These two renderings show
ideas for a proposed Harbor District
redevelopment for the near South Side.
MILWAUKEE — After a
nearly two-year planning process, a public-private
partnership aimed at breathing new life into Milwaukee’s
underused harbor area on the near South Side is in its
the nonprofit Harbor District Inc. and staffers within
the City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development
held an open house Monday and took the wraps off the
latest sets of plans.
people attended the open house, which was held at the
new Mitchell Street Library and in close proximity to
where much of the planned future development is under
area is roughly bound by South 1st Street, the Milwaukee
and Kinnickinnic rivers and the Lake Michigan coastline.
District Inc. has spearheaded much of the planning, the
city has been an active participant as well and will
continue to be in the months ahead as the conceptual
details move through several channels at City Hall.
executive director of Harbor District Inc., said she and
others within the organization have been pleasantly
surprised by the level of interest within the community.
“The stories that
people have brought to us, the history they’ve shared,
has been really amazing,” Fowler said.
For the most part,
the outer shell of the Harbor District’s water and land
use plan has remained the same from the get-go. It calls
for enhancing riverfront water access, restoring
wetlands and, in some instances, maintaining existing
industrial buildings in one of the city’s oldest, most
Fowler said there
have been a series of tweaks, particularly most recently
as the final draft of the plan was assembled.
series of public input sessions, Fowler said there was a
recurring theme: Create robust public access areas to
“It’s more than we
anticipated,” Fowler said. “There was a lot of interest
in having fishing space, especially underneath the Port
While the planning
process for the Harbor District’s future is winding
down, efforts to explore funding options for the area
are picking up steam.
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.
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.
At this week’s open
house, Fowler and other representatives outlined why
they believe the Harbor District project is important to
the city’s future.
If all of the
elements come together, the redevelopment area will
serve a range of purposes, intermingling light industry,
commercial retail space, transportation facilities and
recreation in one area.
The light industry
component is expected to yield 22 jobs per acre, Fowler
said, while the goal of the commercial retail sites is
to yield up to 75 jobs per acre.
The Port of
Milwaukee and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District,
which have long been part of the area, are incorporated
into the plans, encapsulating about 40 percent of the
Harbor District’s total land area.
The city, which has
final say through zoning, will continue soliciting
feedback on the plan through Dec. 18. Several city
boards and committees will review the document in
January before it goes before the Common Council for a
final vote in February.
can leaf through a 65-page executive summary at
www.harbordistrict.org/plan. Public comments
specific to the plan can be emailed to the city at
<<EARLIER: An overflow of ideas for lakefront on near
<<EARLIER: Organizers hoping to breathe
new life into dormant harbor district