Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Boone & Crockett Owners Building Public Riverwalk

Owners will create first riverwalk segment along Milwaukee's inner harbor.

By - May 18th, 2022 03:13 pm
Proposed riverwalk for The Cooperage and Boone & Crockett. Rendering by The Kubala Washatko Architects.

Proposed riverwalk for The Cooperage and Boone & Crockett. Rendering by The Kubala Washatko Architects.

The City of Milwaukee’s plan to build a riverwalk along the city’s inner harbor is poised to take a major step forward this year.

The owners of Boone & Crockett tavern and The Cooperage event venue, 818 S. Water St., are planning to convert their temporary setup, built atop a surface parking lot, into a permanent, public riverwalk. The project is expected to be complete in spring 2023.

“What this attempts to do, really cohesively, is hold together different worlds that exist here,” said architect Chris Socha of The Kubala Washatko Architects to members of the City Plan Commission on Monday.

In addition to Boone & Crockett and The Cooperage, Brew City Kayak operates from a shipping container in the parking lot, the Milwaukee Pedal Tavern has a small building facing S. Water St. and the Taco Moto food truck operates near the temporary outdoor bar along the water.

“It’s served as a lifeline during the worst of the pandemic,” said Socha of the outdoor space. He said up to 17 parking spaces were removed to create the temporary setup.

The proposal would add a wooden boardwalk along the water with a pathway from S. Water St. Benches would be interspersed along the walkway and a steel railing, with a drink rail, would line the edge. A beer garden, with a permanent bar and picnic tables, would be set back from the walkway. Coin-operated viewfinders could be added to the boardwalk, “because it would just be a lot of fun,” Socha said.

He explained that the wood and steel material palette was chosen for its durability, and as a nod to the 137-year-old building’s early use as a cooperage (barrel-making factory). The use of wood instead of concrete also solves a problem.

The walkway from S. Water St., a key link until adjoining riverwalk segments are built, would be built atop underground infrastructure owned by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The wood boards are designed to be removed to easily service the sewer outflow. A mural could be painted on the adjacent storage building.

An existing structure projects over the water and would be repurposed. The space underneath it would be used as a purpose-built “fish hotel,” one of the natural habitat options suggested by the area’s riverwalk design standards.

“We are thrilled about this project and the process has been wonderful,” said Harbor District Inc. planning director Melony Pederson. “This project is very critical as a link in the Harbor District for the fish habitat.”

The city approved design standards for a Harbor District riverwalk in 2020, with the expectation it would be built in segments as properties are redeveloped. Compared to the downtown riverwalk, the new riverwalk will allow businesses to continue to use the waterway for industrial operations, but also encourage more natural amenities.

“Normally, you would see new sections of riverwalk when there is new development. Here the owners have actually decided to proactively go and put in the riverwalk,” said Department of City Development planning manager Sam Leichtling.

Boone & Crockett and The Cooperage are led by husband-and-wife team John Revord and Emily Dell Revord.

“This is really fantastic design,” said commission chair Stephanie Bloomingdale. The commission unanimously approved the design.

Komatsu Mining‘s South Harbor Campus, to be completed this year, will be joined by a 4,300-foot-long riverwalk segment in 2023. Located south of E. Greenfield Ave., that segment will not directly connect to the Cooperage segment. The city will own the riverwalk segment.


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