Hub for reliable, timely news about COVID-19 pandemic

New project could transform Milwaukee’s lakefront landscape

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele unveiled plans for the Lakefront Gateway Project on Monday, March 11th.

The Lakefront Gateway Project is a partnership between the state, county and city that centers around the intersection of Michigan Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive.

As part of the project, Lincoln Memorial Drive would be extended to the Third Ward and Clybourn Street would be extended to Discovery World. Additionally, city leaders say the on-and-off ramps of 794 would be moved to clear room for development.

"We are adding a new energy to an attractive area in downtown where investment and job creation will be booming," said Mayor Barrett.

The state will adjust I-794's lakefront exit ramps.

"Moving the on and off ramps, right here right in the midst of where we envision a world-class, world-renowned type development falling smack dab in the middle of that," said Gov. Walker.

Milwaukee County is set to sell the transit center land to make way for a 44-story multi-use building.

"The transit center is not simply a valuable piece of real estate, it is the most valuable piece of real estate and the greatest opportunity until soon to be realized in the state," said Abele.

John Lunz is with Preserve Our Parks. The group argues the public trust doctrine from 1787 prevents the sale of filled, lakebed land to private entities.

"It's part of the Wisconsin constitution that says that land can only be used as an aid to navigation or for public recreation," said Lunz.

If the group's argument holds up, that would mean the centerpiece of the entire plan would have to be scrapped.

"That's something that the county's going to have to resolve," said Mayor Barrett. "It's my understanding that they are contemplating a maybe, a peremptory strike if you will, where they would go get a ruling from a court right now so that that could not delay things. But it's my hope that that issue will be resolved hopefully very soon."

In terms of costs, the infrastructure alone would cost the city and the county about $18 million. Leaders say the state would cover the cost of the ramp construction, which would cost approximately $16 million.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.