Wheelhouse Purchased for Park

River Revitalization Foundation Purchases
Milwaukee River
Site to be Transformed into an
Urban Waterfront Park

December 17, 2009 —  The River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee’s urban rivers land trust, has purchased 2.8 acres

acres  to preserved green space, increase shoreline stabilization and floodplain protection, provide a public access linkage to adjacent Milwaukee County parks and trails, protect Butler’s Gartersnake habitat and provide multiple recreational opportunities. The Foundation received a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stewardship grant award in the amount of $700,000 for the acquisition. An additional $400,000 easement purchase through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Greenseams program is a partial match to the DNR grant.

The site’s approximately 642 feet of frontage along the Milwaukee River will connect to the planned “beerline” segment of the Milwaukee County Park’s Oak Leaf Trail System and the North Avenue pedestrian bridge extending over the river to Caesar’s Park and the East Bank Trail. The property is primarily a developed site that includes an abandoned building (formerly the Melanec’s Wheelhouse restaurant) and impervious parking lots, both of which will be removed by the Foundation as part of the restoration. The finished product will include improved public access for low impact recreational activities including fishing, hiking, and access to adjoining trails that will also provide biking and cross-country skiing.  Proposed plans also include a non-motorized boat launch.

The River Revitalization Foundation will retain ownership but will manage the property in a manner consistent with the park management policies of Milwaukee County.  Public information meetings will be scheduled in 2010 inviting comment for site planning for the new park.

“We and our partners are excited and proud to have secured this property for Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s future,” said Foundation President Chris Jaekels. “Its strategic location and natural attributes will enable the Foundation to help improve water quality, add scenic beauty to the neighborhood, and provide recreational and educational opportunities for the community,” he added.  With this acquisition, the foundation has protected 10 acres within Milwaukee’s environmental corridor.

Donations are being sought and accepted for the remaining $300,000 in acquisition costs and for additional expenses including demolition and habitat restoration. Visit www.riverrevitalizationfoundation.org for more details.