Reimagine Red Arrow Park

Creating a Welcoming Heart of the City

Innovative Public-Private Partnership Fosters Civic Life

Reimagine Red Arrow Park is a multi-year, public-private partnership to foster programming and civic life in the heart of the community, 365 days a year. 

While the park is active in the winter with Slice of Ice, it remains an underutilized community asset for most of the year. In addition, historic events in the park have influenced the community's perception as an uninviting space. To help document the park's challenges and opportunities, local architecture firm TKWA conducted a placemaking analysis in 2021. 

In addition, the partnership brought short-term tactical improvements to the park, including adding public seating, art, and programming. The collaborative effort seeks to activate the ice rink as an all-season asset, enhance holiday decor, and recruit food trucks back to the park on weekdays. 

Art in the Park

Live Painting, Chalk Murals, and Banners Brighten the Park 

Launched in 2021, "Art in the Park" featured over a dozen local artists for live canvas painting and chalk murals in Red Arrow Park, adding an element of surprise and delight. In addition, new, colorful banners by local artist Emma Daisy Gertel replaced existing park banners. The design celebrates the park's potential to be a four-season public space and depicts activities that can take place year-round. During the winter, pop-up ice sculptures complement the ice rink experience. 

New Park Amenities and Programming

New Reasons to Socialize in the Park 

In 2021, the partnership brought downtown's first moveable bistro tables and chairs into the park, providing flexibility, comfort, and style. The furniture's dark ivy green color sought to soften the park's hardscape and complement Starbucks. In addition, Milwaukee Downtown's Public Service Ambassadors assist with maintaining the tables by cleaning twice a day. Bright orange and yellow umbrellas will add a welcomed pop of color to the space this summer. 

New programming welcomes families into the park, including Ice Skating with Local Olympians, Downtown Ice CAPEade, Heart(beats) of the City, a summer food truck and concert series, and the Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee

Save the Date: Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee is October 29

Placemaking Analysis

To help document the park's challenges and opportunities, local architecture firm TKWA developed a placemaking analysis of the park. Nearly a dozen stakeholders from adjacent properties and businesses participated in a feelings map. 

Conversations continue with community members, including a design charrette with members from the Community Council for the Connecting MKE - Downtown Plan 2040. 

Read the Report