Historic Water Tower Neighborhood Official Position on Preserving Lake Park’s Historic Ravine Road Footbridge – October 2015

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.

Public Information Meeting About Lake Park’s Ravine Road Bridge Tuesday May 17

Milwaukee County Parks, GRAEF, and UW-Milwaukee are hosting a public information meeting to present a current study for addressing the repair or replacement of the Ravine Road Bridge in Lake Park on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Bridge copyDoors will open for the meeting at 5:30 p.m., and the presentation takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Room 110, 2131 E. Hartford Ave.

The presentation will include description of the bridge’s history, condition, options, current activities and plans moving forward.  All are welcome to attend and comment.

HWTN representatives are on the county’s work group established to review and provide input into three alternative replacement designs and cost estimates. See this story on HWTN’s website about the county’s plans for reviewing design options and this article about HWTN’s position, the county engineering study on the bridge’s condition and a discussion of the bridge’s history.