Michael Horne

City Groups Receive Coastal Grants

More than $113,000 in grants for a canoe-kayak trail map app, river cleanup and bicycle trail study.

By - Jun 30th, 2021 04:09 pm
Looking east down the Milwaukee River. Photo taken by Jeramey Jannene on August 25th, 2013.

Looking east down the Milwaukee River. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Outreach to underserved communities, a canoe and kayak trail map app, river cleanup and a bicycle trail study receive $113,583

Two Milwaukee non-profits and the City of Milwaukee were successful applicants for four grants totaling $113,583 awarded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and announced Monday by Governor Tony Evers.

The city received two grants totaling $48,583, while the Milwaukee Riverkeeper ($25,000) and the River Revitalization Foundation ($20,000) were the other local recipients of the $1.4 million in grants shared by 40 organizations and governmental entities in the 15 counties in Wisconsin that border the Great Lakes, including 11 Lake Michigan and four Lake Superior counties.

According to the release:

The intergovernmental and private sector collaborations aided by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program advance Wisconsin and regional Great Lakes priorities such as enhancing public access, sustainable use practices, community development, habitat restoration, and pollution control.

The program, established in 1978, is federally funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Grants

  • Project Name: Paddle Forward, the Future of the Milwaukee Urban Water Trail
    Applicant: Milwaukee River-keeper
    Grant Amount: $25,000

 Category: Public Access

“This project will create an online Milwaukee Urban Water Trail map/website. The project will create a stand-alone website that is both easily accessible, easily navigated, and easily updated. This project will expand outreach focusing on the new, mobile-friendly website, and include targeted outreach to kayak companies, outdoor retailers, waterfront businesses, condos, tourism partners, and underrepresented groups.”

Cheryl Nenn, the Milwaukee Riverkeeper, tells Urban Milwaukee:

We are very excited that we received $25,000 for the Paddle Forward Grant from Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. This grant will allow us to take our popular Milwaukee Urban Water Trail to the next level.

From the Grant Application:

“The Milwaukee Urban Water Trail map and supporting information has outgrown its small space on the Riverkeeper website. This grant would give the redesigned trail map its own website that is both easily accessible, easily navigated, and easily updated. The trail’s website would include more detailed information on paddling trips/routes to take, area history, watercraft rental businesses, nearby restaurants, current conditions/safety concerns, sightseeing areas, restrooms, and more along the trail. This website could also better accommodate updates in trail access locations and conditions, as well as better host information and events from Milwaukee Urban Water Trail partners. This grant would make it easier to expand outreach relating to the Milwaukee Urban Water Trail, and provide a more organized, expansive and user-friendly website that will foster a better relationship with area rivers. We also plan to make it mobile friendly and may have an app or app plug-in.”

Current map link: https://www.milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/connect/milwaukee-urban-water-trail/

“This project will commemorate 15 years of the Milwaukee River Greenway Coalition by having all partners host a week of programs or activities for public education and community engagement, culminating in a stakeholder information session and celebration event.”

Kimberly Gleffe, the Executive Director of the foundation tells Urban Milwaukee: “Indeed we have been awarded a Wisconsin Coastal Management Program grant to support programming throughout the Greenway all summer! The kick off is July 6th with a Commonwealth Clean Up in Lincoln Park.”

The group also encourages participants to complete a 15-mile hike in the Greenway, with prizes awarded by raffle. [Link to events site.] Fifteen weeks of events are planned, running from July to October.

The River Revitalization Foundation was established 25 years ago as a joint project of the Kiwanis and the Rotary Clubs of Milwaukee to implement proposals developed for the Milwaukee River Basin during the late 1980s by the administration of Gov. Tommy Thompson.

According to the group:

Over our 25-year history, we have protected 821 acres, including establishing the Milwaukee River Greenway, created 5 miles of riverfront trail connections, planted thousands of native trees and plants, restored over 45 acres of habitat, engaged hundreds of students and volunteers, as well as invested over $5 million in the river valley. By preserving open space in urban areas, we have relief, through access to these spaces, from the intensity and pace of a dense urban environment. The community benefits from healthy soil, clean air, clean water, enhancing our quality of life, right here in the city.

  • Project Name: River Loop Area Assessment and Planning Project

Applicant: Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee
Grant Amount: $20,000
Category: Land Use & Community Planning
“This project will evaluate trail conditions, determine regulatory requirements, and explore alternative designs for the River Loop area on the south bank of the Menomonee River.”

From the application:

The project consists of an assessment and planning effort to obtain a comprehensive understanding and record of existing conditions, regulatory requirements, design alternatives, and construction cost opinions, to address the flooding challenges and damage to the River Loop area, which includes the river’s edge and adjoining near shore area along the south bank of the Menomonee River between 13th Street and 25th Street in Milwaukee, WI.  The area includes a section of multi-purpose paved trail constructed approximately 20 years ago, which is part of the Hank Aaron State Trail system.  The 20-year old trail has deteriorated due to several reasons including the high water levels of the river, invasive plant growth within the asphalt, and erosion due to the failing dock wall.  The section of trail that is the subject of this grant application has been underwater on and off for much of the last year due to record high water levels. Water undermining the trail has also led to several trail failures over the years, which have progressively worsened.

  • Project Name: A Replicable Framework to Better Understand Underrepresented Communities to Guide Future Water
    Quality Outreach Initiatives
    Applicant: City of Milwaukee
    Grant Amount: $28,583
    Category: Great Lakes Education

“This project will develop a replicable framework that will lead to the development of strategic neighborhood outreach plans for three coastal neighborhoods.”

Further details were not immediately available, but mayoral spokesperson Jeff Fleming says he believes the program will be centered in the Environmental Concerns Office.

Information for application for 2022 grants from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program will be available in August.

2 thoughts on “City Groups Receive Coastal Grants”

  1. David Holmes says:

    One additional grant was awarded to a City of Milwaukee group. Friends of Lakeshore State Park received a $10,900 grant for the project named ?Water and Sewer Design Development – Proposed Lakeshore State Park Visitor and Education Center.”

  2. ArthurMorgan says:

    Environmental Collaboration Office?? I think the reference to City Environmental Concerns Office is a mistake

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