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Group Sets Sights On Revitalizing Larger Swath of Menomonee Valley​

The Menomonee Valley's astounding renaissance is considered a national model of urban revitalization. Now the Valley is pushing into phase two of its rebirth.

Over the last 15 years, 300 acres of brownfield has been remediated, 39 new companies have moved in and more than 5,000 jobs, along with Three Bridges Park, have been created in the Valley.

Credit Menomonee Valley Partners

Menomonee Valley Partners serves at the lead agency. It is coordinating Menomonee Valley 2.0 – a plan that will guide the next phase of redevelopment.

Executive Director Corey Zetts says it targets key areas for redevelopment. One, is just west of the 6th Street Bridges on Canal Street. (That bridge system, by the way, was one of the first signs of the Valley’s renaissance).

Zetts points to a 10-acre parcel west of 6th Street. “It’s ten acres of all riverfront lands. There are some other pockets, but the largest tracks of land are here at the east end. And this is what we’re looking at as developing as part of the food and beverage cluster,” Zetts says.

She says the foundation already exists in the Valley through Palermos and Rishi Tea and Great Lakes Distillery. “Capitalizing on all the synergies happening nearby, including the food school MATC is developing on 5th and National, the food innovation lab, and then all of the food retail and smaller manufacturing like Clock Shadow and Purple Door on South 2nd Street and this could be the next space," Zetts says.

Credit S Bence
Corey Zetts sees all sorts of possibilities for this peninsula at northeast end of Valley.

Those types of job fit well with the people who live closest to the Valley. “A big part of what we’re looking to do is to make sure the density of jobs in the Valley continues to grow and those are jobs that are really available to the workforce in the surrounding neighborhoods,” she says.

More land is being targeted for revitalization along the Menomonee River’s north side.

“So the plan also looks at having another river walk along this whole section when this is developed," Zetts says. "There’s a trucking business that operates out of here, but right now it’s mostly used for storage, so the long-term is for this to be redeveloped."

Green space figures prominently in the  2.0 plan.

“Not a big park project, but making sure that all of the river front – we have the river, and the South Menomonee Canal and the Burnham Canal – that they all have a buffer along them with river walk and pedestrian connections, access to the river and greenspace and stormwater (management) is really a big part of all future development as well,” Zetts says.

The public is invited to check out the plan and comment.

Credit S Bence
Zetts says "St. Paul Ave. from 25th all the way to the Intermodal Station is one of the catalytic properties for the valley. We've been seeing this small, emerging cluster of design and decor showroom businesses."

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.