Public Forum For Lake Park Bridge
Public invited to a meeting about the future of historic Ravine Road Bridge
Milwaukee County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman will host a public meeting about issues relating to the fenced-off and imperiled Ravine Road Pedestrian Bridge. It will be on Wednesday, February 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Marcia Coles Community Room, beneath Lake Park Bistro. The Lake Park Pavilion is located at 3133 E. Newberry Blvd. and there is free parking.
The Concrete Arch Footbridge has been closed to pedestrians since December. The early Modernist structure was designed in 1905 by the Milwaukee-based Ferry & Clas architectural firm. Ravine Road, over which the bridge spans, has been closed to vehicles since December 2014. Nicknamed “Snake Road,” it was part of Frederick Law Olmsted’s design to link Lake Park’s bluff areas to the lakefront. The bridge and park are both on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wasserman will be joined by John Dargle, Milwaukee County Parks director; Kevin Haley, landscape architect for Milwaukee County Parks; and Teig Whaley-Smith, Milwaukee County’s director of administrative services.
Topics likely to be discussed include:
- Whether to perform long-term repairs to the bridge or replace it with a replica.
- Project funding. According to Chris Abele’s office, “The bridge will be closed to all traffic until a replacement or repair alternative is finalized…This project shall not proceed until the $2,000,000 in private contributions is secured and committed.” The project is estimated at $2.5 million.
- The possible fate of the bridge if $2 million in private funding is not raised.
- The threat of the bridge’s immediate demolition, as proposed by county officials.
- Potential immediate repairs or other measures to enable the reopening of the bridge and/or Ravine Road.
- Potential federal grants from the Transportation Alternatives Program, which funds “off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation…and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities.”
- Milwaukee County’s stated refusal to fully fund a long-term solution and call for residents to pay most of an infrastructure cost.
- Preservation protocols at the local, state and federal level.