Milwaukee's Al Jarreau Park: A place of peace and positivity
Wherever Al Jarreau went, he always spoke on his love for Milwaukee. Now, Milwaukee is memorializing its love for Jarreau.
This summer, a small pocket park near the intersection of North 30th Street and West Locust Street was officially renamed Alwin Lopez (Al) Jarreau Park in honor of the jazz, pop and R&B legend.
The effort to rename the park is years in the making. Barbara Smith, a resident of the Amani neighborhood where the park is located and chair of the housing and economic development committee at Amani United, has been knocking on doors and organizing resident meetings to discuss what to do with the park.
Eventually, residents settled on a mural. Milwaukee-based muralist Tia Richardson led the mural's painting this summer.
Smith wanted to create a place of peace for neighbors to step back and connect to positivity. She thought Al Jarreau was the perfect namesake, as his music remains an uplifting presence for her and millions more.
Today, she looks back with pride at what the park has become, and encourages people who are in a funk or feeling down to come to the park to recharge.
"Come to the park, look at the vibrancy of the mural. Bring your phone and put on some Al Jarreau music, and I'm sure whatever that little funk is, you are going to be OK," she says.
The park is located at 2929 N. 30th Street in Milwaukee.