Development plans on par for new Altoona neighborhood

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Mary Boettcher, who works at the Potting Shed in Altoona, has grown used to the scenery across the street and everything that comes with it.

"When we first moved out here to Hillcrest Parkway, we would find golf balls in the parking lot, that was kind of fun to think how they could bounce all the way across Highway 12," she said.

But by the end of the summer, the scenery across the street may begin to change.

"I think it will be exciting to see a brand new community spring up over there," she said.

What has been a golf course since 1926 could soon be new apartments, single family homes, senior living, parks, and stores.

"In here the idea was to give the most people the best access to the nicest property," said Mike Golat, Altoona's City Administrator.

He says the project is on a 12-year-plan. And if the plan stays on par, new homes could start popping up by the end of the summer or fall where the clubhouse now sits.

On Thursday, the council heard questions and concerns from the public. Chief among them was the higher ratio of apartments to single family homes. The worry being too many new students in the district, the need for more police, translating to higher taxes.

There was also concern about whether it was best long-term. But Jim Rooney, the developer for the project, says the focus should be shifted.

"You can take a single family home and make it look bad in five or ten years, so it's about the ownership and on-going maintenance," he said.

He says they are looking for someone to take over the restaurant at the golf course so it can stay open. And eventually, the neighborhood could connect the shopping area near Target in Eau Claire. But Golat says a road connecting the two is at least five years out.

Still, Mary Boettcher is excited about the idea of new neighbors and the potential for more business.

"Since we moved out here from Rudolph Road, we've gotten not just a lot of business from the businesses in Altoona but the residential," Boettcher added.

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