Wenk Associates was selected through a multi-phase national design competition to create a master plan for revitalizing the river valley. The plan for the 140-acre site has revitalized the industrial development; has reconnected surrounding communities with the river and job resources; has created natural amenities in parks and trails; and is in the process of reestablishing a social and economic framework absent for nearly two decades.
This site was formerly an undevelopable eyesore, located within the 100-year floodplain, harboring contaminants from former industrial and transportation uses, and dividing inner-city neighborhoods. In mid-2003, the City of Milwaukee selected the design team to prepare detailed design concepts. The plan proposed a holistic and sustainable approach to integrate economic development with social, ecological and recreational objectives to ensure the health and vitality of the community. The ensuing plan proposed a framework of "green infrastructure" that integrates flood detention and stormwater treatment with recreation and open space. The community gained an invaluable amenity in a riverfront park and open space system linking the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods to the Valley with a network of trails.
The ensuing plan proposed a framework of “green infrastructure” that integrates flood detention and stormwater treatment with recreation and open space. The community gained an invaluable amenity in a riverfront park and open space system linking the downtown and adjacent neighborhoods to the Valley with a network of trails.
The plan created nearly 15 acres of restored wetlands and meadows that will enhance the river habitat while providing a more passive landscape experience for park users. Additionally the wetlands are an integral part of the stormwater treatment system, functioning to cleanse stormwater runoff of pollutants and managing the two, five and 100-year storm event.
To date nearly 80% of the park has been constructed. Additionally, over 50 acres of the redevelopment area has been purchased and the construction of new businesses is ongoing.
The built green infrastructure successfully integrates stormwater management with a walkable, pleasant park environment.
Materials are reused as benches. Trails meander through the stormwater park.
Children supported development of the park by volunteering time to plant a variety of native plantings. Students continue to learn in an outdoor classroom through a program with the Urban Ecology Center.
The firm has recently prepared final design and construction documents for the Airline Yards area along the River, further connecting the adjacent neighborhoods with the park and work environment.