City of Altoona seeks input on River Prairie Development

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Altoona, Wisconsin. At last Thursday’s Altoona City Council meeting, Council members unanimously approved contracts related to planning and development of River Prairie’s northwest quadrant. The quadrant is a City-owned, 52 acre property located north of River Prairie Drive and west of Highway 53. The land is bordered on the north and west by the Eau Claire River.

One contract is with the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission for coordinating a public workshop on September 18, 2012, at 6:00 p.m. in the Altoona Middle School Commons located at 1903 Bartlett Avenue. The City wants to hear what kinds of development and amenities area residents hope to see in the Northwest Quadrant. Jay Tappen, Director of Regional Planning, is looking forward to applying training his staff recently received from an organization called the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to generate ideas that will make River Prairie an active and dynamic development that is a magnet for area residents and visitors.

The “Power of 10” model, promoted by PPS, suggests that it takes 10 unique features to make a place great. Based on extensive, world-wide research conducted by PPS, every great place has four attributes in common related to sociability, access/ linkages, comfort/image and uses/ activities.

Jack Blackburn, Altoona Mayor, commented, “We are hoping to create an active development that generates positive energy—the kind of place people are drawn to and don’t want to leave.”

The other contracts approved by the Altoona City Council are with Acquisition Realty and Development, LLC (ARD), a local commercial real estate development and consulting firm. ARD, along with Kramer Land Design Studio and Cedar Corporation, will incorporate information gleaned from the workshop into a master development plan that will also consider other critical factors such as real estate market conditions and the City’s need to create tax base.

“We will attempt to deliver a unique plan that will include many of the ideas heard at the workshop,” commented Dean Larsen of ARD, “And, at the same time, we will incorporate our knowledge of the real estate market and overall business climate to deliver a plan that is highly marketable and generates significant tax revenue for the City.”

The City has partnered with the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Eau Claire to spread the word about what the City hopes to create. Mike Golat, Altoona City Manager, reflected, “We are looking for input from businesses, residents and other stakeholders that want to be a part of something extraordinary. We hope to attract people that see the value of creating an amazing place and that are willing to make an investment to be part of it.”

Contact: Mike Golat, Altoona City Administrator 715-839-6092.
Mayor Jack Blackburn 715-514-0713.
Jay Tappen, WCWRP Director, 715- 836-2918.
Dean Larsen, Acquisition Realty and Development, LLC, 715-838-0909.

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