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Master plan to be created to guide Milwaukee River’s future

By Sean Ryan

Planners must undo the damage of plant and human invaders that have already overrun land around the Milwaukee River before realizing the dream of having people coexist with nature.

The banks of the river north of downtown Milwaukee are one of the largest undeveloped areas in the city. The Milwaukee River Work Group, a team of environmental nonprofits and area residents, wants to keep it that way while also inviting hikers and bikers to explore the land.

The river group on Tuesday hired Plunkett Raysich Architects LLP, Milwaukee, to make a master plan for the segment of the river north of North Avenue and heading into Shorewood and Glendale.

“It’s a balancing act of really creating a high-quality habitat,” said Christine Scott Thomson, Plunkett land planner, “but also a high-quality recreational experience, and doing that within a natural area.”

The river group plans to rip out invasive plants and replace a haphazard system of trails that wanderers forged over the years with new paths that do not disturb the wildlife living around the river.

The planning will kick off in January with meetings where the architect and river group will get the opinions of landowners and people who live in the neighborhoods around the river, Thomson said. The group is still trying to figure out how to work the finished master plan into the planning and zoning codes of Milwaukee, Shorewood and Glendale.

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