Tuesday, October 13, 2009

About Milwaukee

Milwaukee, the city with the Native American name meaning "Gathering Place by the Waters," is located at the confluence of three rivers (the Milwaukee, the Menomonee, and the Kinnickinnic) which drain into Lake Michigan. The rivers come together in downtown Milwaukee to form a freshwater estuary.

Five hundred miles of streams and more than one hundred lakes form the life blood of the drainage area called the Milwaukee River Basin, which encompasses nearly 900 square miles. The drainage basin -includes 6 watersheds, 7 counties, 31 townships, 12 cities and 23 villages. It is home to more than 1.5 million people.

The area varies geographically along the River from rural, to suburban, to urban. Socio-economic characteristics also vary and can be discerned by zip code. In this focus area over 200,000 people live within one mile of the river.

Historically, the Milwaukee River Valley was a focal point of commerce and recreation with swimming, boating and ice-skating as major uses. For the last half century, the city turned away from the river. The river became a symbol of division in the neighborhoods bordering the valley. The recent removal of the dam at North Avenue – also the site of a new City pedestrian bridge, combined with water quality improvement efforts throughout the river basin has resulted in improved water quality and changing attitudes. These lands are threatened with residential and commercial development as housing moves up the Milwaukee River from downtown. Balance between the built and natural environment will ensure stainability and economic vitality for the city.

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The mission of the River Revitalization Foundation is to establish a parkway for public access, walkways, recreation and education, bordering the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers; to use the rivers to revitalize surrounding neighborhoods; and to improve water quality.

The River Revitalization Foundation is a certified non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization

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