Dec. 5, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Laurie Winter, the executive director of the Museum of Wisconsin Art, gave a presentation to the West Bend Business Improvement District on Tuesday morning and provided details on the development of a cultural campus which should begin construction in the early spring 2018.
Some talking points from the presentation are below:
-Current location is to the south of MOWA and that property was acquired from the city in June 2016.
-The area will be landscaped to a park-like environment for MOWA and tourists.
-The goal of the landscaping would be beautification, to accommodate fundraising events and availability for rentals for large festivals and events with a goal to improve connectivity to downtown and handicap accessibility.
–Architect Jim Shields who also designed the bridge and Vest Park provided designs for the cultural campus.
-Hired Judy Stark, a landscape architect. Wanted someone who knew plants and weather.
-A group of volunteers reviewed initial designs but didn’t create a lot of excitement. Started thinking about different cities and the flowers that represented the institutions and museums which used floral displays to attract visitors and create an enhanced environment.
-There was a desire to create a connective footprint from Hwy 33 to Water Street. Allow people to walk from one end of the property to another with no encumbrance.
-Wanted handicap accessibility to connect with the bridge. Make sure there was connectivity to the Eisenbahn State Trail too.
-Wanted to do a large green space south of the building and actually landscape to the north as well.
-Wanted to change the orientation so it felt it was facing the river.
-Also created a connective path to the south, it would replace the metal bridge or what’s dubbed Kevin’s bridge (Kevin Schultz of Mountain Outfitters).
-The yellow is Aspen trees. Groves of trees would add uniformity. Aspen are durable and there’s no bug infestation and beautiful in the Autumn with a golden leaf and a white or silvery color of birch. Use a grey pebble below the trees with up lighting at night. It would add enhancement of illumination downtown and during holiday could add different color lighting.
-362 quaking Aspen trees throughout the campus to add hydrangea plants. “They’re bold and showy and easy to care for and bloom from early July to early October.” Landscape consultant do better with white and soft pink.
-Also included two flowering pear trees.
-Green space with light-weight movable furniture so people can make their own space.
-New ramp coming up from pedestrian bridge. Gentle slope so don’t need hand railing and it would connect with the Eisenbahn Trail.
-Milwaukee sculpture would be added to the space. Piece is currently on Wisconsin Avenue.
-East side of building continue groves of trees and it would help enclose the mechanical area.
-The stellar moment would be at the point of the building would be a field of white hydrangea and a line of quaking Aspen trees. Field would bloom July 1 to September – it would be a bold statement that would be very inviting.
-We are hoping this becomes the hydrangea botanical destination. We’re trying to add more outdoor programs. Had 10,000 people with inaugural chalk fest.
-Also wanted Sugar Maple, it is the state tree with beautiful red leaves in the fall.
-Our idea was to use Wisconsin planting but are also representative of the state.
-The project is out for bid and MOWA is working with five Wisconsin landscape companies on that project with lighting and concrete work, irrigation and lighting. Our internal mandate – felt strongly to use a Wisconsin company to do the landscape.
-Hoping to see bids returned by third week in December and it would eventually go to city council.
-Still have some money to raise and so many projects happening and happy to be here.
-Goal is to open in 2018. These will be first-year plantings by June.
Following the presentation the BID board had overwhelming support for the project.
“Phenomenal design, “ said BID board member Tony Jasen. “Hydrangeas have a mad following and I hope that brings people into the community.”