Reconstruction of Summerfest’s north entry gate and the creation of a new community plaza adjacent to Urban Park begins Monday, which festival operators hope will better connect Henry Maier Festival Park to downtown Milwaukee.
The project is part of the sponsorship Summerfest operator Milwaukee World Festival Inc. announced in January with Madison-based American Family Insurance. The deal also replaced the longstanding Marcus Amphitheater name.
Eppstein Uhen Architects is the lead designer, with Pierce Engineering performing the structural engineering and CG Schmidt managing construction.
The project will be complete in time for the 2018 Summerfest season.
“We are thrilled to continue to be a part of the exciting developments taking place on Milwaukee’s lakefront,” Don Smiley, president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee World Festival, said in a statement. “This new entry way to Henry Maier Festival Park will enhance the festival experience for our fans, as well thousands in our community who visit the lakefront.”
The Summerfest project will be part of several lakefront improvements that also includes the Lakefront Gateway Plaza project.
Milwaukee-based engineering firm GRAEF was selected in October 2015 by a group of downtown and lakefront “stakeholders” as the winning design for the project planned for a 1.5-acre site between the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Summerfest grounds.
A fundraising campaign for the $26 million project was expected to begin early this year.
Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the Milwaukee Department of City Development, said the project is at an important juncture.
“We have completed public meetings around the city, and we are finalizing the roles and identities of the key partners we are relying on to raise the money needed to realize the vision,” Fleming said.