Milwaukee's Custer Playfield gets a makeover

MILWAUKEE -- Custer Playfield received a big makeover and on Saturday, Sept. 14 a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the new space.

Dozens were out at the park near 49th and Custer for the event, including members of the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Families spent the day on the new basketball courts, play structures and walking path.


Custer is the second playfield to reopen following renovations. Milwaukee Recreation and Milwaukee Public Schools began work to remodel and rebuild its recreation playfields by breaking ground at the first three sites to be transformed: Columbia, Custer, and Southgate. Columbia Playfield reopened in August.

Read more about Milwaukee Recreation's playfields:

Many of Milwaukee Recreation’s playfields were built in the 1920s and 1930s. The existing outdoor recreation system is comprised of 52 active use playfields encompassing more than 300 acres of programmed space. The majority of these sites serve as neighborhood scale parks with traditional recreational facilities such as ballfields, tot lots, tennis courts, fieldhouses, and general open space. In 2014, the department retained a consultant to conduct a review of its existing facilities and provide a roadmap for improvements to the playfields. The result was the Milwaukee Outdoor Recreation Facilities Master Plan. The plan rated 65 percent of the facilities as fair to poor, and identified more than $25 million in needed improvements over a 10-year span. The department then analyzed the neighborhood and population characteristics surrounding each playfield to create a priority list of projects that emphasized racial and economic equity.

“Everyone deserves a safe place to recreate and we now have an equitable way to prioritize the renovation projects and truly level the playing field in our city,” says Lynn A. Greb, Milwaukee Recreation’s senior director. “Our grand reopening of Custer Playfield will showcase the tremendous investment we’re making in our community.”