, 2022-08-14 06:00:00,
WEST BEND — The dam is gone. The lake has drained. And the river is running wild.
Welcome to Riverside Park, a sprawling 70-acre recreation center that stands where a manmade lake once languished with deteriorated water quality and diminished public value.
More than 30 years ago — long before a similar dilemma surrounded Echo Lake in Burlington — West Bend city officials made a tough decision: They would remove their lake and build something new in its place.
It was not a change that was universally accepted in the 1980s, and it remains a sore spot for some West Bend residents today.
But patrons and visitors at Riverside Park applaud the results. With a restored Milwaukee River flowing down the center, the new park has been enhanced with a variety of amenities — some similar to what has been discussed in Burlington.
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A trail system, soccer field, disc golf course, kayak launch, and pedestrian bridges now occupy rolling green parkland that was reclaimed from deep beneath the old lake. It is a process that has taken…
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