By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 18, 2022 at 10:29 AM

The City Plan Commission has unanimously approved plans for a new stretch of riverwalk in the Harbor District, alongside Boone & Crockett and The Cooperage, 818 S. Water St.

According to documents filed with the City of Milwaukee, the plan calls for a kayak rental facility, an outdoor bar and beer garden, landscaping, benches and seating walls, and restrooms.

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The space is expected to be part of a larger Harbor District Riverwalk, approved by the Common Council in 2018, that will be built over time.

“The project includes the creation of a new Riverwalk section within the Harbor District along the property owned and operated by Boone & Crockett and the Cooperage,” notes a Plan Commission report. “The applicant has elected to proactively install this Riverwalk segment and pedestrian connector. The bar, restaurant and event spaces are housed in existing buildings along the river and adjacent to a large surface parking lot.

“Over the last two years, the business operators have converted a portion of the parking lot along the waterfront to temporary customer area. Uses include a shipping container bar, two in-residence food trucks, a kayak rental company, and customer seating areas. Boone & Crockett proposes making the temporary outdoor space permanent, serving as a pedestrian amenity to the new Riverwalk.”

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"Harbor District is thrilled by the passage of Boone & Crockett’s Riverwalk plan on Monday at the planning commission, this section of riverwalk in the Harbor District will serve as important public access point and kicks off what we hope will lots of activity along the Harbor District’s Riverwalk," says Tia Torhorst, CEO of Milwaukee Harbor District.

"The owners' willingness to redevelop this space with out redeveloping their entire property, which is typically when riverwalk improvements happen, is such a gift to our community."

According to John Revord, who co-owns Boone & Crockett and The Cooperage with his wife, Emily, the project is a joint public/private venture.

“Similar to how the other riverwalks were built,” he says. “The actual riverwalks and all public spaces will be funded as a joint venture with split private/public funding. Anything that is considered part of the business will be privately funded by us – like the patio bar.

The building is co-owned by the Revords and Mitchell Ciohon, of Taco Moto, and Derek Collins of The Pedal Tavern.

Brew City Kayak will operate the kayak facility.

“As far as we are concerned, the space in its entirety will be considered public space and will operate similar to other shared public spaces, including use of new outdoor bathrooms.”

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In order to meet requirements for stormwater management and aquatic habitats, the plan includes vegetation for stormwater runoff control and only limited impervious surfaces, as well as fish habitat hotels.

The plans for the development were drawn by Milwaukee’s The Kubala Washatko Architects and you can see a number of TKWA renderings of the space – from a variety of viewpoints – in this post.

There is not yet a solid timeline for the completion of the project, says Revord.

“We want to break grind ASAP,” he adds. “We will move as fast as the city and contractors are able to go. We would love to be open next summer.”

Revord hopes the project will be a catalytic one for the Harbor District Riverwalk. Future segments require other private land owners partnering.

Nearby, Komatsu and Michels have riverwalk sections planned or underway in the Harbor District, and Harbor View Plaza at the foot of Greenfield Avenue also has a completed segment.

“We hope to be an example to our neighbors on all sides and hope that they jump on this amazing project sooner than later,” says Revord, who is, “Oh so stoked.

“We have one of the best views of THE Milwaukee landmark (the Hoan Bridge). It's been on our radar to open this up to the public in a big way. We are happy we are able to go public with it.”

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.