Menomonee Valley - From the Ground Up was a comprehensive effort of Menomonee Valley Partners and the Urban Ecology Center, in partnership with the City of Milwaukee and State of Wisconsin, to build walk-to-work connections and access to jobs, improve science education, restore environmental and public health, and enhance neighborhood vitality in the Menomonee Valley.

We had a vision to bring two non-profits, the City of Milwaukee, and the State of Wisconsin together to transform a 24-acre brownfield into an active urban park, state trail, and outdoor science classroom. To turn a vacant bar into a community center and to reconnect communities separated for more than a generation. To rally our entire community around a forgotten, neglected area and fill it with children, families, bikers, and anglers to experience nature in the heart of Milwaukee.

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Through this five year effort, we succeeded in:

  • Extending the Hank Aaron State Trail by six miles and building three new bike/pedestrian bridges to connect neighbors to jobs and recreation in the Menomonee Valley;

  • Transforming a vacant rail yard into Three Bridges Park, a thriving 24-acre park with revived wildlife habitats along the restored riverbanks of the Menomonee River, which also hosts outdoor recreation programs and serves as an outdoor science classroom; and

  • Opening the Urban Ecology Center - Menomonee Valley branch with community and school-based environmental education programs that activate the park and engage the community.

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Each year, the Menomonee River Valley gains hundreds of new residents. Tadpoles move into the wetland ponds and leopard frogs make a return to the river bank. Muskrats make cozy homes in the limestone boulders along the riverbank, killdeer nest in the fields, great blue herons spend days along the banks, and countless salmon and trout run upstream. These new inhabitants signal the health and vitality of the Valley environment and are proof that years of effort to restore the ecosystem are succeeding.

thank you to our donors

Thanks to the incredible support from 360 foundations, corporations, organizations, and individuals, we were able to fulfill the $25 million Menomonee Valley - From the Ground Up campaign in December 2014.

A permanent donor wall in the Urban Ecology Center and a donor sculpture in Three Bridges Park recognizes those who contributed more than $1,000 to this effort.  The sculptural arch has donors’ names inscribed on the interior, a symbol of what our community can accomplish when we come together.

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We are grateful to ALL the donors that made this park possible. Three Bridges Park will continue to connect people to jobs, nature, and each other for generations to come. The results of the community’s generosity can be seen every day in the Urban Ecology Center Valley branch, Three Bridges Park, and along the Hank Aaron State Trail.


The Burke Foundation
US Dept. of Transportation
WI Dept. Natural Resources - Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund

$250,000 - $999,999

Isabel & Alfred Bader Fund, A Bader Philanthropy
City of Milwaukee
Foley & Lardner LLP
Forest County Potawatomi Foundation
Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Enroth Family Fund
Herzfeld Foundation
Marianne and Sheldon B. Lubar
M&I Foundation
Rexnord Corporation
US Forest Service
Joseph and Vera Zilber Family Foundation, Inc.

$100,000 - $249,999

BMO Harris Bank
The Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation
The Ceres Foundation
Charter Manufacturing Company Foundation
In Memory of Jack C. Flack, Sr. - Allied Insulation Supply Co.
Fund for Lake Michigan
Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Walter & Olive Stiemke Fund
The Harley-Davidson Foundation
Joy Global Inc.
Menomonee Valley Business Improvement District
Palermo Villa, Inc.
Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Charitable Trust

Bud and Sue Selig
We Energies Foundation

$50,000 - $99,999

Brewers Community Foundation
Ralph Evinrude Foundation, Inc.
Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail
Great Lakes Basin Partnership
Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.
Bert L. & Patricia S. Steigleder Charitable Trust
The Windhover Foundation

$25,000 - $49,999

Brico Fund
Debra & Robert Cervenka
Evan & Marion Helfaer Foundation
Barry Mandel
Milwaukee County Parks
National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Reiman Foundation
Wells Fargo Bank
Wisconsin Coastal Management Program

$5,000 - $24,999

Anon Charitable Trust
Brass Light Gallery, Inc
J.M. Brennan, Inc.
Caleffi North America, Inc.
Monique Charlier & Holly Blomquist
Clear Channel
Craig & Michelle Counsell
CSA Commercial
Curt & Sue Culver
Dave & Pam Doerr
Art & Rhonda Downey


Tom & Sue Ela
Kurt & Laura Goranson
Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Anonymous M Fund
Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Honkamp Family Foundation
Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Catherine & Walter Lindsay Foundation Fund
Greater Milwaukee Foundation - Mary L. Nohl Fund
Mick & Lisa Hatch
House of Stone
Insulation Technologies, Inc. (INTEC)
J.F. Ahern Co.
Susie & Fred Kasten
In memory of Joe Kennedy - Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail
Barbara & Dennis Klein
Herb Kohl Charities
Kotze Construction Co., Inc.
Marcus Corporation Foundation
Masterson Company
Materion Advanced Chemicals
Daniel F. “Jack” & Patti McKeithan
MGIC Investment Corporation
The Milne Family Foundation
Jeffrey & Rosalie Morgan
In Memory of Lorrie Otto - John Shannon & Jan Serr
PNC Foundation
The Private Bank
In honor of Brian Reilly - Lilith & Lincoln Fowler and Colleen Reilly
Rockwell Automation
The Sigma Group
Charles Trainer & Anne Booth
David V. Uihlein Foundation
U.S. Bank Foundation
Zimmerman Architectural Studios