Jeramey Jannene

Beerline Trail Open to the Public

By - Oct 14th, 2010 07:57 pm

North end of the new Beerline Trail

On Wednesday evening, the opening of the Beerline Trail was celebrated with a ceremonial walk from Gordon Park to the Wheelhouse property. The 4000-foot, paved trail connects the Beerline neighborhood, North Avenue Dam Pedestrian Bridge, Commerce Street, and Humboldt Avenue bridge through the river corridor to Gordon Park and much of Riverwest. The trail will facilitate a better connection for non-motorized travelers between the downtown area and Riverwest. The trail also turns a former railroad corridor into a welcoming and accessible way for visitors to interact with the Milwaukee River.

The effort to build the trail dates back to 2002, and was a partnership between the River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee County Parks department, Riverwest Neighborhood Association, National Park Service, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The project required a number of different sponsors to happen. Labor has been provided by the City of Milwaukee’s Earn and Learn Milwaukee program, allowing high school students to get paid work experience.  An Eagle Scout project included the construction of a pathway from the future trail down to the river’s west bank and low lying trails. Over 1,000 trees have been planted in the corridor since 2002, including 60 the past week. The tree planting has been done in conjunction with the removal of buckthorn, an invasive species.  A significant land acquisition was made recently on the south end of the trail, as the River Revitalization Foundation acquired the 2.8 acre former Melanec’s Wheelhouse restaurant property for $1.4 million.  The DNR awarded the foundation a $700,000 stewardship grant, and MMSD paid the foundation $400,000 for the a conservation easement restricting development on the property. The foundation will demolish the building and parking lot to turn the land into a park space. The boat landing will be preserved thanks to a $100,000 donation from the Kiwanis Club.

The trail is an excellent addition to the city, and is yet another small piece that fills a gap in Milwaukee’s pedestrian infrastructure that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.


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