GRAEF wins prestigious Spark Award from the American Planners Association For outstanding achievements and innovations in Planning

GRAEF's Beerline Trail Equitable Implementation Plan received an American Planning Association – Wisconsin Chapter 2020 Planning Excellence award. The project was the first ever SPARK Award for APA Wisconsin. The APA’s annual awards give recognition to outstanding achievements and innovations in planning and publicize persons and organizations whose activities advance planning in Wisconsin.

The Beerline Trail is a formerly underutilized railroad right-of-way that lays diagonally across the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Harambee and Riverwest. Since 2002, the City of Milwaukee and community partners have cleared railroad tracks and made the right-of-way accessible to the neighborhood as a connective corridor and green space, bridging the two unique neighborhoods. Now paved and equipped with public art pieces, seating space, and park programming, the Beerline Trail aims to be a catalyst for community and economic development.

The Beerline Trail Equitable Implementation Plan was created to ensure the next phases of trail development was community-focused, and that other development inspired by and centered around the trail space benefits adjacent residents and businesses equitably. To that end, this project has been closely informed by the community and Riverworks Business Improvement District as well as many partners,” said Darryl Johnson, Riverworks Development Corporation, the lead community agency located in the Harambee neighborhood.

The Beerline Trail Equitable Implementation Plan reflects extensive community input and serves as a roadmap for the priority goals and projects. The overall plan includes details on trail extensions and access improvements, design and build out of the linear park, trail programming and maintenance, a guide to equitable development and entrepreneurship, and success measures.

Beerline Trail Equitable Implementation Plan SPARK Award recipients:

  • Riverworks Development Corporation
  • City of Milwaukee
  • LISC Milwaukee
  • Greater Milwaukee Committee
  • MKE<->LAX
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Rails to Trails Conservancy
  • Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation
  • Guiding Lenses Group