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A WEEK OF EXPERIENCES IN MILWAUKEE'S
MENOMONEE VALLEY

Valley Week celebrates Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley: what is made here, who works here, all there is to do here, and the great jobs and careers here.

Valley Week invites you to explore and experience Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. From a beer run, tours on land or in water, to dining al fresco at the Food Truck Festival, the week offers something to nature lovers, history enthusiasts, job seekers, and those looking for something unique to do.

In the Valley, industry and jobs, entertainment experiences, outdoor exploration, and nature thrive in the heart of the city.

Proceeds from the events support Menomonee Valley Partners, a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to revitalize the Menomonee Valley.

EVENTS LISTED BELOW - DETAILS COMING IN AUGUST!

  • Menomonee River Kids Fishing Clinic
  • Fall Youth Soccer Festival
  • Menomonee River Kayak Tour - Register now! 
  • Discover Your Career Expo
  • Valley Week Business Luncheon 
  • Bags Tournament
  • Food Truck Festival
  • Valley Business Soccer Playoffs
  • Blood Drive
  • Ultimate Beer Run - Register now! 

Special promotions from Twisted Fisherman and Pizzeria 3301 at Villa Palermo throughout the week! 

#ValleyWeek

See the outstanding results from the first Valley Week in 2017 here and view our look back at the week in this video.  

Sponsor 2018 Valley Week and get great benefits, including a table at the exclusive Valley Week Business Luncheon.

Nature & Recreation

More here

Play & Tours

More here

Eat & Drink

More here


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

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FALL YOUTH SOCCER FESTIVAL

Sunday, September 23, 12-6pm (date tentative)
Menomonee Valley Community Park

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The Milwaukee Torrent Community Foundation welcomes kids ages 7-13 to an afternoon of fun, informal soccer in the Menomonee River Valley. Kids will participate in small-sided games (as many as they - or their parents -  would like) but it is not a tournament and the kids don't need to be part of a team or club. Come down to play and enjoy an afternoon of soccer!

Save the date - more information coming!

 

MENOMONEE RIVER FISHING CLINIC

Sunday, September 23 (date tentative)
Meets at Valley Passage Bridge

Spend a family-friendly morning learning about the Menomonee River, fish you can find here, and techniques that could lead you to the big one. This event occurs around the annual fall salmon run and we could see dozens of salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Come cast a line with us!

Save the date - more information coming!


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

MENOMONEE RIVER KAYAK TOUR

Monday, September 24, 5:15-8pm
Departs from Milwaukee Kayak Company

Paddle the Menomonee River and its canals while exploring its past, vital to Milwaukee's history, and its exciting future. We will learn about its history and how this area was vital to Milwaukee’s growth, the unique projects that made it a national model of environmental sustainability, and the exciting developments in the works! A member from Menomonee Valley Partners will lead our trip and staff from Milwaukee Kayak Company will paddle too. Whether it's your first time or your 100th, this is a great trip for you! Cost: $30 and half is donated back to Menomonee Valley Partners


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25

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DISCOVER YOUR CAREER EXPO

This is a one-stop shop career exploration resource for adults seeking jobs and for youth and adults just wondering what's out there. You'll have the opportunity to learn about good-paying jobs, internship opportunities, and apprenticeships at Valley companies. From manufacturing to customer service, entry-level to high skill, you can find a career in the Valley. HR professionals will be onsite to answer questions that will help you land that next job. 

  • DISCOVER career options
  • CONNECT with Valley employers
  • LEARN the application process
  • MEET local providers who can get you the training to secure in-demand jobs
  • ASK experts how to land the job you want - a judgement-free zone to ask the questions you've always wanted to know about how to land the job for you

Free and open to the public. More info coming.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

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FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL

Wednesday, September 26, 11am-1pm
Menomonee Valley Community Park

Let's celebrate fall with food and a midday festival! Grab some lunch from one of the featured food trucks, pull up your camp chair, and soak up some mid-week sun while kicking back to some music.

