BE SURE TO SEE HIDDEN PHOTOS TO GET A FLAVOR OF KENOSHA HARBOR REVEVELOPMENT.
I was flabbergasted when I laid eyes of the new redeveloped industrial space on Kenosha Harbor. Who would be able to tell that this was once home to Simmons Mattress Company, then old American Motors, then Chrysler properties. These heavy industrial areas have now been turned into beautiful public spaces, residential housing, parks, museums, a marina, and a commercial area.
This combination-use of space is bringing in thousands of new visitors each year. Because access is available via car, bus, electric street car, bicycle, and walking, it is successful.
There is a beautiful promenade, a recreation trail, conveniently placed antique-like benches, ample lighting, courtyards, and public restrooms.
People who are drawn to the area are people who love boating, fishing, history, nature, and beautiful architecture. It supplies activities for children, teens, adults, and elders. The electric street car system is a real plus.
Activities such as the July 4th Fireworks on Lake Michigan really draws the crowds. The asphalt recreation trail for bikes and roller bladers links the park to a 250-boat slip marina. This is an area that covers over 70 acres.
The paths are in a three-tier system:
One for fishermen
One for pedestrians
One for bikers and bladers
I really liked the seating wall for fishing that also serves as a wave wall and a separator from pedestrians.
After seeing the Harbor Park, I wanted to know how this excellent redevelopment came about. After checking several websites, this is what I discovered>
The history of this area started from 1870 to 1960, this huge area operated as the Simmons Mattress Manufacturing Plant Then in 1960, American Motors Corporation (AMC) started to manufacture cares here until 1988. Some of the area was also used for a power plant, a coal yard, and a dock. Oh, yes, there was about 25 acres next to it that was used, of all things, "to dispose of contaminated sediment for 15 years!" Shortly thereafter, the manufacturing plant was demolished. An investigation and cleanup of the area was done, and then the property was sold to the city of Kenosha .
The city pumped off groundwater and added a layer of soil and pavement. Then the concept of Harbor Park started to become a reality.
The area is a mixture of residential and recreational opportunities. Both residents and visitors seem to really like and use it. It gives both about a quarter of a mile of a lakefront promenade which include courtyards, fountains, public seating areas, an electric street car system, commercial properties, a farmers market, Museums, access to Lake Michigan, and, more importantly, it got rid of an "eyesore" and an environmental problem.
then wondered how in the world were they able to finance such a massive project???
There was funding from the city; 2-3 million dollars in state and federal funds; and the city received three "Certificates of Completion [COC] from the DNR, and three more COC's are pending. That's quite an achievement.
As I was walking around admiring this area, I noticed lots of wonderful details such as:
1. A three-tier system for baths. Photo is for fishermen. The other two are for pedestrians and bikes/blades.
2. A unique playground for children. I noticed it used an ancient ruins theme.
3. Lighting is always important, and it was quite evident that the planners provided more than enough lighting for safety and for ambience.
4. Great Water Features
5. Culture...a use of sculpture.
The city is also famous for its English Fair that is held in late June – late August.
It’s a 16th century fair with costumed lords and ladies, jousting, food and fun:
Bristol Renaissance Fair
12550 120th Ave., Kenosha, 53142.