Take Me To The River

HDI launched our “Take me to the River” to create new community connections – both programmatic and physical – to the Harbor District waterfront, and to focus on getting things done quickly to create an “early win” for the area. We received support of ECO City of Milwaukee, and funding from a Bloomberg Award for Partners for Places – a Project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, as well as grants from the Fund for Lake Michigan, Brico Fund, Brookby Foundation, Zilber Family Foundation, and Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust.

The project team quickly zeroed in on creating a public plaza at the end of Greenfield Avenue. A design competition yielded a winning design – the “Slosh Park”. We initially planned to construct the first phase in summer 2017, but have now set our sights a bit higher: while there will be no construction in 2017, we intend to build the entire park in 2018. Visit the Slosh Park page for details.

In addition to planned park construction, this project has built a variety of other community connections:

  • Held an ice cream social that brought together about 50 community members who provided feedback about desired open space on the waterfront.
  • Held a design competition that leveraged the expertise and creativity of 24 professionals and provided five design concepts for the community to choose from. Over 1,300 people participated in the on-line voting.
  • Provided 21 hours of in-school programming plus field trips and boat tours, reaching 70 students at nearby predominantly low income and minority schools. Students learned basic concepts of urban planning and got a chance to plan their own waterfront.
  • Vetted design concept and contracted with the winning design team to proceed with planning for the “Slosh Park”, for construction in 2018.

Take Me to the River projects:

  • Harbor Fest, a community street fair with a focus on water, boats, and fish, for September 8th. Activities will include fishing and paddling demos, a boat parade, boat construction, sushi demos, as well as music and food.
  • A mural on the rail bridge over Greenfield Avenue. The mural is a gateway to the Harbor District that showcases the wildlife still found in the area.
  • The possible art installation of painted boats to be placed throughout the Harbor District next spring. All Hands Boat Works, a community program that works with teens to build boats, would provide boats to be painted by artists, or by artists working with the teens.