Sharon Adams, the executive director of Walnut Way Conservation Corp., a nonprofit in northwest Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood, has decided to retire and the organization is now searching for a new leader.
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According to a statement posted on the Walnut Way website, Adams, who founded the organization in 2000, stepped down as executive director in December.
The organization hired the Spano Pratt Executive Search firm to help find a successor and plans to begin conducting interviews in April.
Adams founded Walnut Way 16 years ago with her husband, Larry, and several neighbors to tackle what they saw as a growing problem in their neighborhood — vacant lots and abandoned homes. They began with one house, a former drug house on the corner of their neighborhood at 2240 N 17th Street, and transformed it into their organization’s headquarters.
“They began with an intentional approach of focusing on one house, one vacant lot, and one block at a time,” Spano Pratt wrote in a description of the organization it will use in its search for a new executive director. “The result is formerly vacant lots have been transformed into beautiful urban gardens, fruit orchards, and apiaries. Neighborhood teens and young adults have trained in and become experts in urban agriculture, honey production, and marketing and sales.”
Walnut Way also offers resources for homebuyers and those in the neighborhood planning home improvement projects.
Adams is a finalist for the 2016 Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation’s Navigator award.