River Revitalization Foundation, Wisconsin
The River Revitalization Foundation’s goal is to recreate the urban landscape using the river as a focal point. Photo by Rudolf Balasko.
Three Wisconsin rivers—the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic—join in bustling downtown Milwaukee before flowing into Lake Michigan. These rivers define the region, and people flock to them. The River Revitalization Foundation, an urban rivers land trust, hopes to keep it that way.
“There’s not much undeveloped land available along the river corridor anymore, and we cherish those small pieces,” says Executive Director Kimberly Gleffe. When the Foundation needed a bridge loan to acquire key riverfront parcels for a new arboretum, it turned to The Conservation Fund. Our timely loan allowed the project to move forward on schedule, while the Foundation waited for promised state funding. As a result, the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum will include a 40-acre network of river bluffs, trails, and parkland. The arboretum will be an outdoor classroom, research laboratory and public sanctuary free for everyone to enjoy. Gleffe has just one word to describe this conservation outcome: “Fantastic!”
“There is no way that we could have done the project without The Conservation Fund. We could not have gotten a loan from a traditional bank in time to get this done. And the Fund’s interest rate was lower than other funding sources.” — Kimberly Gleefe, Executive Director, River Revitalization Foundation.