For the sustainably inclined, the second site visit option will be a tour of the Menomonee Valley, conducted by the Executive Director of the Menomonee Valley Partners, Laura Bray.

Menomonee Valley, in addition to its mellifluous name, boasts an incredible brownfields renovation story.  The valley, located along the Menomonee River, was long a host to heavy industry and a contributor to river pollution.  As industry faded away, the Valley became an essential wasteland, where the costs of locating had too high a cleanup cost.

In 1998, the City adopted a Land Use Plan, and renewal efforts have been led by the Menomonee Valley Business Association, a Menomonee Valley Business District, and the Menomonee Valley Partners, which brings all of the interest groups (government, private, citizen, non-profit) together.

As I understand the vision for the Valley, it will still feature manufacturing business that provide family-supporting wages; business who locate there receive various types of assistance to design sustainably.  Many of the natural processes of the Valley are being restored, accessibility to the jobs there is being increased, and new companies are still arriving.  It’s a model for sustainable development that we should all take back home.

Lots more info is available on the MVP website (I recommend downloading the June 16, 2006 MVP Brochure here).

Thanks to Laura for putting this site visit together.