Ever since its creation in 2014, Milwaukee’s so-called “Swing Park” has been a source of controversy. Art critics called foul when an “improv-architecture group” just went ahead and attached some swings to the bottom of the Holton Street Bridge near the intersection of Brady and Water streets. Local officials cried foul at those crying foul, claiming the pop-up park succeeded in “activating” a long-neglected space. Rank-and-file Milwaukeeans, meanwhile, seemed to simply enjoy the park.
Feelings have soured, however, following a deadly double shooting at the park on August 6. “There are activities that just have the potential to escalate like this every single night,” a nearby resident told TMJ4. “This could have come through my bedroom window when I was laying in bed,” said another. The park currently has a 10 p.m. curfew.
Now, a town hall meeting to discuss safety at the “Swing Park” has been set for Wednesday, August 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Casablanca (728 E. Brady St.). Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, District 1 Police Captain Diana Rowe, Ald. Nik Kovac, and representatives from the Department of Public Works and the Brady Street BID are expected to be on hand. Neighbors and the general public are encouraged to attend.
“It’s a park that’s contiguous with a path,” Kovac told TMJ4. “Initially we were very proud of it. It’s a very creative way to re-use public space. We have increased security and not just with police. We’ve added lighting and cameras and an increased police presence. Any other ideas to make it more secure, we’re open to them. You don’t close parks because bad things happen. You find a way to keep them open.”