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A Joint Centennial Project of the Rotary Clubs of

Thiensville and Mequon, Wisconsin, USA,

Rotary District 6270

In early 2003, driven by an initiative from Rotary International that each of its local Rotary Clubs develop a project to commemorate Rotary International’s Centennial year (2005), the two Rotary Clubs in the Mequon and Thiensville communities agreed to work jointly to select and pursue a centennial project supported by both clubs.

Shortly after forming this joint initiative, the two Rotary clubs identified several projects which were proposed, investigated and evaluated. The result of this work was that the two clubs identified the Riverwalk as their Centennial Project, presented their proposal to the Mequon-Thiensville Town Center Committee, and received the support of the City of Mequon and Village of Thiensville.

The Rotary Riverwalk project was born from a community need articulated at public meetings convened by the Village of Thiensville and the City of Mequon to create a vision for a Town Center. The Town Center design encompasses parts of both communities and seeks to improve the quality of life and aesthetics while strengthening the local tax base. The Town Center project begins at the North at the Village limits (Concord Place) and ends just south of Mequon Road (a state highway) to the South and includes the Riverwalk.

In 2003 Rotary International encouraged local Rotary Clubs to initiate centennial service projects. The two Rotary Clubs in Mequon and Thiensville were already known for accomplishing great feats - having spearheaded and gifted Rotary Park to the City of Mequon in 1989, a million dollar project. This magnificent park is home to Gathering on the Green, provides accessible trails, and contains many other features that make it a significant asset to the community. In 2003, the two Rotary Clubs stepped forward to adopt the Town Center Riverwalk as their Joint Centennial Project. The size, scope, impact and visibility of the project appealed to our Rotary club members, just as the development of the Rotary Park had in Mequon a number of years earlier. Their demonstrated leadership and proven “can do” momentum will enhance the ultimate completion of the Riverwalk, our drawing board dream.

In 2004, Rotary completed the first segment of the six-segment Rotary Riverwalk: the Village Park Segment. This first part of the planned mile-long Rotary Riverwalk along the Milwaukee River is 560 linear feet, 20’ wide, built on the Millrace berm owned by the Village of Thiensville. The Village Park Segment has quickly become a beloved feature of the two communities, and serves to symbolize and validate the goals of the Town Center: create gathering places, inspire small town renaissance, and provide long-term economic benefit to the two communities.

In 2005 and 2006, additional planning and cooperation between the Rotary Club of Thiensville-Mequon, the Rotary Club of Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise, the City of Mequon, and the Village of Thiensville resulted in the completion of the Master Plan for the Rotary Riverwalk.

Now, the major focus has shifted from the planning stages of this project to the fund raising and implementation stages, with the current emphasis on the Library segment of the Master Plan.

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