Historic Third Ward
The Riverwalk of the Historic Third Ward is adjacent to a mix of residential and commercial businesses and spans the distance from the I-794 freeway to the Harbor entrance and makes up the southern-most portion of the Riverwalk System.
To capitalize on new interest in the Milwaukee River as a destination for living, shopping and recreation, the Historic Third Ward Association, the Business Improvement District No. 2 and the City of Milwaukee took steps to create a riverwalk that connects to, yet also distinguishes itself from the downtown's nearly complete riverwalk. Planning for the $11 million project began in 1999, resulting in the Common Council's adoption of design guidelines specific to the riverwalk within the Historic Third Ward neighborhood boundaries, extending from the north side of East Clybourn Street to the Lakefront and a portion of the west side of the Milwaukee River extending from the north side of West Clybourn Street southerly to the centerline of the Menomonee River. The City established a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District to pay for the upfront costs of construction, with BID #2 reimbursing the City for 22% of the riverwalk costs from yearly assessments, over a 20 year period.
Riverwalk construction began in 2002. In 2004, the nearly one-mile long boardwalk within the Historic Third Ward neighborhood opened to the public. By the summer of 2005, a connection to the Downtown Riverwalk was complete. Segments continue to be built, and to date, only one remains stretch of riverfront property is without a riverwalk. Built from Ipe wood, a tropical hardwood, the Historic Third Ward Riverwalk has won several design awards since it opened, including a 2007 American Institue of Architects (AIA) Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design.
Construction of Riverwalks within the Historic Third Ward must follow the Historic Third Ward RiverWalk Design Guidelines.