Just announced: Lakefront Gateway Plaza to be designed by Milwaukee-based team

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's Lakefront Gateway Plaza will be designed by a team with several local companies led by Graef. That selection was announced on Tuesday morning, October 27th.

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

"Today marks yet another chapter and not just improving what happens when you see downtown, but creating an iconic, iconic skyline and experience we can all be proud of," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

The Graef team highlighted several important themes in its presentations including flowing water, complementing the neighboring uses and activities, and attracting people to the plaza. The plaza site is between Michigan Street and Clybourn Street, east of Lincoln Memorial Drive. The land currently is a lawn bisected by Harbor Drive that folks attending Maier Festival Park merely walk past.

The Graef team is based in Milwaukee and includes PFS Studio of Vancouver, British Columbia, Rinka│Chung of Milwaukee, Dan Euser WaterArchitecture of Richmond Hill, Ontario, and locally-based NEWaukee.

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

"We have chosen a local firm not because they're local, but because they're the best," said Michael Murphy, Milwaukee Common Council president.

"And it really starts with a reclaimed water feature that would be within the proposed Couture," said Patrick Kressin of Graef. "That leads people across this elevated walkway down to a waterfall to a larger water feature."

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

While the Graef team submitted conceptual images of what the Lakefront Gateway Plaza could look like, the design of the plaza is certain to change significantly as the process continues. There will be additional opportunities for public comment and input.

"We must take steps to ensure that everyone in the city and our neighborhoods surrounding downtown feel a sense of ownership, accessibility, and pride in what is being developed," said Greg Wesley with the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

The theme of Tuesday's announcement seemed to be connectivity.

"To make sure that we are connecting our lakefront with all of the great work that's going on, not only in downtown but in the Third Ward, Fifth Ward, Walker's Point. All of that is adding to the quality of life here in the city of Milwaukee," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

Lakefront Gateway Plaza (Graef)

A lot of groups have worked together to get to this point -- and it will take many more to make it a reality.

"It's a great day. We have a lot of work to do. We're going to have to raise some funds. We know that," said Barrett.

A specific schedule for planning and constructing the Lakefront Gateway Plaza has yet to be determined. But the hope is to move forward as promptly as possible.