Nonprofit plans $6.5 million renovation of Midtown park

Tiefenthaler Park in the Milwaukee’s Midtown neighborhood.

The Kellogg PEAK Initiative, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit that runs social-emotional learning and leadership programs for youth, announced plans for a $6.5 million renovation of Tiefenthaler Park in the city’s Midtown neighborhood.

PEAK said it wants to invest in Tiefenthaler Park facilities — which have served as the organization’s headquarters and the site of its summer day camp and community programming for nearly a decade — to create the “most vibrant park and youth program” in the city.

The project will include expanding and updating the park pavilion building into a 16,000-square-foot facility featuring an interior courtyard, multipurpose gathering space, a dedicated teen space and learning labs for hands-on experiences. Other upgrades will include adding lighting around the pavilion and walking paths throughout the park, updating park activity spaces and creating a more friendly environment for residents and families to access the park. PEAK crafted the master park plan in partnership with Milwaukee County Parks, CG Schmidt, HGA Architects and Midtown neighborhood representatives.

Construction is planned to begin in September with an expected completion by summer 2021.

“We love being based at Tiefenthaler Park and thanks to our continued partnership with Milwaukee County Parks and the Midtown community, that will continue in ways that allow us to do our best work, showing our kids, families, and neighbors that they are valued” said Dan Schiller, executive director of PEAK.

The organization’s founding benefactor, the Kellogg Family Foundation, has pledged $5 million in support for the project, and fundraising is underway to raise the remaining $1.5 million. Funds raised in addition to the lead gift will be invested into park amenities, which could include upgrading an inefficient wading pool to a splash pad, revitalizing a field space for sports, upgrading walking path and basketball court lighting, multigenerational activity spaces and community art installations.

Other supporters of the project include Milwaukee County Parks, the Midtown Neighborhood Alliance, Salvation Army: West Corps, Penfield Montessori Academy, and Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity.

PEAK was founded as Lake Valley Camp in 2002 by former Kohl’s chief executive officer Bill Kellogg with philanthropic support from the Kellogg Family Foundation. The original mission was to provide an opportunity for Milwaukee youth to attend a residential summer camp in Boscobel. In 2019, the organization rebranded as the Kellogg PEAK initiative to reflect its evolution from a summer camp to a year-round social-emotional learning and leadership program. The organization serves more than 550 youth annually, drawing largely from the 53215, 53204, 53209, 53206 and 53205 zip codes.

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