HWTN opposes demolition of Historic Lake Park concrete arch footbridge over Ravine Road or replacement with modern steel bridge

Milwaukee County has recently determined that the historic, iconic and beautiful (1905-’06) Lake Park Concrete Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road is in poor shape, and Parks Department officials are considering a range of alternatives:

  • Repairing the current bridge
  • Replacing the bridge with one with the same historic design and features
  • Replacing the bridge with a modern, steel-girder bridge
  • Demolishing the bridge without replacement

LakeParkBridgeHorseHistoric Water Tower Neighborhood is opposed to replacing the historic Lake Park Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road in Lake Park with a prefabricated steel truss bridge or any other architectural style different from the current bridge. HWTN also opposes simply demolishing the bridge.

Here is the resolution passed by the HWTN Executive Committee in October:

 

Whereas, The historic Lake Park Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road is considered an iconic and beautiful feature of Lake Park, one of Milwaukee County’s most popular parks;

Whereas, The bridge is of significant historic importance, having been designed by the prominent Milwaukee architecture firm of Ferry & Clas, which also designed Milwaukee’s Central Library, the Pabst Mansion and the Lake Park Pavilion;

Whereas, The bridge is an integral part of Lake Park, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York City’s famed Central Park;

Whereas, The Lake Park Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road provides needed circulation through the park, connecting the north and south portions of Lake Park near the bluff and crosses Ravine Road, enabling north-south passage through the park without returning to Lake Drive;

Whereas, The bridge is used extensively by walkers, bikers, joggers, birders and others from around Milwaukee County;

Whereas, The City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Guidelines for the North Point North neighborhood state that, for Lake Park, “every attempt should be made to maintain the historic vehicular and pedestrian circulation system in the park including drives, paths, stairways and bridges. New parking areas, roadways, paths or bridges should be designed so as to be compatible with the historic character of the park”;

Therefore, Be It Resolved, That the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood opposes replacing the historic Lake Park Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road in Lake Park with a prefabricated steel truss bridge or any other architectural style different from the current bridge. We also oppose simply demolishing the bridge. HWTN encourages the county to consider and act promptly on the other two alternatives outlined in the July 2015 inspection report on the bridge — either repairing the current bridge or replacing it with a new reinforced concrete arch bridge that matches the dimensions and aesthetic and architectural features of the current bridge.

Learn more about the issue by reading the county’s engineering study of the bridge, which discusses the bridge’s current condition and outlines several options and costs for each; and by reading this history of the bridge.

The styles of modern bridges being considered to replace the Historic Lake Park Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road

The styles of modern bridges being considered to replace the Historic Lake Park Arch Footbridge over Ravine Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milwaukee County Parks is holding a public meeting on the issue this Thursday, October 15 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in O’Donnell Park’s Miller Brewing Room at 910 E. Michigan Street. There will be free parking. Public input is welcome, so consider going and telling county officials your thoughts on this matter.

These are the county officials who will be making the decision on the bridge, and their contact information, for those interested in voicing their opinions on the issue via phone or email:

The BizTimes recently published this interesting article on the issue, and OnMilwaukee.com ran a good story, too.

 

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Walking Tour Brochure of 20 North Point Historic Buildings Available

A wonderful brochure is now available to lead you on a self-guided tour of 20 of HWTN’s most significant historic buildings. Print out and use the brochure as you explore the neighborhood’s fascinating historical treasures by foot, bike or car. You’ll learn fascinating facts about these buildings that will help you enjoy and appreciate our area even more.

Take boat tour through Milwaukee history Saturday Aug. 25

Enjoy the beautiful scenery and hanging with neighbors — and learn a little about Milwaukee history — by joining Historic Water Tower Neighborhood on a unique boat tour along the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers in the Downtown area starting at 4 p.m. on Saturday Aug. 25.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 90-minute ride on a Milwaukee Boat Line tour boat, with narration by an Historic Milwaukee Inc. guide, starts at 4 p.m. and ends at the Riverwalk restaurant Rustico Pizzeria, which will provide a free appetizers and a cash bar until 7 p.m. The boat leaves from the Milwaukee Boat Line dock at 101 W. Michigan St.

The cost is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children under 12 and free for kids 3 and under (yes, bring your kids!). To reserve your seat, email us or call (414) 350-3531 by Aug. 21.

You can print this flyer and share with friends! See you on the river for this fun end-of-summer event!