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Onalaska moving forward with waterfront redevelopment

Council votes to hire a consultant, pursuing charrette format

Onalaska moving forward with waterfront redevelopment

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) - The City of Onalaska is making sure residents have a lot of input when it comes to the waterfront redevelopment project.

The council took the next step in the waterfront project Tuesday by approving a consultant, one that plans to use a charrette format.

If you remember, the charrette was recently used in La Crosse's Riverside North project. It is a series of meetings where the public gives input, and designers put it into the plan.

The Onalaska Waterfront Committee says they liked the format and thinks it's the best way to move forward with the waterfront project. "It's a very intense process that will pull a lot of people together and just, that environment in itself will bring a lot of energy to this project and making sure that we're moving it forward in the right direction," said Council and committee member Eric Sjolander.

The waterfront project includes land west of the train tracks and will have walking and biking access paths.

The city feels this project is important because of the opportunity to develop such a large area of land. "We have a unique piece of property right along the river that is undeveloped and there's nothing there, it's natural beauty, and it's what does the community want to put down there that can enhance that scenic beauty," said Sjolander.

The next step is for the waterfront committee to start setting up meeting times and then informing the public. The council says it's too early in the process to talk about what might be in the development, or how much it might cost.

The consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson based out of St. Paul, Minnesota was hired for the project, with a budget of $110,000.

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