Riverfront Improvements - Phase 2
The City of Prescott will be holding a public informational meeting at City Hall on Thursday, January 18 at 5:30 pm at City Hall regarding the 2nd phase of the Downtown Riverfront Improvements. Those interested in providing feedback or wanting to learn more about the project are welcome to attend.
The improvements along the riverfront have been in development since 2015 when the City began working on creating concepts for moving the riverfront to a community resource that all of the public can enjoy (see image documents below). This began with the City’s Comprehensive Plan that calls out the future land use for this area to be parks. Further the City’s Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan calls for proposed improvements to Jacques Park Public Boat Ramp (pg. 31), Mercord Mill Park (pg. 36) and the Riverwalk (pg. 39). These improvements include restoring the shoreline, exploring options for additional dock space, new restrooms, trail connections, signage to and from other trail systems, adding a fishing pier, restoring/rehabbing the boat launch, and improving the overall aesthetics and parking area.
Some of this work was completed with the first phase of the riverfront improvements in 2022. In 2023 the City also completed the installation of a new fishing dock and boat launch along the riverfront.
The current proposed concept plan includes many of the elements that were first discussed and developed back in 2015. This includes the shifting of the parking spots back to 2nd Street and closing Front Street to add greenspace along the riverfront. This would add space for tables, benches, a limited playground, and restrooms for those utilizing the boat launch, fishing pier and greenspace. Overall, the current plan would add a total of 5 parking spots and would not result in the loss of any parking.
The project also includes the addition of a public boat dock to allow for more boaters in the warm season to come utilize our restaurants, shops and other amenities downtown. Some of the feedback we heard in 2023 was that Prescott needed more space for boaters who wanted to visit our downtown. Additionally, as the City continually tries to look for alternative funding options to offset the high tax burden our residents bare, we are considering making this dock paid with a limited amount that could be used for overnight parking.
The other major items of the project include replacement of lights, decorative fencing that matches the first phase, updated lighting, new sidewalk connection over the railroad tracks, new trail connection to the first phase, updated signage, and a mill and overlay of the boat launch parking lot.
The current plan to pay for this project is through tax increment financing. The current tax increment district was established in 2003 and set a project plan that laid how the money generated by the TID could be used. As a result the City has been utilizing TID #4 funds to make improvements downtown that include the first phase of the riverfront, Orange Street improvements, future Cherry Street & Kinnickinnic Street improvements in 2024, and the second phase of the riverfront improvements in 2025. Similarly to the first phase the City will be seeking grant opportunities as well to help pay for project costs. To learn more about Tax Increment Districts in the State of Wisconsin you can visit the following website: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/tif-manual.pdf. TID #4 will be closing on March 3, 2030 with the final expenditure date of March 3, 2025.