and safe play.”
The Bucks and Johnson Controls are also partnering to give $60,000 annually for the next 10 years toward community programming. In the first three years, two annual grants of $30,000 each will be given to Playworks to fund programming at Browning Elementary and the Silver Spring Neighborhood Center, which will provide after-hours and weekend programming at the new complex.
“We are excited about the grand opening of the multipurpose court because it elevates the neighborhood around it,” said Grady Crosby, chief diversity officer for Johnson Controls. “But we are even more excited about the years of programming that the Bucks and Johnson Controls are funding. We recognize that coaching and mentoring have the potential to be transformative. We are not investing in a playground. We are investing in the youth of this neighborhood.”
During the debate over public funding for the new Bucks arena, community activist group Common Ground said public funds should only used for a new arena if at least $150 million in public funds were also spent to improve public school outdoor athletic and recreation facilities in Milwaukee County.