The residents around Lincoln Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have always used their expansive park to its fullest. It is intersected by Lincoln Creek and the Milwaukee River, which provides an opportunity for fishing and other activities. It also has a golf course, picnic areas, a water park, and trails for walking, biking and cross country skiing.
So when it was announced that contaminated sediment in a section of the river in the park was going to be cleaned up through the Great Lakes Legacy Act, local residents had many questions—they wanted to understand what was going to be happening in their park.
IISG, working with all the project partners (U.S. EPA, Wisconsin DNR, Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee County, University of Wisconsin Extension, Department of Health Services – State of Wisconsin, the City of Milwaukee and its Health Department, North Shore Health Department, the Area of Concern Community Action Group, and local representatives) developed a plan to ensure the community was part of the process and they had ample opportunities to learn about what was taking place and why.
This process began with a series of town hall meetings where U.S. EPA and the State of Wisconsin provided a description of the project through presentations, posters and one-on-one discussion. The questions from the community were gathered and combined into a document and responses were provided both in written form and at a second meeting.
In an effort to ensure that anyone visiting the park would have an opportunity to learn about the project, the team developed a series of three signs or kiosks. Each has a different focus:
- The Department of Health Services is providing clear guidance on contaminants in local fish–which ones are safe to eat and how often. This sign includes some simple safety tips during the project construction.
- The U.S. EPA Areas of Concern (AOC) kiosk describes all the clean-up projects going on within the Milwaukee region to link this project to the larger goal of delisting the AOC. This kiosk provides direction for cleaning up after your pet and the potential impacts of pet waste to the waterway in its “Pick up your pet waste–it’s your doodie” campaign.
- The Great Lakes Legacy Act kiosk provides specifics about this project including the activities that will occur, a timeline, and a weekly update. A dump truck that fills up over time will illustrate progress of the project.
There are two sets of kiosks in the park – one along a well-used bike path and a second near the picnic area. The signs were designed so that at the end of the project, they can be repurposed for other topics, used in other parks, and for other outreach activities.