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Ideas for Redeveloping Milwaukee's Downtown Lakefront

L & M Keane

Two architecture professors hope their sketches of how Milwaukee could remake its lakefront generate discussion and more ideas.

Credit Susan Bence
Architects Linda Nelson Keane and Mark Keane

Professors Mark Keane at UW-Milwaukee and Linda Nelson Keane at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago say Milwaukee has a unique opportunity to build a grand, symbolic entranceway leading to downtown. Now that Northwestern Mutual is building a new office tower and the Department of Transportation is remaking the freeway ramps, this is the perfect time for Milwaukee to make a change.

The two say Milwaukee should incorporate its assets - the museums, Summerfest, Third Ward shopping, downtown businesses, its work toward becoming a global water hub and Lake Michigan's presence - into a redeveloped lakefront.

Keane and Nelson Keane picture a park that doubles as a state of the art stormwater management system, which could also serve as an educational resource for the nearby museums.

Credit L & M Keane
Plan, north to the right, with crescent shaped promenade linking Lincoln, Michigan, Clybourn, Lincoln south to the 3rd ward, and access on and off 794.

They recommend that the city incorporate pedestrian and bike pathways, winter gardens and green roofs and rooftop terraces that lead down from Wisconsin Avenue. The  sketches below show potential land patterns and public areas for a redesigned Milwaukee lakefront.

Credit L & M Keane

Credit L & M Keane

Credit L & M Keane

Credit L & M Keane

A redeveloped downtown Milwaukee lakefront took one step closer to a reality on Monday. Gov. signed a law declaring Lincoln Memorial Drive a dividing line. Anything east is public. Anything west can be private. The law would allow developers to build a high rise where the county bus shelter now sits. Some parties insist the shelter sits on filled lake bed and is actually public land.

Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.
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