"The first phase of the project (now complete) was to renovate the east bank of the Milwaukee River along the downtown area near the Museum of Wisconsin Art,” said Chris Zwygart, West Bend Mutual Insurance Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. “The renovations allow for greater use of the river by the public for walking, fishing, and kayaking, and help to keep the river clean. This latest contribution has helped begin the planning and fundraising effort to renovate the west bank of the river.”
The support from West Bend Mutual Insurance Charitable Trust has jump-started work on the Riverwalk West project, which is now quickly moving ahead in the development process. Design concepts are in progress and close to completion. Construction of the Riverwalk East project took a little over one year from start to finish, concluding in July 2019. The west side will take more time and resources to complete due to the close proximity to adjacent structures and utilities.
“All of the existing utilities behind buildings will be relocated,” said City Administrator Jay Shambeau. “This crucial part of the project will begin in June 2020. It is projected to take six months to complete.”
Starting in late spring 2021, after fish spawn in the Milwaukee River, construction of the Riverwalk West is scheduled to begin. The first phase will take place between the Veterans Avenue Bridge north to the footbridge connecting Vest Pocket Park and MOWA. Construction to the north should take place in 2022.
“This is a complex project with extensive need for various funding sources,” explained Parks Project Manager Cindy Leinss. “I have submitted applications for the Multimodal Local Supplement Grant, Transportation Alternatives Program Grant, Sustain Our Great Lakes Grant, and plan to submit two more this spring through the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency.”
Outside of grants, the City of West Bend seeks funding resources through individuals, corporations, and foundations. It anticipates the cost of construction of this Riverwalk West project to be $5.3 million, compared to the east side at $2 million.
“We are grateful for West Bend Mutual Insurance Company’s support of the Riverwalk project,” said Shambeau. “West Bend Mutual Insurance has made a significant investment in local projects and initiatives. It is a visionary community partner and leader.”
Jessica Wildes, Marketing and Communications Director
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