Three Bridges Park


3700 W Pierce St (The Valley Passage - One of three entrances), Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1. Project overview

After decades of decline, public and private sectors have made substantial progress in redeveloping Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley. Since 1999, 39 companies have moved to the Valley, more than 5,000 jobs have been created, and the Hank Aaron State Trail now runs the length of the Valley. The site of the former Milwaukee Road Shops, which once employed hundreds of people from the Silver City and Clarke Square neighborhoods, has been redeveloped into the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center which boasts 1,200 jobs.

However, an active rail line and a larger former rail yard separated the neighborhoods from the new jobs as well as the Hank Aaron State Trail and Menomonee River. The rail yard was a brownfield with unstable riverbanks eroding contaminated soil into the Menomonee River. It attracted nuisance activities, like graffiti and illegal dumping, and depressed property values in surrounding neighborhoods, which were already struggling with more than their fair share of foreclosure and unemployment.

Three Bridges Park, which opened in July 2013, is the result of a decade long planning effort to transform this abandoned rail yard along the Menomonee River into a public park by:
  • remediating the site with a protective cap
  • stabilizing the riverbank to cease erosion
  • creating a vegetated riparian buffer along a highly degraded area
  • building an outdoor science classroom programmed by the Urban Ecology Center
  • extending the Hank Aaron State Trail
  • creating new green space immediately adjacent to some of the most densely-populated neighborhoods in the state.
It includes three bike and pedestrian bridges that link the Valley, Mitchell Park, and southside neighborhoods. A one mile extension of the Hank Aaron State Trail (part of an overall six mile extension) provides commuter access to jobs in the Valley and beyond and also a great route for recreational biking, running, walking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. The landscape also offers great views of downtown, access to the Menomonee River for fishing and canoeing, and a sledding hill in winter. Through programming at the Urban Ecology Center's new Menomonee Valley branch, students are participating in hands-on science education in the park, attending summer camps, and community nature-based programs keep the park active every day. Finally, 42 community garden beds provide access to healthy food options, supported through programming at the Urban Ecology Center. Classes include healthy eating, gardening, canning, bee keeping, and more.

Company:
Menomonee Valley Partners,
301 W Wisconsin Ave,, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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