WEST BEND — Construction on the west side of the Downtown Riverwalk has begun, moving the city forward on the multiyear project to improve community and pedestrian resources along the Milwaukee River near downtown.

The city announced the beginning of phase two construction for the Riverwalk on Facebook this week. There was also a presentation to the Downtown Business Improvement District Tuesday, updating that group on the Riverwalk’s progress and improvement plans.

According to city information, this month will see construction for the west side of the Riverwalk from Veterans Avenue north to the pocket park bridge by the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

City plan documents show that work this year will include new river walls, sidewalks, railings and steps down to the river from the path, as well as lighting and landscaping.

As part of this year’s work, the south pedestrian bridge across the river in the downtown area will be removed for a while; that removal is tentatively scheduled for the week of Aug. 26, with the bridge to be reinstalled the week of Nov. 21, according to city information.

Next year, construction is expected to continue with phase three Riverwalk improvements from the MOWA bridge north to Highway 33, called Washington Street within the city.

The presentation to the BID Board, by Parks and Recreation Director Mike Jentsch, showed that 2023 work will include construction of a kayak and canoe launch with a dock, green space and parking, as well as construction of a pedestrian underpass that will allow Riverwalk users to walk beneath Washington Street.

Phase two construction of the Riverwalk, beginning now, is expected to be complete by June 30, 2023, according to city information. Phase three construction is scheduled to be complete by June of 2024, according to a project timeline posted on the city website.

West Bend was awarded a grant this spring, providing $2.655 million for reconstruction of the west side of the Riverwalk through the state’s Neighborhood Investment Fund program. That grant program was established in 2021, using federal funds provided through the American Rescue Plan Act.

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