“When people walk, talk, work eat, drink, boat and play by the water – when it becomes a part of their day-to-day life and not merely a special occasion destination – a real constituency for clean water is created.” - former Milwaukee mayor John Norquist.
Pull out a map of Wisconsin, take a look at the major cities, and you’ll note that a river runs through almost every one. That should come as no surprise: most of these cities came to be precisely because the river was there. Those flowing waters powered the progress of our cities, transporting goods, flushing away our wastes and generating mechanical and hydroelectric power. But progress came at a price: many of our urban rivers became polluted and degraded eyesores from years of overuse and lack of care.
While we championed the cause of the blue ribbon trout stream and honored the wildness of our pristine northern waters, we turned our backs on our “dirty” urban rivers, in some cities even burying them underground and developing right over them. What Norquist so eloquently points out is that the time has come to give attention and care to our urban riverfronts. The River Alliance is making urban riverfronts a priority and is providing resources and expertise to riverfront communities around the state of Wisconsin.
Unfolding in cities across the state, and the country, are inspiring stories of the rebirth of urban riverfronts. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Sheboygan have invested millions of dollars into major redevelopment projects along both the lakeshore and their riverfronts. The City of LaCrosse has remade its historic Mississippi riverfront into a must-visit destination. Manitowoc is leading the way in balancing an active manufacturing sector with recreational opportunities on the Manitowoc River. But this isn’t just a story of buildings, boats and brownfields.
Woven into these accomplishments are even deeper and longer lasting successes: access to water and recreation for everyone, the creation of family-sustaining jobs, the undoing of past pollution legacies and the creation of strong, informed and democratic citizen participation in how the riverfront is revitalized.
These are wonderful stories and the River Alliance is excited to tell you about them.View items...