Milwaukee’s RiverWalk, more than three miles of pedestrian access to the shore of the Milwaukee River, has won a 2017-2018 Global Award of Excellence from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

The award is considered among the world’s highest honors from land use experts. The Riverwalk is one of thirteen development projects in North America, Europe and Asia to receive this recognition. It also marks the first time a Wisconsin project has been named a Global Award of Excellence winner.

ULI has previously honored three projects in Milwaukee with product Awards of Excellence, The Grand Avenue, Schlitz Park, and East Pointe.

“This award celebrates a great amenity in our City, and it also honors the people who have worked to make the RiverWalk such an asset,” Mayor Tom Barrett said. “The RiverWalk continues to expand because it adds to property values, to the attractiveness of real estate near the river, and, most importantly, it adds to our quality of life.”

“Milwaukee, situated on three rivers and Lake Michigan, had turned its back on the water. So, over the past quarter-century, an aggressive plan was undertaken to build the RiverWalk and literally create a new environment for our residents and visitors,” Gary Grunau, long-time Chair of the Milwaukee Riverwalk District said. “Under the present leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett we have enjoyed the same commitment of public support for the RiverWalk that was started under John Norquist.”

The Milwaukee RiverWalk draws a mix of high-end residential, commercial, and recreational venues to the shoreline creating a highly active, pedestrian environment along the river. This amenity is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with access points located throughout the entire system.

The concept for the Milwaukee RiverWalk system was launched in the late 1980’s with the goal of increasing public access and activity along the river. The RiverWalk extends along both sides of the Milwaukee River, from the site of the former North Avenue Dam, through Downtown and the Historic Third Ward to Lake Michigan.

The system is a public-private partnership between riverfront property owners and the City of Milwaukee. In exchange for permanent public access, the City provides financial assistance for the construction of the private RiverWalk improvements. Since its inception, property values along the RiverWalk have climbed by more than $1-billion.

City of Milwaukee – Department of City Development

Lee Matz