|The Work Group drafted the Milwaukee River Greenway Master Plan; A Vision for Recreation and Restoration in 2010. The plan provides a comprehensive vision for a restored urban wilderness and shared recreational opportunities in three communities. The plan features a 13 mile trail for a variety of non-motorized recreational users.
Trailheads will be marked with recycled locally produced signs that provide stronger links to surrounding neighborhoods and help in way finding. Existing trails will remain primitive but be re-routed where they trespass or damage wildlife habitat.
Habitat studies are underway that will lead to the restoration and preservation of the natural resources within the Greenway.
Along with a consultant team from Plunkett Raysich Architects, hundreds of stakeholders provided input to the plan through public meetings and committee work.
Master Plan – Executive Summary
The flow of water from the Milwaukee River into the Great Lakes has been and will continue to be a story that shapes Milwaukee. As the City is poised to take its place as the fresh water capitol of the world, the story of how we safeguard this resource becomes preeminent.
The Milwaukee River Greenway Master Plan (Plan) creates a comprehensive strategy for the river's renaissance. The Plan sets forth a vision for a unique urban wilderness containing restored natural communities and shared recreational opportunities.
The Plan provides guidance for the formation of the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition and identifies this group as the leader of a work plan that builds on the $9-10 million dollars that has already been invested in the corridor. The Coalition anticipates maturation into a completely self-funded organization with the ability to unlock at least $16.5 million additional dollars to restore a shared open space system containing a major waterway, numerous parks, and areas of urban wilderness in the heart of the city.
A new 13 mile "Loop and Link" shared use trail along the riverside is shown that will give residents and visitors an opportunity to reconnect with nature and each other. The Plan includes steps for habitat restoration for the Primary Environmental Corridor (more than 500 acres!) to enhance the ecological integrity of communities of plants and animals that include a diversity of birds, fish, bats, reptiles and amphibian species.
The Plan also prioritizes branding and graphic design development to create a signage program that will create a coherent identity for the seven mile stretch of river that reveals and celebrates all of the natural assets and recreational opportunities available to users. Enhanced access points and improved gateways will provide both greater access and greater stewardship.
The work plan has identified initiatives for improvements within the corridor in the five principal categories of remediation, restoration, signs, governance, and trails. Specific organizations that are already on track to accomplish these tasks have been identified and phases of work anticipated over the next 15 years has been included.
The Plan is a working document designed to establish priorities and direction for future projects that will lead to restoration and rediscovery of this unique stretch of river. The Greenway is poised to become an outstanding local resource and a world-class destination that enables natural and urban communities to thrive.
What other cities are doing
As Milwaukee developed its master plan we wanted to see what other cities across the nation were doing to protect and improve their urban rivers. Here are some links: