The Ravine Road – which snakes through Lake Park from up where Newberry Boulevard meets the park down to Lincoln Memorial Drive – has been closed for years while Milwaukee County has figured out what to do about the endangered Ferry & Clas-designed bridge that spans it.
As part of discussions to replace or repair the bridge – a grant in late 2018 will help achieve the latter – there has also been talk of keeping the curvaceous and wooded Ravine Road closed to traffic.
Recently, a petition was launched at Change.org asking supporters of keeping the road open to sign.
The petition was part of a Lake Park Friends resolution in support of maintaining the road as a byway for all users, says new Lake Park Friends President Jan Uebelherr.
"Preservation is our mission," Uebelherr says, "but we also live in the modern day world, and we were mindful of that. So we adopted the resolution, which we feel includes acknowledgment of neighborhood concerns that traffic can at times be an issue.
"The park is a historic place and has undergone changes over the years but as someone said, you can only take so many bites out of the apple before you don’t have much left. We consulted three historic preservation experts."
Uebelherr says that there now appears to be some movement on the project, which spurred the Lake Park Friends board to action.
"The county has done some cost estimates," she says, "so the wheels are beginning to turn. We discussed it at length as a board and decided we needed to get take a stand, as we did with the bridge."
A request for comment from District 3 County Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman did not receive a response by post time.
The petition currently has 1,648 signatures.
"We’ve been stunned, frankly, at not just the numbers but the sentiment," she says, just five days into her tenure as Lake Park Friends president. "People signed and added their thoughts. So many people have memories of this road and want it preserved.
"On the Facebook post, last time I looked, it had reached something like 6,000-plus people. Of the comments there, the overwhelming majority were in favor of keeping the road a road. This is something people really care about. And most people want to keep it."
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.