Klet­zsch Park re­make

Ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings show big changes pro­posed near dam.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Front Page - Lee Bergquist

More than 150 peo­ple at­tended an open house last week to learn about plans for the re­con­struc­tion of the Klet­zsch Park dam and wa­ter­fall — and get a first glimpse at how the ren­o­va­tion will af­fect one of the most pop­u­lar van­tage points on the Mil­wau­kee River.

The plans by con­sul­tants hired by Mil­wau­kee County in­clude:

A 350-foot-long rock-filled fish pas­sage that will let na­tive fish move through a series of pools and around the De­pres­sion-era dam to larger stretches of the river sys­tem.

An over­look in front of the wa­ter­fall. A fish­ing plat­form along the shore­line. Spots above and below the dam that will let peo­ple us­ing kayaks and ca­noes portage around the struc­ture.

The re­moval of 14 to 19 ma­ture trees to ac­com­mo­date view­ing ar­eas and other ameni­ties. In their place, plans call for the plant­ing of trees, shrubs and na­tive grasses.

The $1.3 mil­lion project has been in the plan­ning stages for sev­eral years. The Wis­con­sin Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has or­dered Mil­wau­kee County to make re­pairs to the dam. Also, county of­fi­cials have wanted to im­prove ac­ces­si­bil­ity in a heav­ily traf­ficked area.

Bart Chap­man, an en­gi­neer with the con­sult­ing firm In­ter-Fluve, told those at­tend­ing the meet­ing at Glen Hills Mid­dle School in Glen­dale that his firm an­a­lyzed an ar­ray of al­ter­na­tives be­fore set­tling on a de­sign that met fed­eral, state and lo­cal re­quire­ments.

One lim­i­ta­tion was to as­sure that wa­ter flowed through the fish pas­sage at an ac­cept­able rate so north­ern pike, a rel­a­tively slow swim­mer, could move up­stream. An­other re­stric­tion was to as­sure that the “stepped pool,” which grad­u­ally al­lows fish to swim from down­stream to a higher el­e­va­tion up­stream, would not ex­ac­er­bate flood­ing.

Some of those at­tend­ing raised con­cerns. They in­cluded:

Wor­ries that the project would change the es­sen­tial char­ac­ter of a scenic area that has drawn vis­i­tors for gen­er­a­tions.

The loss of some park­ing along the Mil­wau­kee River Park­way.

A lengthy portage of more than 900 feet for ca­noeists and kayak­ers.

County of­fi­cials said the ren­o­va­tions will pro­vide bet­ter view­ing for the pub­lic and eas­ier and safer ac­cess to the river, and that plan­ning op­tions were con­strained by the nar­row area of park­land.

Mil­wau­kee County Board Chairman Theo Lip­scomb Sr., whose district in­cludes the park, said he is a sup­porter of the project, although he be­lieves it might be tweaked.

“It’s a change,” Lip­scomb said. “Peo­ple have known it this way for decades their en­tire lives, so it’s nat­u­ral, I think (to raise con­cerns). I am hope­ful that peo­ple will come to see it as an im­prove­ment.”

The work is ex­pected to be com­pleted this year.


The Klet­zsch Park dam in Glen­dale as it now looks. Mil­wau­kee County is plan­ning on mak­ing $1.3 mil­lion in ren­o­va­tions, in­clud­ing a fish pas­sage.


Ren­o­va­tions to the dam and wa­ter­fall and sur­round­ing prop­erty in Klet­zsch Park in Glen­dale are planned for 2019.


A site plan il­lus­tra­tion for planned changes to Klet­zsch Park near the Mil­wau­kee River dam in Glen­dale.

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