Submitted by: Terry Forester
Redeveloped industrial space on the Kenosha Harbor now housing a park and open space, a public museum, residential housing, and a marina, with plans to build a commercial district.
The Harborpark area is a blend of park and open space development mingled with a new public museum, new residential housing and a planned commercial district. This marriage of park and open space, housing, museum, marina, harbor and electric street car makes for a very successful development visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
What Makes Harborpark a Great Place?
Access and linkage is excellent. Access is available by car, bus, electric street car, bicycle, roller blades, skateboards and by walking. The site links to the community by bike trail, streets, street car rails and by boat.
The areas offer convenient parking and access points onto the promenade and recreation trail. Antique-like benches provide seating opportunities throughout the area. Lighting is ample even on the darkest nights and the lights stand out from miles around in contrast to other nearby parks and downtown. Concrete is blended with brick to lessen the affect of pure concrete and diminish its importance. Courtyards provide havens for people to gather and listen to entertainers which assemble for special events. There are public restrooms and private restrooms (for boaters). The marina adds an element of nautical charm to the area.
Lake Michigan is a natural draw for many, including sightseers, boaters, fisherman and recreational users. People utilize the marinas for boating, fishing and summer living. Many people can be found all months of the year strolling along the promenades, roller blading, bicycling, skateboarding and hiking. It is the center for many special events. Weddings occur every weekend in the formal Wolfenbuttel flower gardens. It connects regional users of the area with regional transportation systems, including highways and railways. The bike trail segment is part of a larger system connecting the south and north sections of the city with a regional trail system linking Chicago to Milwaukee and beyond. Facilities exist for children and teens with the interactive water feature, the playground and recreation trail. Public art is being introduced into the park areas which provides points of interest to visitors. Street car stops allow riders to board and unboard throughout the area and Kenosha's downtown.
Social opportunities exist with the general location. Downtown is close by, condominiums are on the site, trails and walkways provide interaction as do their attached reststops.
History & Background
The site was redeveloped from old American Motors, then Chrysler properties turning heavy industrial areas into pleasing public space. The area is the biggest attraction in Kenosha and is the center of activity throughout most of the year, especially during special event programs such as the 4th of July Fireworks on the Lake. (Lake Michigan).
Once an active shipping port, Kenosha Harbor now supports two marinas. There is a quarter mile of new promenade with lighting, small courtyards, a public seating area and other amenities (benches, trash cans, bike racks, etc.), as well as an asphalt recreation trail for bikes and roller bladers that links the park to a 250 boat slip marina. An electric street car system passes through the area bringing people from the train station about a mile away to the outer reaches of the park area. Close by there is a clock tower and a drinking fountain presented to the city from Douai, France, our Sister City. Plans are underway for the construction of outdoor cafes and a farmers market.
The entire area, less building and building sites is approximately 70 acres.
Kenosha Department of City Development: 262-653-4030