Maritime Plaza & Heritage Gardens

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum intends to develop approximately 20,000 square feet of asphalt parking lot in the northeast corner of the property into a maritime heritage plaza and garden.  By providing a public space to showcase maritime themed artifacts, coupled with a gathering space for educational or entertainment events, it will enliven the Franklin Street corridor. The multi-functional space will be suitable for an outdoor classroom, craft/farmers markets, and a performing arts venue. This proposed maritime heritage garden outside the museum’s storage facility will become an added experience for visitors to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and a significant enhancement to downtown Manitowoc.

Bounded by Franklin Street on the North, 12th Street on the east, and the existing storage facility on the south and west sides of the project site, this project will incorporate multiple improvements into this one public space. These include: Asphalt removal, stormwater remediation, regrading and hard scaping the plaza area, benches and seating areas, multiple planting areas and trees, assembling and interpreting several oversized maritime artifacts, public archaeology interpretation with Captain Carus’ house foundation, Carus Collection photographic mural, new lighting, outdoor classroom space, event venue, improved accessible parking, exterior improvements to the adjacent building (owned by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum), signage noting public park, trash receptacles, etc.  

Because this project has many facets and the space is designed with many different uses in mind, it will attract a multitude of user groups and activities to the space.  This includes pedestrians and driving patrons visiting the adjacent post office, bank, and businesses.  It will also draw pedestrians from the adjacent downtown area and from across the river from the Riverpoint development. Another key user group is visitors to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.  This open and free to the public space is a way for casual visitors to engage with museum collections and understand the Manitowoc maritime story.  And, while the space will be used for museum programming, such as public archaeology projects, and a meeting point for collections-focused museum tours, it will also be a place to quietly explore Manitowoc’s maritime heritage at visitors’ own pace in a park setting.

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