‘Opportunity Winona’ plans for first major project

Downtown Winona has seen major developments over the last several years.

Now, city leaders are expecting one of the biggest projects the city has seen.

Less than one year ago, city and community leaders launched Opportunity Winona, a project aimed at creating jobs, housing and investing in the city’s downtown.

The project is a collaboration among the city, Port Authority and the Winona Chamber.

The project’s first proposed initiative, 60 Main Street, would replace a 42,000 square-foot parking lot which currently sits behind the Winona 7 Theatre. City leaders are calling it a parking lot with possibilities.

“It could be a hotel, it could be housing in combination with commercial retail and parking,” said Lucy McMartin, the city’s community development director.

The anticipated multi-million dollar project is just one of many goals the city’s mayor is hoping to meet.

“What we’re looking at doing in downtown Winona is very much like what we’re seeing already happening in downtown La Crosse, the new hotels that are happening down there being built and the restaurants, that’s very much the same kind of vision that I see and others do for downtown Winona,” said Winona Mayor Mark Peterson.

60 Main Street will be the first major project through Opportunity Winona and it’s considered an added contribution to the city’s economic growth.

“We’ve had a number of downtown renovations, the Latsch Building, 111 Riverfront, a new ice cream shop, a wine bar, a brew pub, so we have a number of activities going on that have happened privately in downtown and this is kind of the public piece coming forward, thus the public-private partnership,” McMartin said.

The 60 Main Street proposal is due to the city December 31st and city leaders are hoping the project will be under construction by 2017.

Another future project for the city includes a $2.4 million investment in Levee Park which would include pedestrian crossing and new roads

The parking lot’s development was originally brought up in the city’s 2007 comprehensive plan.