Aging Winona park may get a multimillion dollar update

Levee park in Winona could get a major update

After more than three decades of going untouched, Levee Park in Winona is getting a major update. A committee finalized their proposed plan for the park in late March.

“Winona had the prettiest riverside park,” Winona Mayor Mark Peterson said.

However, things changed after it was reconstructed after a 1965 flood.

“They were more concerned about function than beauty I think,” Peterson said.

In an effort to return Levee Park back to its former glory a committee has come up with a multimillion dollar revitalization plan.

“We see this as a perfect opportunity,” Frank Pomeroy, the chair of the Levee Park revitalization committee, said.

The committee said their top priorities are electrical upgrades, improvements to seating and walkways. There is also a plan to put in a large performance center.

“We want to build something that’s iconic, that when you look from the river you see it,” Pomeroy said. “It’s going to be a pavilion-type setting with an overhang that will provide shade and accommodate 750 people.”

The committee is also focused on creating a space that will easily attract outsiders to the community.

“We are going to have a 12-foot-wide pedestrian bike trail with two outlooks that are going to bring a lot of people from the Wisconsin trails, the Minnesota trails,” Pomeroy said.

Officials said now the park will be a combination of beauty and function.

“There is a lot of engineering that is a part of this process because you have a levee wall,” Pomeroy said.

While Winona Mayor Mark Peterson admits that there have been a lot of conflicting opinions from community members over how to handle the updates, he said they can all agree on one thing.

“I think there is a strong consensus that fixing up our levee park is a good thing for our community,” Peterson said.

The total cost of the project is about $3 million. The city has already set aside $100,000 in the 2015 budget for the park. The committee plans to present their funding recommendations at the Winona City Council meeting on April 20.

If all goes to plan the project is projected to be completed by 2019.