Altoona Wants Your Input on River Prairie Drive

Marni Kaldjian |

The City of Altoona wants your opinion on a future development. Following in the footsteps of Eau Claire’s Confluence meetings earlier this year, Altoona hopes to gather citizen input on how to develop their newest blank slate, River Prairie’s northwest quadrant – a city-owned, 52-acre property north of River Prairie Drive and west of Highway 53. Planning and development was unanimously approved at Altoona’s last City Council meeting, and a public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Staff from the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Committee (WCWRPC), recently trained by an organization called the Project for Public Spaces (PPS), hopes to aid in generating ideas for making River Prairie “an enhanced urban fabric,” according to Jay Tappen, WCWRPC Director. “The idea is to inspire the audience and let them know what is possible. Then, through the facilitated session, they’ll have an opportunity to explore that and come up with ideas,” says Tappen.

According to Tappen, there are four characteristics that make a great place (something extensively researched by PPS), and that will be presented at the meeting. Uses and activities, access and linkages, comfort and image, and sociability – that the place is welcoming and draws people in. These four things, says Tappen, don’t have any particular design, but would help “take advantage of the amenities there, whether it be shopping, dining, or open space.”

In a press release, Altoona City Manager Mike Golat expressed the desire for as many thoughtful opinions as possible. “We hope to attract people that see the value of creating an amazing place and that are willing to make an investment to be part of it.” If you’d like to be a part of this unique opportunity to plan Altoona’s communal future, think about attending this meeting.

A public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 6pm in the Altoona Middle School commons at 1903 Bartlett Ave.