Tuesday, July 1, 2014

You can help plan the future of the Menomonee Valley

Milwaukee has much to celebrate. Milwaukee has chronic problems that must be addressed if we are to become a truly great city. These twin themes seem to dominate public discourse in our community and for good reason. They are both true.

3 Bridges Park in spring
Likewise, the City of Milwaukee, Menomonee Valley businesses and other stakeholders are celebrating the successful completion of the 1998 Menomonee Valley Land Use Plan by initiating a new plan, which is called Menomonee Valley 2.0. The new plan is intended to address on-going redevelopment challenges.

You can help draw new maps and create the new plan. First a very brief overview.

6th St. Bridge from Harley-Davidson Museum
The city, Valley stakeholders and the general public can all take genuine pride in the success of earlier efforts. These include the creation of Menomonee Valley Partners to spearhead redevelopment, replacing the 6th St viaduct with dramatic and inviting new bridges that lead into the Valley, extending Canal St. through the Valley, the redevelopment of the former Milwaukee Road Shops into the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center, rehabilitation of the Menomonee River, and the creation of new parklands. Among the many positive consequences of these successes have been increases in employment and recreational opportunities in the Valley. The Urban Ecology Center, Harley-Davidson Museum, and Global Water Center, among others, have all located in the Valley. Potawatomi Bingo & Casino and The Hank Aaron State Trail both have experienced major expansions.

Topping off the new hotel, July 1, 2014
Menomonee Valley 2.0 is intended to build on this momentum and provide a new vision for the future of the Menomonee Valley. To date the process has involved compiling information from stakeholders, focus groups, and neighborhood groups, as well as a public workshop that allowed participants to pore over maps and make specific suggestions.

Here’s how you can help:

Menomonee Valley Partners has created an interactive mapping page on its website. You can go online (click here) and add your ideas to the Valley map. It’s easy! I did one. It looks like this:

You can see my map in its online version by clicking here.

However, before you go ahead and join in the fun of mapping, you may want to read on so that you will have a better grasp of some of the specific issues the planners want to address.

Five key Valley redevelopment areas have been identified. These areas are either vacant or likely to change in the next 10 to 15 years. They are also areas where it is hoped that solutions and ideas can be extrapolated to other areas of the Valley. Here is a map of the five sites:

Below are descriptions of the five sites. There also are links to my photo albums of each site so that you can see the issues more clearly. (Of course I have photographs! Too many to post with this story.)

1) I-94 Reconstruction area:  Yes, I-94 is going to be reconstructed. It is planned for 2019. Challenges and opportunities involve making connections from the freeway to the Valley and across the freeway between the neighborhoods to the north and south. Can these connections be made more pedestrian and bicycle friendly? Link to photo album.

2) St. Paul Avenue:  St. Paul serves as a gateway to the Valley from both I-94 and the Third Ward. The avenue currently includes light industrial and retail outlets as well as some vacant properties. St. Paul Avenue between the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and 25th Street is being re-envisioned to build on these assets. Link to photo album.

3) Mount Vernon Waterfront Sites:  More than 10 acres of waterfront property is tucked between Mount Vernon Ave. and the Menomonee River. This site is challenged by lack of access and infrastructure. The Marquette Interchange also separates it into two parcels. Link to photo album.

4) East Gateway:  Canal Street immediately east of the 6th Street bridge is a major gateway to the Menomonee Valley. There are two large, vacant properties on either side of Canal St. in the shadow of the High Rise Bridge. (Currently they accommodate hundreds of nesting herring gulls!) Link to photo album.

5) Pierce and Bruce district:  This district, defined by Pierce and Bruce Streets between the I-43 High Rise Bridge and 16th Street, has challenges involving land use conflicts and inadequate access between the Valley and surrounding neighborhood. It also includes the Burnham Canal, which is slated for rehabilitation as a wetland. Link to photo album.

To create your own Valley map click here.

This post is one in a series that relates to my Menomonee Valley Artist in Residency. For more information about the residency and links to previous posts and photographs, go to MV AiR.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done Eddee - you made the projects seem much more understandable to me. Mike Flanagan