Recently, the City has seen questions popping up on social media about the Prescott Riverfront. Wanting to address some of the concerns we put together some questions and answers. After reading, please feel free to give us a call if you have additional questions regarding the Riverfront property (715-262-5544).
What land does the City of Prescott currently own?
The City of Prescott currently owns 5.2 acres of land along the riverfront. A map of the land the City currently owns is below detailing the riverfront phases. This includes the public boat launch, the riverfront walkway, the courtesy dock, Mercord Mill Park, and the land currently leased to Leo’s Landing and Point St. Croix Marina. A portion of the land the City does not own was developed in 2003 that created the Eagles Point Condominiums. As part of this project, the City of Prescott established a tax increment district (TID). The purpose of the TID per the 2003 Project Plan creating the district was to “eliminate blighted areas, stimulate economic growth and revitalize the City’s downtown by providing incentives for existing and future private investment in the City”. The project plan for the TID #4 and the TID #4 Map can be found at the links below.
Does the City have a vision for what they want to do with the riverfront?
Yes, since 2015 the City has been working on developing concepts for moving the riverfront to a community resource that all of the public can enjoy. This begins with the City’s Comprehensive Plan that calls out the future land use for this area to be parks. Further the City’s Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan gives proposed improvements to Jacques Park Public Boat Ramp (pg. 31), Mercord Mill Park (pg. 36) and the Riverwalk (pg. 39). These improvements include restoring the shoreline, exploring options for additional dock space, new restrooms, trail connections, signage to and from other trail systems, adding a fishing pier, replacing the boat launch, and improving the overall aesthetics and parking area.
This work culminated in Phase 1 of the Prescott Riverfront project was completed last year. The finalized plan is below. The work included adding a courtesy dock, overlook decks, decorative fencing, lighted concrete path, greenspace with benches, and adding improved aesthetics.
Phase 2 of the Prescott Riverfront project has already begun with the approval of the replacement of the boat launch, and a new fishing pier scheduled to be installed this summer. Further planning for the 2nd phase of the riverfront has been undertaken by the Parks and Public Works Committee starting at their meeting on March 20, 2023. The committee will continue discussions regarding phase 2 planning throughout 2023. If you are interested in learning more about what has been discussed the agenda packets and minutes can be found at the following link: https://www.prescottwi.org/AgendaCenter
How did City pay for the 1st phase of the riverfront project and how are they going to pay for the 2nd phase?
The City of Prescott received a Wisconsin Department of Transportation grant for over $600,000 to complete the work. Additionally, the TID that was established in 2003 set a project plan that laid how the money generated by the TID could be used. As a result the City utilized TID #4 along with the WisDOT grant to pay for the 1st phase of the riverfront project and plans to do the same for the second phase of the riverfront project. To learn more about Tax Increment Districts in the State of Wisconsin you can visit the following website: https://www.revenue.wi.gov/DOR%20Publications/tif-manual.pdf. TID #4 will be closing on March 3, 2030 with the final expenditure date of March 3, 2025.
We heard the City isn’t extending the lease with Leo’s Landing, do they have the right to do that?
The City Council, at their April 24, 2023 meeting, discussed in closed session the current lease agreement with Leo’s Landing and decided not to move forward with negotiating a new lease extension. This is not a decision made lightly and we understand the passionate feelings that the boating community has in marinas, especially customers of Leo’s Landing. The City completed a Waterfront Assessor’s Plat back in 2019 that delineated all the property lines in preparation for the work to be done along the riverfront. This work was done by a certified surveyor and showed the City held full ownership of the land along the riverfront from the Highway 10 bridge to the boat launch. A title search completed by Pierce County Abstract & Title Company on January 4, 2022 further verified the City ownership.
What does this mean for the other lease agreement held with Point St. Croix Marina?
Nothing, the current lease agreement with Point St. Croix Marina goes through December 31, 2030 and any decisions made on that agreement and its possible extension would be made by the City in 2029 or 2030.
Did the City force businesses to make improvements to the property the City owns?
The City currently has two lease agreements and in neither of the agreements does the City have the right to force either of the leaseholders to make improvements on City property. More specifically, all fuel tanks and distribution systems are regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and are fully owned by the marinas.
I heard the City plans to develop more condominiums or sell portions of the riverfront?
Currently the City has no plans to sell any portion of the riverfront to developers or expand the density along the riverfront on City owned land. The owners of 214 Front Street and 20 Orange Street have come forward with a proposal to develop a mixed-use space that would include commercial space on the ground floor and condominiums on subsequent floors by redeveloping the building currently on the lot. The Plan Commission and City Council respectively did approve a concept plan but that does not mean they have full approval for the development, only that they can begin planning for bringing a full site plan for review by the Plan Commission and City Council. Additionally, a concept plan does not include a full review by staff, it only goes over high-level details.
Why is the City removing parking?
The City has held the position that generally speaking the riverfront is an amenity we want people to enjoy and not best used by asphalt for vehicles to occupy. Although 11 spaces were removed as part of the 1st phase of the riverfront, the City has developed 70 spots in the Orange and Cherry Street parking lots. The plan is to further expand the Cherry Street lot in 2024.
TID #4 Approved Project Plan
TID #4 Map
Riverfront Project 1st Phase
Riverfront Phases Map