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Progress is Underway on Improving and Expanding Milwaukee’s Riverwalk System

Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Department of City Development advance efforts to grow Milwaukee’s Riverwalk and expand public access

MILWAUKEE – The Department of City Development (DCD) is continuing efforts to improve and expand Milwaukee’s Riverwalk system that represents more than three miles of pedestrian access along the Milwaukee and Kinnickinnic Rivers.

The Riverwalk system consists of a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational development in creating an active, pedestrian-friendly environment along the water. This amenity is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with access points located throughout the entire system.

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

Since its inception in 1993, the Riverwalk has operated 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, with plans for future growth and development.

The system is a public-private partnership between riverfront property owners and the City of Milwaukee. In exchange for permanent public access, the City provides financial assistance for the construction of the private Riverwalk improvements. Since its inception, property values along the Riverwalk have climbed by more than $1.5 billion.

Most recently, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (RACM) successfully secured $128,000 from the State of Wisconsin’s Coastal Management Program for The Node project in the Harbor District.

Located at 611 East Greenfield Avenue, The Node project will create 3,000 square-feet of new aquatic habitat and will be part of the new 4,300 linear-foot Riverwalk extension near Komatsu Mining’s new South Harbor Campus. The proposed design aims to modify the existing landscape and dockwall to develop the aquatic habitat and spawning zone with new landscaping and native plants. Stairs and ADA-accessible ramps will provide all individuals the opportunity to access the edge and “touch” the water. The space will expand educational offerings along the river related to fish habitat, the Great Lakes, and the Harbor. Construction will begin next year.

“Thanks to the State of Wisconsin, this grant will add to our positive momentum by making The Node a reality, which will provide residents, visitors, and tourists the ability to view and touch the water,” said DCD Commissioner Lafayette Crump. “Projects like The Node will help offer more educational opportunities in the harbor, promote equity on our waterfronts, and allow our youth to experience everything Milwaukee has to offer.”

Below are additional progress updates that have been recently announced or approved for Milwaukee Riverwalk extension and improvement efforts:

1887 North Water Street: This new residential development will include a 480-foot Riverwalk extension for the public to access. The City approved $2.1 million toward the construction of this Riverwalk, which is currently under construction.

333 North Water Street: The future 32-story residential tower includes a public connection to the Riverwalk, along with a dockwall replacement, that is expected to break ground at the end of the summer season. The City approved $903,000 for the Riverwalk connection and dockwall.

Schlitz Park: The Tap Yard at Schlitz Park, a new beer garden and gathering space, will undergo future improvements to enhance the public’s experience. The design plans were approved by the City Plan Commission as required by the Riverwalk Design Overlay Zone Policy.

Lakefront Brewery: Outdoor improvements are planned along Lakefront Brewery’s portion of the Riverwalk. The design plans were approved by the City Plan Commission as required by the Riverwalk Design Overlay Zone Policy.

Harbor District Riverwalk: The future Riverwalk adjacent to the new Komatsu Mining Headquarters is expected to break ground in early 2023. The City has committed $14.5 million to design and construct this nearly three-quarters of a mile long stretch of Riverwalk.

River1: This is the first Riverwalk in the Harbor District that is now open to the public, with a new, riverfront restaurant expected to open this fall. The City approved $3.4 million for the Riverwalk and dockwall work. This new Riverwalk will be permanently publicly-accessible.

Boone and Crockett: This Harbor District bar and restaurant will develop a new Riverwalk near their outdoor patio area that will be accessible to the public. The design has been approved by the City Plan Commission, in accordance with the Harbor District Riverwalk Design Standards.

More information is available at Milwaukee.gov/Riverwalk.

Commissioner Lafayette L. Crump 

Lafayette L. Crump, Commissioner 


 809 North Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202 




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