Vision moving west

City exploring options for upgrading riverfront parking area west of Stafford Street
by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff


TWO OPTIONS FOR upgrading the parking area south of Mill Street and west of Stafford Street were presented at a public information meeting last week by city officials and MSA Professional Services. The proposal, part of the Mullet River Corridor Study prepared by MSA, would maintain public and private parking in the area while connecting and completing the riverwalk between Stafford and Milwaukee streets. At the same time, it would create additional landcaping, green space and other features in the area. Vehicle access to the parking area from Stafford Street would be changed under both plans. — Plans courtesy MSA Professional Services TWO OPTIONS FOR upgrading the parking area south of Mill Street and west of Stafford Street were presented at a public information meeting last week by city officials and MSA Professional Services. The proposal, part of the Mullet River Corridor Study prepared by MSA, would maintain public and private parking in the area while connecting and completing the riverwalk between Stafford and Milwaukee streets. At the same time, it would create additional landcaping, green space and other features in the area. Vehicle access to the parking area from Stafford Street would be changed under both plans. — Plans courtesy MSA Professional Services PLYMOUTH – They like what they’ve seen to their east and they’d like it to continue west.

With the renovation of the Mullet River waterfront area east of Stafford Street nearly complete, city officials held a meeting Wednesday for Mill Street property owners and residents west of Stafford to unveil ideas for the parking lot in that area.

Before nearly 20 people at the American Legion post building, Mayor Donald Pohlman, City Administrator Brian Yerges and Stephen Tremlett of MSA Professional Services presented several concept plans.

Yerges emphasized that any improvements in the area are still in the very early planning stages.

“The earliest we could do anything would be 2020,” Yerges told the audience. “This is still at the 50,000-feet planning level. A lot of moving pieces would have to happen,” before any changes reach ground level, he added.

“At this point, we’re just trying to paint a vision and see what the feedback is from property owners,” Yerges said.

The plan originated in the Mullet River Corridor Study done for the city several years ago by MSA.

“One of the signature projects that came out of that was the Stayer Park project,” Yerges said of the MSA study.

The study covered the entire river corridor through the city. One emphasis in the downtown area was filling in gaps in the riverwalk system along the Mullet and one of those gaps is between Stafford Street and the railroad bridge over the Mullet between Stafford and Milwaukee streets.

That is one portion of both options Tremlett presented.

In both, what is now the southern edge of the parking lot along the river would become a bike/recreational trail, with green space and enhancements on either side of the trail.

One concern raised was about maintaining available parking for businesses, tenants and groups in the area.

“We don’t want to lose any spaces for our meetings,” Gene Blindauer of the Legion stated.

Both Yerges and Tremlett emphasized that the same or nearly the same number of parking spaces, both public and private, as exist now behind Mill Street would be maintained.

“The first thing we looked at was how many (parking) spaces are here so they can be maintained or increased,” Tremlett said.

“If you have private parking now, you will keep it,” Pohlman assured those present. “If you have three spaces now, you will end up with three spaces. That’s by agreement with the city and each property owner.”

Yerges stressed that any improvements or upgrades in the area would require a buy-in from all affected property owners in order for the plan to work.

“The city either works with just the property we own or we work with all the private property owners. If there’s a buyin from the property owners if they keep their parking then we will go ahead,” Yerges stated.

Both options would also change the access off Stafford Street to the parking area.

The major change would be to create a new entrance to the lot in the space between the Legion building and the 52 Stafford Inn.

In one plan, the current drive off Stafford south of the Legion building would become a one-way exit only, with the new drive to the north a one-way entrance.

In the other, the new drive would be an entrance and exit, with the existing drive to the south closed to vehicles and made part of the bike/ recreational trail.

That engendered discussion as to what would be the best plan for large trucks that use the parking area for deliveries to Mill Street businesses.

“That would be something that would really have to be thought of carefully,” Allechant Boutique owner Jackie Pottratz commented.

In answer to a question from the audience, Tremlett noted that whatever is decided to accommodate delivery trucks would also make the new parking area accessible for fire and other emergency vehicles.

A feature of both options would be an enhanced trail crossing on Stafford Street.

Tremlett noted that the trail is on the south side of the river east of Stafford, but switches to the north side west of Stafford.

The proposal would be to install a signal system with a button that trail users could push before crossing Stafford, similar to the pedestrian crossing buttons at most intersections with stop-and-go lights.

The button would trigger a warning signal for traffic on Stafford Street in both directions that a trail user is crossing the street ahead.

Two possible locations for the trail crossing were shown on the plans. One would be where the current entrance drive is located if that is closed to vehicles, the other to the north by the north edge of the Legion building.

Audience members expressed advantages to either one, with increased visibility for trail users and vehicle traffic on Stafford Street the major concern.

Those in attendance expressed support for the effort to upgrade the parking area, which would include new trees, plants and landscaping.

There could also be an ornamental or art/sculpture feature to enhance the area, Tremlett said.

All of that, attendees agreed, would be a major upgrade to the area, which some noted, can sometimes be a dumping area and often unsightly.

“I would like to see this side match that side,” said Pottratz, referring to the west and east sides of Stafford Street.

“Already that improvement on the other side (of Stafford) has been amazing,” she continued. “It’s really great to see. We’re all so pleased.

“We’re working diligently to bring customers into downtown and improve its appearance, and this would help,” Pottratz said of the proposal.


Most recent cover pages:













Poll
POLL: Do you think Elkhart Lake made the right decision in not allowing Strawberry the pot-bellied pig?:

Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505


Women's Civic Society