Painting Center St. Bridge: It's More than just a Bridge for Milwaukee Resident Darrian Davis

Painting Center St. Bridge: It's More than just a Bridge for Milwaukee Resident Darrian Davis

Our Black and Brown communities deserve to see their neighborhoods beautified, yet that’s not always the case. Our neighborhoods are filled with litter, abandoned houses and eyesores like the bridge hanging over Center Street near 30th Street. As a concerned resident, Darrian Davis decided to stop complaining and actually make a difference by painting the Center Street bridge.

“I think so often we complain about what our neighborhoods look like, but we’re not coming up with a solution,” said Davis. “Here’s a solution.”

“Instead of complaining put your money where your mouth is,” she added.

The 31st Center St. bridge over the years. (Picture by Darrian Davis)

The project was started back in 2015 and had to be put on hold. The bridge and walls are owned by different individuals and at the time, Davis couldn’t get all of the owners to allow her to paint on their property, so her dream was short lived. Yet, last year Davis was contacted by Cheri Fuqua from Middle Ground, a residents group from the neighborhood close to the bridge, to start the project back up. Davis said yes and now she’s back trying to raise the money to beautify the bridge.

One thousand dollars has been donated by individuals and private donors, but the project cost a little over $7,000 to complete, which includes the supplies, t-shirts and food.

It should be noted that Davis is not an artist, just an individual who cared enough to do something impactful. A professional artist and volunteers will be helping with the project too.

Originally, Davis’ plans were to only paint the walls holding the bridge up but after speaking with the City, the bridge and the walls will all be painted.

When first starting the project, Davis reached out to local kids for their thoughts on what should be painted on the bridge. The kids listed words that they would like to see on the bridge such as hope, joy and kind. The community will be able to come out and help paint when the time comes.

“I don’t care who comes and paints the walls with me,” said Davis, “as long as the people who drive through here feel good.”

Davis said we all go through things in life and sometimes life can be so difficult that no one around you can help you out of that situation. Yet, if something like a painting on a bridge with encouraging words can pick someone’s head up, then that’s really all that matters to Davis.

“This bridge can reach more people than I can in my lifetime,” she said.

Donations from CashApp, GoFundMe or PayPal are accepted and can be sent to “ParkAreaBridge”. Checks can be written out to “Park Area Bridge Beautification Project” and mailed to The Middle Ground Inc., 2531 N. 38th St. Milwaukee, WI 53210. For more information, Davis can be reached via email at parkareabridge@gmail.com.

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