If you want to move around, you can take advantage of the bags boards and yard games! 

 
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BAGS TOURNAMENT

Wednesday, September 26, 3-9pm (date tentative)

Mark your calendars for bags, brews, and bragging rights for the first Valley Week Bags Tournament! This middle-of-the-week tourney features plenty of food, fun, a 50/50 raffle, and prizes for the top three teams. Save the date and start recruiting your teammate, registration opens in mid-August. 

The funds raised will be donated to Menomonee Valley Partners, a nonprofit working to revitalize the Menomonee Valley.  


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

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valley week business luncheon - Made in milwaukee

Thursday, September 27, 12-1:30PM
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino

Enjoy a delicious plated lunch at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino as featured panelists with a past, present, or future linked to the Menomonee Valley tell their Made in Milwaukee story. What does it take to get started? How do you stay relevant? Why Milwaukee? How does the community play a role? The Menomonee Valley has experienced an unbelievable transformation, but its story is linked to the people and businesses who have laid their dreams and investment dollars here. Let's hear those stories and see what could be made in Milwaukee next. The Valley Week Business Luncheon is exclusive to Valley Week sponsors.

 
Menomonee Valley Soccer League

VALLEY SOCCER LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

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Thursday, September 27, 6-8:30pm
Menomonee Valley Community Park

In 2018, the Milwaukee Torrent Community Foundation is coordinating the very first soccer league for Valley businesses. Teams play in the Menomonee Valley Community Park every Thursday and they will host their playoffs during Valley Week. Bring a sports drink and picnic and cheer for your favorite Valley team to take home the gold! More info coming! View the season schedule.

 
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HAPPY HOUR ON THE RIVER

Thursday, September 27, Times: 5:30PM, 6:30PM, 7:30PM
Departs from Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack

Enjoy a casual 45-minute happy hour float along the Menomonee River and its less explored canal - you might even spot a pirate ship! The boat departs from Twisted Fisherman. 

Cost: $10 (with $5 going to Menomonee Valley Partners) and includes one tap beer or rail mixer, cash bar on board


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

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VALLEY BLOOD DRIVE

Friday, September 28
ProStar Surfaces

Roll up your sleeves, sit back, and save lives! Each pint of blood we collect together can help save up to three lives and will touch the lives of so many more. Each recipient of that blood donation has his or her own story. He or she could be an accident or trauma victim, cancer patient, a mother giving birth, a premature baby, a transplant recipient or surgical candidate. Our impact goes beyond that patient – it is multiplied by the impact it has on that person’s loved ones who are thankful for the unit we donated. 


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

ULTIMATE BEER RUN

An unforgettable high energy run/walk event with hops, high fives, a mid-point beer, and a finisher beer  – the Ultimate Beer Run

Half of the registrants will start at Third Space and run/walk to City Lights where they will be treated with a freshly brewed beer. The other half of the registrants will start at City Lights and run/walk to Third Space where they will enjoy their very own freshly brewed beer. After savoring the goodness at the turn-a-around, each of the respective groups will return to their starting location and be rewarded with yet another beer! If that's not positive reinforcement for your running feat, we don't know what is.

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THANK YOU TO OUR 2018 SPONSORS

Presenting Sponsor

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Hosting Sponsors

 
 

Supporting Sponsors

 
 

The 2018 Valley Week provides ample opportunities for businesses and organizations to increase brand awareness and at various investment levels. For more information on getting involved, contact Michelle Kramer at 414-221-5508 or Michelle@RenewTheValley.org. Download the Valley Week sponsorship packet. 

ABOUT MENOMONEE VALLEY PARTNERS

Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc. is a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to revitalize and sustain the Menomonee Valley as a thriving urban district that advances economical, ecological, and social equity for the benefit of the greater Milwaukee community.

    Use the slider to compare the former Milwaukee Road Shops with the current day Menomonee Valley Industrial Center, home to 10 businesses, a nationally renowned stormwater treatment system, trails, and park.

    Since its inception in 1999, Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc. has served as the lead agency in the redevelopment of Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley. Once Wisconsin's most visible eyesore, the Valley has been transformed, becoming a national model in economic development and environmental sustainability.

    • 300 acres of brownfields have been developed
    • 51 companies have moved to the Menomonee Valley
    • more than 5,200 family-supporting jobs have been created
    • one million square feet of green buildings have been constructed
    • more than 60 acres of new trails and park space with 45 acres of native plants installed have led to improved wildlife habitat and water quality

    Use the slider to compare the former Menomonee River near Miller Park to what we have today. Many people enjoy fly fishing here during the steelhead run in the spring and the salmon run in the fall. This may be the only Major League Baseball stadium where you can grill up the day's catch at a tailgate just moments later!


    The Menomonee Valley has a fascinating history: from wild rice marsh to manufacturing center to infamous eyesore, and now to a national model of economic and environmental sustainability.

     Menomonee Valley - 1975

    Menomonee Valley - 1975

     Menomonee Valley - 2015

    Menomonee Valley - 2015

    Historic Menomonee River Valley

    Four miles long and a half-mile wide, the Menomonee River Valley extends from the Harley-Davidson Museum to the site of Miller Park Stadium. The Valley was formed by melting glaciers more than 10,000 years ago and, for thousands of years, the 1200-acre Menomonee Valley was a wild rice marsh, home to American Indians. The name “Menomonee” is derived from the Algonquin “meno,” meaning good, and “min,” a term for grain or fruit.  Wild rice (menomin) flourished in the extensive wetlands of the MenomoneeValley.  By the 1700s, the Potawatomi were the primary residents of the region.  Ojibwa, Fox, Menominee, Ottawa, Sauk, Winnebago and others also lived here at various times. 

    All the marsh proper...would, in the spring, be literally alive with fish that came in from the lake... And the number of ducks that covered the marsh was beyond all computation.”
    — James Bucks, 1830s

    In 1795, Jacques Vieau, a fur trader, established the first permanent trading post in Wisconsin on the bluffs of the Valley at the site of what is now Mitchell Park. By the mid-1800s, the settlement of Milwaukee pushed toward the Valley, and Milwaukeeans filled the marsh with soil, gravel, and waste to create dry land for additional development. They straightened the Menomonee River and cut canals to provide shipping routes

     1872

    1872

     Photo: Library of Congress

    Photo: Library of Congress

    The Machine Shop of the World

    By the early 1900s, Milwaukee was known as the “Machine Shop of the World” and the Menomonee Valley was its engine. Farm machinery, rail cars, electric motors and cranes were made in the Valley. Clay became cream city bricks. Wheat was turned into flour, hogs became ham and barley became beer.  Cattle were made into meat, leather and tallow (soap and candles) with no parts wasted. These changes provided jobs for thousands of people, but damaged the Valley’s natural resources.

    From 1879 to 1985, the Valley was the location of the Milwaukee Road Shops, an enormous complex that made rail cars and locomotives for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. In the 1900s, the Milwaukee Road was one of the largest employers in Milwaukee with nearly 3,000 employees. Many lived in the neighborhoods nearby and walked to work.

     Falk (now Rexnord) gears

    Falk (now Rexnord) gears

    Neighborhood Life

    By the late 1800s, thousands of workers arrived in the Menomonee Valley to work in industrial jobs. They established the first large neighborhoods west of downtown – Piggsville, Merrill Park, and Concordia. Most workers walked to work carrying lunch pails and were known as the “bucket brigade.” The neighborhood southwest of the Valley, Silver City, owes its name to the employees of the Valley' Milwaukee Road Shops. The Shops paid its workers in silver dollars, and on pay day there would be a flurry of silver dollars changing hands in all the saloons along National Avenue. 

     Then - the bridge that carried workers from Silver City to work in the Milwaukee Road Shopts

    Then - the bridge that carried workers from Silver City to work in the Milwaukee Road Shopts

     Now - Valley Passage Bridge, one of the three bridges to Three Bridges Park

    Now - Valley Passage Bridge, one of the three bridges to Three Bridges Park

    By the 1960s, the Menomonee Valley was a cultural divide of black and white communities, often known as “Milwaukee’s Mason Dixon line.” In 1967, Father James Groppi, a Catholic priest, led the first of the open housing marches across the Valley’s 16th Street Viaduct in protest of racial discrimination and housing segregation. The Milwaukee Common Council passed an open housing ordinance in 1968. In 1988, the 16th Street Viaduct was officially renamed the James E.Groppi Unity Bridge.

    The Valley’s Decline

    By the late 1900s, as manufacturing practices changed, the Valley was left a blighted area with abandoned, contaminated land and vacant industrial buildings.  Bridges into the Valley were demolished as businesses left and the Valley was isolated from the surrounding city, a place to pass over, but not a place to go.  The neighborhoods adjacent to the Valley most strongly felt the impacts of the Valley’s decline; residents suffered from limited access to jobs and recreation opportunities, high levels of asthma and obesity, and poor air quality.

     Vacant buildings at the former Milwaukee Road Shops site, directly east of where Miller Park is located today

    Vacant buildings at the former Milwaukee Road Shops site, directly east of where Miller Park is located today

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    Redevelopment Efforts

    In 1998, the City of Milwaukee, the Menomonee Valley Business Association and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District prepared a land use plan for the Menomonee Valley, a road map for its redevelopment. At the time, the State of Wisconsin was laying the groundwork for the Hank Aaron State Trail. As a result of these planning efforts, Menomonee Valley Partners was formed as a nonprofit organization, a public-private partnership to facilitate business, neighborhood, and public partners in efforts to revitalize the Valley.  

    In the past 19 years, 47 companies have moved to or expanded in the Valley, 5,200 jobs have been created, 45 acres of native plants, seven miles of trails, and a nationally recognized shared  system have been established. In addition, 10 million people visit the Valley each year. More than 250 organizations and 450 individuals have given pro bono time by serving on boards, committees, and working teams, while thousands of individuals have volunteered at Valley events.

     Aerial of the Valley from Miller Park looking east toward Lake Michigan

    Aerial of the Valley from Miller Park looking east toward Lake Michigan

     The 6th Street Viaduct was deconstructed and replaced with the 6th Street bridges in 2002, providing the first opportunity for most to actually enter the Menomonee Valley. Read more  here .

    The 6th Street Viaduct was deconstructed and replaced with the 6th Street bridges in 2002, providing the first opportunity for most to actually enter the Menomonee Valley. Read more here.

    Today, the Valley is a national model of economic and environmental sustainability.  Recognized by the Sierra Club as "One of the 10 Best Developments in the Nation," the Menomonee Valley continues to receive local and national recognition. 

    The Valley's Future

    During the course of 18 months, Menomonee Valley Partners and the City of Milwaukee held public meetings and met with hundreds of stakeholders to envision what the Menomonee Valley will become in the next 20 years. The City of Milwaukee Common Council approved the Valley 2.0 plan in June 2015. The plan communicates five major initiatives:

    1. Creating an East Valley Gateway Food and Beverage Cluster
    2. Establishing a St. Paul Avenue Design Showroom District
    3. Preserving the Bruce and Pierce Industrial District
    4. Improving the Gateway to the Menomonee Valley from I-94
    5. Better Connecting the Valley 

     Image depicting an expanded Milwaukee RiverWalk from the Third Ward, through the Menomonee Valley, to Three Bridges Park

    Image depicting an expanded Milwaukee RiverWalk from the Third Ward, through the Menomonee Valley, to Three Bridges Park

     Image depicting potential new roadways (yellow) and new buildings (dark gray) along the Menomonee River at W Mt Vernon and Emmber Lane

    Image depicting potential new roadways (yellow) and new buildings (dark gray) along the Menomonee River at W Mt Vernon and Emmber Lane