United Methodist Children's Services
Open Spaces Adjacent to United Methodist Children's Services
Throughout the history of the Washington Park neighborhood, there has been a real sense of community and togetherness that has tried to break away from the traditional sights and sounds of the busy city life. Washington Park itself was created to help people escape their busy lives and the sounds of the growing commercial lifestyle.
This busy, commercial lifestyle can be found throughout the Washington Park neighborhood, especially near W. Lisbon Avenue. People engage along paved walkways adjacent to loud, busy streets. The smaller proportion of the walkways compared to the streets force people into the area's stores.
The facades of the buildings really begin to define what is public and what is private. The first levels appear to be more open to the public and allow for easy access into and out of the building. They also tend to have many windows to allow for people moving on the walkway and street to see the merchandise they are selling. Upper levels begin to promote a more private use and a more residential atmosphere.
By far the largest establishment on W. Lisbon Avenue between N. 41st Street and N. 39th Street is the United Methodist Children's Services of Wisconsin, Inc. building. It has been serving women and children in the area for 45 years. In 2009, the building gained an addition of 24 apartment units to accommodate adequate housing in a neighborhood filled with buildings that are not up to today's codes.
Many of the women who leave the Transitional Living Program of the United Methodist Children's Services find that the cost of market-rate housing returns them to poverty. Having affordable housing available for women leaving the program removes one of the barriers to continued success beyond the program.
Closer to Washington Park, the characteristics of the commercial corridor begin to disappear. Instead of three- or four-story buildings, the proportions get smaller, and the land begins to open up. The spaces around the United Methodist Children's Services building are very open and tend to invite others around. Across the street lie areas of public access. The paths invite others into the park, and their openness allows for a space of gathering. The park pulls people away and encloses them in a space for enjoyment and relaxation away from the fast-paced urban environment around them.