The Fox River Navigational System Authority has decided to forgo building a visitor center on Lawe Street in Appleton due to the current economic uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic.
FRNSA had looked at developing an interpretive center chronicling the history of the lock system in a multi-use building adjacent to Lock 3.
“Interpretive centers and museums across the country are either shut down or operating on reduced hours due to the pandemic,” FRNSA CEO Jeremy Cords said in a statement. “It is not responsible to invest substantial sums of money into this development when we are facing economic uncertainty and prolonged social distancing.”
The visitor center had been proposed as a major destination for school and group tours.
Cords said the organization will continue research on installing an electronic barrier at the closed Menasha lock to prevent the invasive round goby from entering the Lake Winnebago watershed through the lock. The research project is estimated to cost $120,000.
Of the 17 locks on the lower Fox River, all have been restored and are in working order. Nine of the locks are open for approximately 25 miles of navigation on the river. The five Kaukauna locks are expected to open in 2021 when repairs to the Veterans Memorial lift Bridge in downtown Kaukauna are complete.