Design plans unveiled for Harbor District Riverwalk project

Harbor District Riverwalk rendering from SmithGroup.
Harbor District Riverwalk rendering from SmithGroup.

Last updated on November 7th, 2022 at 03:10 pm

The Milwaukee Department of City Development today unveiled proposed design renderings for the Riverwalk extension planned for the city’s Harbor District.

The Harbor District Riverwalk project calls for a three-quarters of a mile long riverwalk segment south of Harbor View Plaza, which is located at the east end of East Greenfield Avenue, and adjacent to the new Komatsu Mining Corp. headquarters campus.

The $14.5 million project, designed by Detroit-based SmithGroup, is expected to break ground in early 2023. The site plans will be reviewed by the city’s Plan Commission on Monday, Nov. 7.

The Harbor District Riverwalk will include The Node project that will create 3,000 square feet of new aquatic habitat with new landscaping and native plants. Stairs and ADA-accessible ramps will provide all individuals the opportunity to access the water’s edge. Other aquatic habitat measures proposed for the Harbor District Riverwalk include log lunkers, a fish crib structure (sunken shipping container filled with rock and woody materials), and habitat brush fascines.

The project will also include one shipping container-style building that will house accessible bathrooms and provide a shaded stage for daily use. The Harbor View Plaza Extension on the north end of the site will have integrated signage that leads users into the space, serving as a portal to the Riverwalk.

This will be the second Harbor District Riverwalk to be publicly-accessible and operational. This year, the R1VER mixed-used development opened the first Riverwalk in the Harbor District to the public, with a new, riverfront restaurant that recently opened. The City of Milwaukee approved $3.4 million for that publicly-accessible Riverwalk and associated dockwall work.

The Milwaukee Riverwalk project began in 1993 and has grown over time, extending along both sides of the Milwaukee River, from the site of the former North Avenue Dam, through downtown and the Historic Third Ward to Lake Michigan. Now, it is expanding throughout the Harbor District along the Kinnickinnic River, and the city has plans for future growth.

“Our waterways are a great natural resource, and as we add connections to the water, we celebrate this asset. Milwaukee’s Riverwalks have become centers of commerce and recreation that add to the vitality of the city,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “I believe in the power of partnerships, and that’s what the Harbor District Riverwalk is all about. Through the efforts of city government, local businesses and organizations, and residents that call our waterfronts home, the Harbor District Riverwalk will add value to the neighborhood and city’s waterways for decades to come.”

“Moving our operations in Milwaukee to the Harbor District has allowed us to welcome in members of the public and engage with our community like never before,” said John Koetz, President, Komatsu Surface Mining. “We are so excited to see that continue to grow with the creation of the public Riverwalk, and commend the city and Harbor District for their work to open up this important public waterfront and increase access for all of the community.”

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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