This summer brings the opening of a new park, one where families can explore and learn about Wisconsin’s ecology.
Three Bridges Park, just south of Miller Park and the Mitchell Domes, follows along the Menomonee River. Originally a flat Milwaukee Road rail yard, it is filled now with biking trails and has an urban ecology center for visitors to learn about the natural landscape of Wisconsin.
“Interestingly enough, there is nobody who lives in the Menomonie Valley,” says Laura Bray, Executive Director of Menomonee Valley Partners. “There are six neighborhoods that surround it. So by creating this park, you are opening it up to literally thousands of people who live nearby.”
Bray and Ken Leinbach, two members of the committee who created and established this park, represent just two of the partners in this project. The partners include an environmental nonprofit organization, an economic development nonprofit organization, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the City of Milwaukee.
“The Menomonee River has really improved,” says Leinbach. “The fly fishing in the Menomonie River right near Miller Park and the Domes are really exceptional. People are coming up from Chicago just to go fishing in Milwaukee in the Menomonee River. Who would have thought?”
Together, the partners raised $26 million in order for this transformation to happen, including adding six miles to the Hank Aaron Trail, three bike trails, turning an old tavern into the new center, and creating mounds and hills out of the flat land.
Funds will also be provided for operating the urban ecology center for at least five years. The committee wants to get kids involved and excited about ecological science. By working with schools, they hope to create partnerships between children and scientists, creating potential networks for future ecologists.
July 20th is the grand opening of the park and there are plenty of festivities lined up to celebrate from 10 AM-2 PM. There will be processions into the park where people will walk in together. Bike trails will be open as well as the urban ecology center. The day will end with a concert by local musicians.