Plans for the Milwaukee Harbor District on the city’s
South Side have been unveiled by the nonprofit Harbor
Enhancing riverfront water access, restoring wetlands
and, yes, maintaining industrial buildings are in the
mix of the Milwaukee Harbor District’s just-unveiled
plans for the city’s near South Side.
A renewed effort
between Milwaukee municipal officials and a number of
civic and nonprofit organizations has sparked a
broad-brushed planning effort aimed at bringing new
development to underused land in the city’s harbor area,
which is roughly bound by South First Street, the
Milwaukee and Kinnickinnic rivers and the lake’s
representatives of Harbor District Inc., the nonprofit
group overseeing the conceptual planning, unveiled a
series of preliminary land use recommendations at a pair
of informational meetings.
The land use
recommendations are the outgrowth of feedback gleaned
from a series of feedback meetings six months ago and a
executive director of the Harbor District Inc., said
there were several recurring themes that surfaced in
last fall’s information-gathering efforts.
“People are looking
for more recreational space,” Fowler said during an open
house question-and-answer session Tuesday at the
Independence First facility on South First Street, not
far from the core area under scrutiny.
Enhancing access to
the waterways within the Harbor District is outlined in
the plan. One specific project, Take Me to the River,
calls for a new public plaza space at the end of
Greenfield Avenue. A boat launch could also be part of
this specific project.
Harbor District Inc.
held a design competition last fall. The winning entry
was showcased at this week’s information meeting.
Dan Adams, planning
director at Harbor District Inc., said Take Me to the
River has fueled interest in an area that has long been
under the radar.
“The goal is to
start raising funds for this next year,” Adams said.
While some of Harbor
District Inc.’s conceptual plans for the site are a
complete overhaul from the current use, the
organization’s recommendations do include the region’s
vast history as a significant manufacturing hub.
The plan calls for a
mix of commercial uses near the lower Kinnickinnic
River, including a variety of light industrial
businesses in an area where the former Horny Goat
Hideaway and an operating restaurant wholesale building
Housing also is
included in the document, and that specific component is
already coming to fruition. The four-story, 76-unit
Freshwater Plaza apartment complex opened in November
near South 1st Street and East Greenfield Avenue.
District Inc.’s proposal calls on a wetland restoration
project near a grain elevator business at 960 E. Bay St.
Several concerns about this pinpointed area have been
raised, including poor soil conditions.
Inc.’s public presentations are part of an ongoing
effort to refine the group’s recommendations. Nearby
residents and other persons are invited to take an
online survey, available at
www.harbordistrict.org, and offer feedback on the
latest sets of plans.
“We’re going to
continue refining and revising the plan,” Fowler said.
For now, all of the
recommendations are conceptual.
In an effort to give
them more teeth, Fowler said Harbor District Inc. plans
to bring them before the Common Council this fall as a
guiding document for future land use decisions and
policy issues specific to the area.
Even if local
government does back the plans, however, Fowler is quick
to point out they could take years to implement because
much of the land is privately owned.
“But we’re trying to
do whatever we can to get the ball rolling,” she said.
“Piece by piece, this can start to come together.”
<<EARLIER: Organizers hoping to breathe
new life into dormant harbor district