At the Third Ward's Architectural Review Board meeting on Wednesday, John Everitt, a UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning alumnus, gave a presentation on a potential conversion of the inoperative railroad swing bridge in the Milwaukee River.
Everitt – who has been working at Bray Architects since graduating from UWM last year – suggests returning the 800-ton bridge's ability to swing ("a little grease" is what he's been told it would require) and transforming it into the Milwaukee River Line, "a park, venue, attraction and new landmark for the city."
His plan – inspired by adaptive reuses like New York's High Line and Minneapolis' Mill City Museum – also calls for making the Union Pacific railroad-owned bridge usable in winter by adding a "thermal envelope" (openable panels) and heat.
The River Line proposal also includes a Harbor Park on the south bank of the river, directly across from the swing bridge and Trestle Park on the north bank.
The review board was wowed by the proposal, complementing the vision, the presentation and even the artistic qualities of Everitt's photographs.
Everitt will present his model and proposal – which was his thesis at UWM – at the summer Gallery Night in the Third Ward at Pierce Engineering, 181 N. Broadway.
At this point the proposal is just an idea, but it's an intriguing and ambitious one.
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.