Keith Hayes has big ideas for Milwaukee’s trash, and even bigger plans for Webster’s dictionary. To wit: His beintween organization has been picking up tons of trash along an abandoned rail corridor between East Townsend Street and Capitol Drive and repurposing it into something he’s calling “matireal.” The hope is that the discarded tires that make up matireal can be used in a “creational” trail dubbed the “ARTery.”  

Mangled neologisms aside, the Ohio transplant piqued enough interest to raise more than $10,000 via Kickstarter for his plan and convinced some foundations to open up their checkbooks. As we follow the 2.4-mile path of the proposed linear park, Hayes focuses more on his hope to connect the residents of the Harambee and Riverwest neighborhoods than the green aspect of his plan. 

His excitement doesn’t stop there. He shows off a prototype rubbish bin, also made of discarded tires, that he hopes will line the trail. He wants to use shipping containers to house mini-schools for budding apprentices. And he often speaks of his affinity for edible landscapes. After seeing his work in action at the Marsupial Bridge – beintween installed a swing set there, again using discarded tires – we’ll be watching to see how Hayes pulls off his latest public work, and to see (or taste) an edible landscape.

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