By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 27, 2021 at 4:01 PM

Menomonee Valley Week, which runs all week long, includes a special kickoff event for a new “eco-space” created beneath the Marquette Interchange.

The new space, which includes a plaza, concrete seating and a variety of plantings, serves a dual purpose: connectivity and drainage.


First, a snaking path connects St. Paul Avenue with Tory Hill Street.

There are also drainage channels and a bioswale to help manage stormwater runoff. (Another bioswale was installed on freeway land a few blocks east.)

It’s a beautiful and useful space created beneath the interlacing freeways above, putting to use previously dead land, much as the pickleball courts have done east of the river and what the proposed dog run will do along the west bank of the Milwaukee River, too.


The new space officially opens on Tuesday, Sept. 28 with Takeout & Tunes, which will bring together live music, food trucks, Spin scooter demonstrations, games like giant Jenga and yardzee, and more.

The event takes place from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will start with an official kickoff with officials from State of Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and the business community.


Denson's and Riley's Good Dogs will be on hand selling food and Andy Braun will folk-rock hits.

"Each event of this year's Valley Week highlights a success story: none of these events could have happened 20 years ago because these locations were all vacant or underutilized lots then," says Corey Zetts, executive director of Menomonee Valley Partners.

"Until this year, the space was just a vacant lot under the interstate."

There will also be tours of the new space, explaining how the landscaped site will help keep pollutants out of area waterways.

"Native plants capture stormwater from the Marquette Interchange above, cleaning it before it makes its way to the Menomonee River," says Zetts.

"This space is a great demonstration of green infrastructure that improves the health of our waterways, as well as intergovernmental cooperation, with WisDOT, Milwaukee County, MMSD and City of Milwaukee all collaborating on this project, which will hopefully be an example followed elsewhere in Milwaukee and beyond."

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 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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.