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Beerline Trail Article in Urban Milwaukee

Beerline Trail Receives Grant Supporting Public Art

Article from Urban Milwaukee

By Annie Mattea - Oct 7th, 2021 12:17 pm

Beerline Trail mural by Rozalia Singh. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

AARP Wisconsin awarded a “Small Dollar, Big Impact” to the backers of the Beerline Trail to better highlight the artists that have painted murals along its northern leg.

The $1,000 grant will partially cover the costs of installing plaques to highlight the artists. The project was selected from dozens of proposals for the organization’s September grant award. A grant is being awarded each month through 2021.

“This project fits perfectly with the spirit and intent of the Small Dollar, Big Impact grant program,” said Sam Wilson, AARP Wisconsin state director, in a press release. “Our goal is to support communities as they make positive changes that inspire long-term progress on livable issues. This proposal hits that nail right on the head.”

The Beerline Trail is 2.7 miles long and runs a curved, interrupted route from the Milwaukee River and N. Humboldt Ave. to W. Capitol Dr. near N. 3rd St. The trail currently has 10 murals and art installations, with three new murals just finalized in July.

The 0.6-mile northern leg runs uninterrupted from E. Keefe Ave. to the north side of W. Capitol Dr. It was completed in 2015.

“We are honored and thankful to be recognized for the work we do,” said Darryl Johnson, executive director of the Riverworks Development Corporation, the grant applicant. “We look forward to continuing our great partnership with AARP as we finish the project. Our work is all about the community working together to improve the quality of life for everyone.”

Johnson said the trail has represented unity, art and creativity for more than 10 years.

Riverworks is partnering with a resident driven trail group called Guiding Lenses, the Beerline Trail Leadership Team and the City of Milwaukee to use the grant for free-standing plaques in front of a number of the murals.

“These plaques will tell a story and talk about what the artwork means,” Johnson said.

Pieces on the northern leg include murals by Rozalia Singh, Fred Kaems and John Kowalczyk.

The trail is also a candidate to receive federal funding in order to expand it further north. The Milwaukee County Department of Transportation plans to seek $1.6 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement funds, which would require a $400,000 match from the county. The department previously said the City of Milwaukee has already committed to paying 50% of the local match if the grant is awarded.

A cafe and community center could be constructed where the trail intersects E. Keefe Avenue.

AARP Wisconsin launched its “Small Dollar, Big Impact” grant program in 2020. All projects are to be completed within 60 days from the winner announcement.

More information on the grant program can be found on AARP Wisconsin’s website.

Trail Photos and Plans

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