Major project could be coming to downtown Onalaska

Project includes green space, restaurant

Onalaska residents may soon see a big difference in their downtown with an upcoming project.

Festival Foods founders Dave and Barb Skogen have started the process to create a community park and restaurant on the corner of Second Avenue South and Main Street.

Along with the newly completed Great River Landing project, community businesses are excited to see this part of town get an update.

Along two busy streets in downtown Onalaska, sits a corner of potential.

“It’s probably one of the most important locations in town,” Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen said.

The Skogen’s project looks to create green space and a restaurant overlooking the Black River, across the street from the Great River Landing development.

“We have an opportunity now to leverage from Great River Landing to now the Skogen project to do some great things down there,” Chilsen said.

Chilsen hopes both projects will bring more people and dollars into downtown.

“As that builds, that will bring commercial development because commercial development wants to be where the people are,” Chilsen said.

And businesses surrounding the development are excited to see what the future brings.

“The idea of green space that promotes community involvement, community gatherings, is very, very exciting,” UnWine’d manager Meghan Schoh said.

Businesses are also looking forward to increased foot traffic through downtown.

“People are able to park, walk across, check out all of the community businesses, all the shops, and also the new restaurants,” Schoh said.

“So many people that travel through our community — that is just what they’re going to see — it’s just beautiful,” business owner Sue Kolve-Feehan said.

And everyone agrees it’s a positive sign of things to come.

“We’re about to see the heart of Onalaska go through that transformation, and that’s why the community is so excited about it,” said Kolve-Feehan.

“This is going to be a great springboard for development along that corridor,” Chilsen said.

The project plans also call for the creation of plazas, scenic overlooks and a restaurant terrace.