Downtown Fond du Lac planning in the works

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
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Posted by of Insight Publications

Downtown
Fond du Lac may be getting ready for a makeover.

More
than 150 members of the public recently gathered for a four-day community
immersion workshop to discuss ways to revitalize the downtown, attract more
tourists and improve the area’s economic health. Through one-on-one interviews,
focus groups and community forums participants shared ideas about creating a
new downtown cultural arts district.

A cultural arts district would
leverage existing downtown facilities, as well as create new
arts, education and entertainment facilities in a central
downtown location, says events host Kevin Miller, executive director of the
Fond du Lac Arts Council. Essential access points to the proposed cultural district
include the North gateway as the main entrance to downtown located along Main
Street between Johnson Street and Merrill Avenue; and the river walk
encompassing the area adjacent to the Fond du Lac River and Hamilton Park
including a recreational trail.

“Our goal is to leverage Fond du
Lac’s existing assets and create new facilities for arts and entertainment to
encourage and stimulate business development,” Miller says. “This will help to
drive tourism in the area.”

Proposed ideas included new, upscale
restaurants, pubs, coffee houses, museums, gallery space, a venue for film
festivals, an open-air amphitheater, specialty shops, better-marked parking and
signage, university downtown classrooms, a community school for the arts and
historically consistent facades and lighting for the district.

Results of the Community Immersion
Workshop will be incorporated into a vision plan and shared with the public at
a community vision forum scheduled for April 29 at Windhover Center for the
Arts.

–By MaryBeth Matzek