On Monday, June 24, Davidson Park roared to life at the Harley-Davidson Juneau Avenue campus on Milwaukee’s Near West Side.


Pioneered by the Harley-Davidson Foundation, the $20 million project was created in partnership with Heatherwick Studio, which oversaw the transformation of the space from a four-acre parking lot to a soulful green space that can be shared by all. Two Milwaukee-based firms, HGA and Greenfire Management Services, partnered with Heatherwick Studio to bring the design vision to life.


Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio beautifully illustrated the vision for the park as a place for people to connect. “Willie G. Davidson is quoted in saying, ‘form follows function,’ – and by the way, any architect or designer who is going to nod like – ‘yes, so true, so true. Yeah, form does follow function.’ However, what he said then was, but both report to emotion," Heatherwick said. "So, really, this park is about emotion. And that was in our hearts when we were trying to think about how do we make a place that’s romantic?”


From the start, the ambition for Davidson Park has been to create an inclusive green space that promotes the Near West Side as a positive place to live, work and play. Whether community members are using the park to enjoy local art, attend an event or just relax, Davidson Park is a place that everyone who lives in or visits the neighborhood can call their own.

The heart of Davidson Park is “The Hub,” a sunken multi-use event space approximately 272 feet wide, with tiered seating, surrounded by lush plants and trees. The design encourages and celebrates togetherness with its circular layout defined by a combination of motorcycle driveways and turning circles, parking bays, sidewalks, plants, seats and 360-degree viewpoints.


The Hub provides views of Harley-Davidson’s brick buildings—the original home of H-D—and the surrounding park, sown with 120 native plant species. In addition to tripling the green space, the park integrates a dynamic system of green infrastructure, including native bioswales, permeable pavers and cisterns, to capture hundreds of thousands of gallons of stormwater. This is a significant contribution to regional infrastructure and the environment.


Located at the center of the Hub, the Foundation Stone celebrates the Near West Side and the creation of Davidson Park. The four-foot-diameter cast iron stone was designed by Megan Huss, a local artist and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design student.


The main pedestrian thoroughfare through the park, Main Street, features flexible space for events such as farmers markets, craft fairs, food trucks and more. The street connects all major areas of the park and will be a lively spot for social interaction. The Union Plaza is the main pedestrian entrance to the park, located off West Highland Boulevard. Other notable features include the North and South Lawns, Little Legends Playground, three hillside Viewing Hills, 1903 Tavern and Potawatomi Serenity Garden.


Davidson Park’s opening unveiling marks the opening salvo of development things to come at Juneau Avenue, with plans for continued development to celebrate the iconic bike brand and its history at its longtime home base.


Stay tuned for plans to activate this spectacular new space during the upcoming Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival, and be sure to roll on in to explore this new park for yourself.


Want to learn more about the over 120-year-old bike brand? Cruise over to the world's only Harley-Davidson Museum.