George’s Riverside Park, located in downtown Wisconsin Rapids was conceived and constructed by the Mead Witter Foundation, Inc. The park is the result of a multi-year project to repurpose a city block which had been used as a parking lot since 1980. The Mead Witter Foundation purchased the property in 2015, and intends to continue to own and maintain the park for the benefit of the community.
Wisconsin Rapids has benefitted from the generations of effort to protect and preserve riverside greenspaces. George’s Riverside Park was inspired by those civic-minded people who lived here.
The Mead Witter Foundation selected Saiki Design, Inc., a Madison landscape design firm, to develop the park layout. Saiki Design was made aware of the recommendations by the famous landscape designer Warren H. Manning (who also worked on the designs of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC). Manning, who was invited to our community in the early 1900s, proposed a design centered on the Wisconsin River. Saiki’s serene, pedestrian-friendly, individual-user focused design, incorporating ADA compliant pedestrian pathways carries forward and expands on that century-old vision.
Creation of George’s Riverside Park involved the efforts of roughly 50 local individuals representing 12 local companies in various trades, whose dedication and skill produced a truly unique and beautiful space along the Wisconsin River.