Milwaukee County Parks Seeking Historic Designs For Replacement of Iconic Pedestrian Bridge Over Ravine Road in Lake Park

Milwaukee County Parks has issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a firm to design an historically appropriate bridge to replace the crumbling 1905-’06 concrete pedestrian bridge over Ravine Road in Lake Park.

LakeParkBridgeHorse1-e1444930990468According to a story in BizTimes, “the RFP is asking a consultant to prepare three alternative bridge replacement schematic designs and cost estimates for each. A work group, which will include members of Lake Park Friends, the historic preservation community and Milwaukee County staff, will be established to review each design.”

Representatives of Historic Water Tower Neighborhood and Lake Park Friends recently met with County Parks Director John Dargle, his staff and Ald. Nik Kovac about future of the iconic bridge. Lake Park Friends and HWTN representatives will serve on the work group reviewing three designs for the bridge replacement.

According to the county’s RFP, the selected firm will develop three alternate designs:

“One alternative will replace the bridge in-kind to replicate the original design and appearance of the bridge. The other two alternatives will be new bridge designs that are substantial replications compatible with the historic nature of the Fredrick Law Olmsted designed Lake Park. The consultant shall work closely with the work group in developing these two alternatives.”

The consultant will also be required to hold two public meetings on the designs and work with the City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission and State Historical Society to coordinate reviews and obtain required permits.

HWTN unanimously passed a resolution in October to oppose removal of the 1905-’06 historic concrete bridge with anything but an appropriately historic replacement. In the board’s resolution, it noted that one of the park’s signature pedestrian bridges 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.”
  • “An integral part of Lake Park, designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York City’s famed Central Park.”

Consultant proposals to do the design work are due Feb. 5. The selected consultant is expected to begin work on April 1, with a design slated to be chosen by June 30.

Lake Park, Downer Avenue the focus of next HWTN meeting

Lake Park Friends President Alice Wilson will share Lake Park’s origins and history, its status as a national historic landmark and the group’s 2015 initiatives at our next Historic Water Tower Neighborhood meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday March 4, 2015.

new-waterfall-stairsAlice will also discuss the Lake Park Youth Auxiliary launched last year and how young people are engaged in the care of the Park. And she’ll share details about the status of bridges and repair plans and answer other questions we might have.

Alice and her husband, Joe, have lived on the East Side since moving to Milwaukee in 1992. They live on the 2900 block of Summit Avenue with their three children. She graduated from Kenyon College with high honors in history. Most of her 30-year professional career has been advocating on behalf of nonprofit organizations, their missions, and the people they serve, as well as their funding sources. She has expertise in non-profit finance, accounting, endowments, and budget management.  

history4Alice’s volunteer community work includes serving on governing boards, creating strategic plans, and coordinating special events. Currently, she serves as president of the Board of Directors of Lake Park Friends, on the development committee of the Charles Allis and Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museums, as a Junior League Sustainer, and as a member of the Catholic East 2015 Gala Committee. Alice is also a HWTN member.

Also on our agenda is discussion of the foreclosure on Downer Avenue with Ald. Nik Kovac. Historic Water Tower Neighborhood and other East Side neighborhood organizations promoted a community meeting Feb. 4 at which city officials, including Ald Kovac, and the owner of foreclosed buildings on Downer Avenue, Joel Lee, discussed the state of this important commercial street in our area.

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Here is a link to our minutes from the meeting, and here is one to a Journal Sentinel article, “Foreclosures put Downer Ave. development in limbo,” about the event.

As always, our meetings take place in Lake Park’s Marcia Coles Community Room, beneath Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro. The meeting room’s entrance faces Lake Michigan. We begin at 7 p.m., but come a little early for cookies and coffee (courtesy of the Bistro).