Opening Up Food+Drink Development

ALL ABOARD TO THE YARD: Altoona’s Container Park Expected to Open in Late Summer

delays due to coding and safety regulations caused the park’s opening to be pushed, to open this summer

Megan Pettys |

BRINGIN' YOU TO THE YARD. Altoona's Container Park project, The Yard, has hit a few road bumps but is expected to open in late summer. (Submitted images)

Since the project was announced more than two years ago, the Chippewa Valley has been buzzing for the arrival of Altoona’s (and Wisconsin’s) first container park: “The Yard.” Located in on Division Street in downtown Altoona, The Yard will feature three eateries: EJ 2, owned by Cara Yang; Beast & Bonito, owned by Evan Mowry; and Ne-Ne Taco’s, owned by Rene and Rhoda Perez. There is also a taproom called the Iron Horse Saloon owned by Mark and Hope Anderson, and Coulee Boutique, owned by Anna Ledebuh. With construction working steadily, The Yard is slated to open later this summer.

Facilitated by the City of Altoona, project collaborators have been working diligently to bring an unforgettable experience as well as cultural relevance to residents and visitors alike. The Yard, which is situated directly in front of the railyard in Altoona, is inspired heavily by the railroading culture and historical significance in the area. But more than the inspiration, it was a great pathway to eliminating barriers for small businesses looking to enter the local scene. 

“There is a three-pillar structure for the project,” said Roy Atkinson, assistant city administrator of the City of Altoona. “We look at our downtown presently, and we don’t have a lot of buildings for business expansion. The first pillar would be downtown revitalization. Two, we want to eliminate barriers to entry for businesses. And three, we want to create a really cool space for our downtown. Those were the three big inspirations for The Yard.”

With such an ambitious and important project, the the city was fortunate to received a $1.38 million Neighborhood Investment Fund Grant from the state of Wisconsin in March 2022. “The grant was the big catalyst for all of this. If not for the grant, we probably would not have done this project,” Atkinson said. This funding has been implemented in building the containers for the vendors, the park atmosphere, as well as further experiences to be had at the Yard.

More than just a shopping and restaurant experience, the Yard plans to integrate the arts as well. There will be a stage on site to feature live music and dancing, while presenting an overall intimate space to socialize and enjoy Altoona. Although delays due to code and safety regulations have extended the anticipation, Atkinson maintains focus on delivering the best product. “To our knowledge, in the state of Wisconsin, no one has done something like this. We want to do it the right way,” Atkinson said.

The Yard is cautiously expected to open in the late summer of 2024. Keep up with the City of Altoona on Facebook.