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The Beerline Trail Project

Project Overview

The Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development Project is a creative placemaking collaboration focused on the development and activation of the Beerline Trail. The collaboration works with partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors to strategically shape the physical and social character of the Beerline Trail and surrounding neighborhoods. The Beerline Trail Project works to animate this public trail in order to sustain and enrich the lives of people in Harambee and Riverwest. This project creates a recreational space that promotes health, increases well-being and prosperity through influencing local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together through the circulation of resources, voices, ideas, labor and creativity. The project utilizes the arts throughout to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.

Project Background

Established in 2002, the Beerline Trail runs north to south along the western side of the Milwaukee River. The trail is named 'Beerline' because of its location near where many of the old Milwaukee breweries were located. The trail connects the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods, providing access to recreational and green space.

This project builds from the history of the Beerline Trail, and Creational Trails: The artery initiated in 2012. The collaborative, in its’ current form, was launched as the Beerline Trail Project in 2014. Through the leadership of the Project Leadership Team, the Guiding Lenses Group, community residents, and artists there has been tremendous progress in developing the Trail itself. The trail has developed as a “spine” to advance efforts to strengthen connections among the Harambee, Riverwest and nearby neighborhoods, spur equitable development, and reinforce the centrality of artists, makers, and creative entrepreneurs to the past and future identity of the area. In 2016, the Project Leadership Team engaged Hood Design Studio, through a community led process, to serve as the lead designer for the Beerline Trail linear park.

This progress has been informed by significant community planning and engagement and benefited from sustained and intentional neighborhood leadership from residents, business owners, workers and other neighbors, as well as other civic leaders in Milwaukee and nationally. This engagement has resulted in a series of high level, agreed upon project goals, outcomes and “guiding lenses” to shape the project.

Guiding Lenses Values

Civic Art, Creative Entrepreneurship, Health and Well-Being, Linear Park and Green Space, Neighborhood Safety, Neighbor Engagement, Respecting Identity, Value Properties and Youth Leadership.

Additional Information

Beerline Trail Neighborhood Development - A Creative Placemaking Project

Riverworks Strategic Action Plan (2012)

Beerline Trail Project Leadership MOU (2017)

Beerline Trail Concept Design Draft – Hood Design Studio (2017)