Friday, June 22, 2007

New Lakeshore State Park A Good Start

Most of the early reviews of the new Lakeshore State Park off the Summerfest grounds were pretty positive, and rightly so.

It's also good that Bill Christofferson reminded us that the park could have been more, but isn't because while it has nice points of access, it didn't solve Summerfest's arrogant blockade of the lakefront in defiance of the state's historic Public Trust Doctrine.

Fair criticism.

Then there was this grumpy gripe from Mike Nichols, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist, who wishes the park has more of that traditional, woodsy, sit-around-the-campfire feel to it.

So Sunday morning I decided to have a closer look for myself, walked the grounds, and found it to be superbly innovative.

The view of Milwaukee it offers is spectacular, and people are showing up to check it out.

There were bikers and hikers. Families pushing strollers. Twenty-somethings on roller blades. A couple of kids fishing. Kayaking being demonstrated. Kites being flown.

There were young people. Old people. People of every race, out enjoying a new view of the city from a perch in the lake.

A new experience in the city.

I don't know what it is about Milwaukee, but people who live or work here can be our most ambivilant ambassadors.

Provide something new and it gets trashed in the media because it's, well, different.

Which is often the definition of new.

This is a park that will evolve. The prairie grasses will take root and spread. The missing amenities, like benches and trashcans - - there were a few there today - - will arrive.

People will use it for a contemplative walk during the festival season, or for a luncheon stroll from The Third Ward, and as an evening platform from which to see the lake, the downtown and east side high-rise lights on the bluff.

I'm glad it's there.

Too bad that some people went out of their way to nit-pick it.

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