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Nonprofit working to restore Milwaukee's Inner Harbor

A new organization is working to restore -- and eventually rebuild -- the Inner Harbor of Milwaukee's lakefront, and it is looking for input from residents.

Harbor District Milwaukee, led by Executive Director Lilith Fowler, launched earlier in 2015.  Its goal is to reimagine Milwaukee's Inner Harbor, which Fowler says has been neglected while the rest of the surrounding area has seen an extensive economic resurgence.

So, first, a bit of geography.  And vocabulary.

The Inner Harbor, also known as the Harbor District or Port of Milwaukee, is defined as the area between the Third Ward and Bay View, east of Walker's Point.  The 1,000 acre area includes about 44,000 linear feet of shoreline.

Today, the harbor is still active, albeit at a fraction of the scale it once operated during its turn-of-the-century heyday.  The Port of Milwaukee is primarily used to accommodate shipments too large to export via air or ground transportation.  For example, heavy mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar relies on the Port to connect with companies overseas.

The rest of the land, Fowler says, is underutilized or contaminated with decades of industrial waste.

That's why the organization is partnering with a local firm to conduct research about the area and develop a master plan for future use.  Fowler says residents should check the organization's website for opportunities to get involved in the visioning process.

Click the podcast player to hear our interview with Fowler and Planning Director Dan Adams.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee