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Badger Meter donates $40,000 for Brown Deer riverfront park

A conceptual site plan for Badger Meter Park.

A conceptual site plan for Badger Meter Park.

April 16, 2014

Brown Deer — With a little help from a hometown business, Brown Deer will soon have a riverfront park and boat launch on the Milwaukee River, the only one of its kind in the northern stretch of Milwaukee County.

Badger Meter, a fluid measurement and control mechanism manufacturer headquartered off Brown Deer Road, is donating $40,000 to make the long-envisioned park a reality. The company, which has eight plants in five countries, has maintained its headquarters in Brown Deer since the 1950s.

"(Brown Deer) is our home," Badger Meter CEO Rich Meeusen said. "We've always considered Brown Deer our home. We thought it was important to recognize that this is the village we call home."

The planned Badger Meter Park, located off River Lane, just east of the interchange at Brown Deer and Green Bay roads, will span 2.7 acres of riverfront land purchased by the village in 2012. At the time village officials cited Brown Deer's comprehensive plan, which calls for park improvements and access to the river, as reasons for the purchase.

And now, with the help of Badger Meter, the village plans to break ground this summer on the park, with a tentative Labor Day opening.

Plans for the park include a parking area, a pavilion, restrooms, landscaping, trails, and and canoe and kayak boat launch. The entire park is engineered to be accessible by wheelchair and will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Included in the plan is a restoration of the natural habitat at the park, which comprises native prairie grasses, wetlands and oak savannas. All told, the parks will give the public access to 270 feet of Milwaukee River shoreline and the first official public access to the Milwaukee River in the northern stretches of Milwaukee County.

Assistant Village Manager Matt Janecke described the park as a "low key" place for birdwatchers, canoeists, and kayakers to enjoy nature. Village officials are in early talks on a plan to connect the park to nearby undeveloped properties.

"It has the potential to open up into a larger greenway space," Janecke said.

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