Earlier this summer, a report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum painted a bleak portrait of all things Milwaukee County. “Almost every form of parks infrastructure has pressing needs,” the report warned. “The county lacks the capacity to finance the capital needs of its parks, recreational, and cultural assets if it wishes to stay within its self-imposed limits and address its other capital needs. To meet existing capital requests, the county would need to more than double budgeted spending on cultural institutions (from $6.2 million to $13.9 million) and increase spending nearly tenfold on parks (from $2.4 million to $23 million) in 2019 alone.”

Woof. So how will Milwaukee County come up with all that money? (And don’t say “parking meters.”) Well…woof?

Monday morning—a.k.a. Cyber Monday morning—Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele unveiled a new way to support Milwaukee County Parks: by buying new Milwaukee County Parks merch. Specifically, T-shirts and stickers (designed by local companies like Milwaukee Home), illustrated parks posters (designed by local artists like Gabriela Riveros and Dwellephant), and button-up dog shirts. The newly created merch is available now at Parks For Good.

“Milwaukee County residents are passionate about our parks and eager to find ways to support them,” Abele said in a press release. “This is a great way for everyone to get involved in making our fantastic County parks even better and help us improve these critically important community spaces.”

Profits from the new swag will go to a dedicated parks improvement fund; folks can even choose the specific area they want to support: playgrounds, trails and natural areas, community centers, aquatic facilities, parkways and bridges, athletic facilities, or engagement.

A full press release is below. When the State of Wisconsin gives Milwaukee lemons (in the form of stagnant shared revenue), Milwaukee makes $36 dog shirts.

Greater Milwaukee Foundation, local artists and Milwaukee County Parks team up to launch a new charitable fund
MILWAUKEE – Unique Milwaukee Domes t-shirts, posters designed by local artists and even stylish, button-up dog shirts are all part of a range of parks-inspired merchandise launching on a new online store today, and all sales will help fund future Milwaukee County Parks projects.

The merchandise is available at www.ParksforGood.com, as part of a new partnership between Milwaukee County Parks and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) to create a dedicated parks improvement fund. The GMF fund will also provide an option for individuals and businesses to make tax-deductible donations to support future park improvements.

Profits from merchandise sales will go directly to the fund. Purchasers and donors will be able to choose one of seven key areas of need to support: playgrounds, trails & natural areas, community centers, aquatic facilities, parkways & bridges, athletic facilities or engagement. The GMF will manage the funds and provide grants for future projects within those areas. Klement’s Sausage, the official sausage of Milwaukee County Parks, made the inaugural donation to the fund with a $25,000 contribution.

“Milwaukee County residents are passionate about our parks and eager to find ways to support them,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “This is a great way for everyone to get involved in making our fantastic County parks even better and help us improve these critically important community spaces.”

The Parks For Good store features an exclusive Milwaukee Home parks t-shirt design, beer garden t-shirts stickers and patches, and posters from the 2018 ‘Maptacular’ Project. Each map in the series is illustrated by a different local artist, and each is designed in their own unique artistic style. All designs are exclusive to the online store and new parks, beer garden, and trails-themed merchandise will continue to be added to the store.

Guy Smith, Executive Director of Milwaukee County Parks, said “This new parks fund is a big win for Milwaukee County – we’ve been working with Milwaukee artists to create exclusive designs, Milwaukee businesses to create the merchandise, and sales will support Milwaukee parks projects too. Plus, of course, the merch will make perfect gifts for anyone who loves Milwaukee parks!”

Visit the new store at www.parksforgood.com Donate to the GMF parks fund at http://greatermilwaukeefoundation.org/donors/give-online/mke-county-parks-fund

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Merchandise in the store includes park posters designed by local artists: Gabriela Riveros, Jeff McAvoy, Linda Bleck, Dwellephant, Rozalia Singh, Lauren Marvell. Applications are now open for the 2019 Maptacular series.

Additional designs, including the Dog Threads dog shirts, Milwaukee Domes t-shirts and Milwaukee Home parks shirt are exclusive to the ParksforGood.com store.

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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