RACINE — A pedestrian bridge across Root River and a “marsupial” pedestrian bridge beneath Sixth Street are among the novel ideas currently sprouting from the Root River revitalization plan, RootWorks.

The Root River Council’s latest proposals, which will be aired today for public comment, involve the area roughly bordered by Mound Avenue on the northwest, Marquette Street on the east and Sixth Street on the south. The Council will present them starting at 5 p.m. today, with an open house until 7 p.m., at 524 Monument Square, suite 100.

RootWorks is a plan, adopted by the City Council, to revitalize Racine’s urban river corridor. The strategies are designed to create a “sense of place” in the area, stimulate economic growth, allow for public access and interaction, and improve water quality.

“We’re beginning to break down small, implementable projects that would be what I would call low-hanging fruit,” Council Outreach Coordinator Ben Lehner said, while advancing the goal of public access and interaction. The hope is to draw people into the area, thereby spawning future amenities and development.

The nonprofit Council elected to start with the Mound Avenue area because it has been brought up so often in public meetings, Lehner said. In that stretch the Root River Pathway, going toward Downtown, stops being a paved bicycle path and becomes merely a city street with no bike lane.

Proposed improvements for the area that will be presented today include:

• A marsupial bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists beneath the Sixth Street bridge where it heads toward the Downtown area from the west. “That’s very much in tune with the rest of the plan, to use existing assets — in this case the Sixth Street bridge,” Lehner said.

Also, it would enter Downtown at the same grade as the street, another advantage, he said. And the more connections to the area, the better for future businesses, he said.

• A pedestrian bridge from Mound Avenue to Water Street. The hope is to use an existing bridge once owned by Western Printing Co.

• Painting and designating the street along Mound Avenue as a “bike boulevard” that signals to drivers to slow down and watch for bicyclists. That would be a cheap way to improve safety for cyclists and one that works in other cities, Lehner said.

• A scenic overlook above the river across the street from Next Generation Now, 1220 Mound Ave. Not only is the river difficult to get to along that stretch, but “people don’t know it’s there,” said state Rep. Cory Mason, a Council board member.

An overlook would also help give the urban river corridor an identity as such, he said.

• An “outdoor classroom” directly across Mound Avenue from 21st Century Preparatory School, also at 1220 Mound Ave. It would take advantage of a natural amphitheater on the hillside, Mason said.

• Stormwater-control improvements where Water Street ends at the river on the west. Currently there is nothing to prevent contaminated runoff from pouring into the river there.

The plan’s latest proposals on view today also include a recreation-related business and coffee shop/cafe along Mound Avenue near the 21st Century Preparatory School.

(13) comments

kevinsmom68
kevinsmom68

This is a VERY dangerous area. people have died where they want bikepaths.

whoever is doing this is not only ill informed, they are also wasting money.
there is no reason to have a 'marsupial bridge'; there are already paths on existing bridges for pedestrians.

whoever thought this up should be ran out of town.

Green Racinereal

Crime is out of control that should be addressed now, before ANYTHING is done with this

speaking frankly

And after throwing money away on all this fluff, the railroad tracks over Mound Avenue will still continue to fall apart and maybe seriously hurt someone some day.

An out door classroom on Mound Avenue? Please.

We would all like Racine to be great place to live, but let' be reasonable.

Jon C Bolton
Jon C Bolton

I agree with the previous comments and would add that this is got to take the cake for the most ridiculous and stupid ideas I think I've ever heard of. Our mayor is out of touch with what we need in Racine. Just drive around and look at the vacant store fronts and multiple properties that have been for sale or rent for years. This kind of wasteful spending is just stupid and won't do anything to promote the area. It will be expensive and require maintenance money. Cut back on all spending, get rid of the city administrator, do your job Mayor. We need a city plan to revitalize existing properties and we need a property tax cut, not increases.

johmny

Complain, Complain, Complain!

Green Racinereal

Good to know you will be writing a check to pay for this. Have you also send a check to Racine Fair Share?

ggodmuls
ggodmuls

The hope is to draw people into the area, thereby spawning future amenities and development.

Hope.

Change.

LOST - Business is in business to make money. Profits. It is simply NOT profitable to run business in Racine because the taxes are too high and business can be done cheaper elsewhere. Business does not care about bike paths and marsupial bridges that span the Root River. Do you know what businesses want? I'll help you - easy access via roads - for their employees to get to work, get out of work, and easy access routes for trucks to move their products on. Low taxes.

While millions will be squandered on useless projects like those proposed in the article, streetlights are turned off, fire stations face closure, police and fire personnel face cuts - WHY? Cui Bono?

Racine is being led to bankruptcy. The future appointed City Emergency Manager will have a nice view - let's hope he turns those excess lights off Downtown - to save money for the City he shall manage.

Time for that Community Pool - right JT? Surely, there is money in the budget for that...

Jeff Warg
Jeff Warg

Well said. When Case Credit bolted downtown that should have been a wakeup call for how important highway access is. Lower taxes, better interstate access and lowering crime rates are must haves. Rootworks is a waste of money!!!

Paul Sloth

What is a marsupial bridge?

10togo

I think if you look up "marsupial bridge" in a dictionary, you'll find that it is defined as "a colossal waste of taxpayers' money". A "pet project" maybe? Second cousin to a roundabout? Actually, a marsupial bridge is a pathway that uses an area UNDER an existing bridge. In this case, the 6th Street bridge. Milwaukee has one, so I guess Racine needs one too.

Green Racinereal

What Crony of the Mayor will open a shop on Mound street? Then who would? Not only is the area unsafe but very little Bike/Foot traffic. .

Django
Django

Ditto. Who is going to pay for this and how? We're already adopting streetlights to keep them on. Where does the money come for this?

Green Racinereal

How does this get paid for? City taxes went up 12% this year. Racine is over 200 Million in debit. As nice as this may be we can not afford to do any of this at this time.

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