About 30 people attended a presentation of plans to improve Mandt Park on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Those who spoke seemed mostly concerned with the proposed placement of streets and parking, and a vote showed a preference for a one-way access road.
MSA Professional Services delivered the presentation at the Stoughton Fire Department detailing three different concepts for a Mandt Park master plan, which would guide future improvements for the site and neighboring parcels.
Two of them would focus on the placement of streets and parking across the park. The other is centered around the needs of the Stoughton Fair. All would add a new park shelter, playground and splash pad.
The city hired MSA to help lead redevelopment of the Yahara River’s riverfront near Mandt Park and to help determine appropriate uses for the rest of the park. Master plan concepts included a restoration of Yahara River shoreline, a riverfront trail system and a kayak launch for a planned whitewater park.
There would also be a stormwater basin to help keep the park desaturated and a pedestrian bridge spanning the Yahara River, which would connect Mandt Park to a planned residential redevelopment of the city’s Redevelopment Authority. All of these riverfront improvements would be eligible for DNR grants.
The three master plan concepts will lead into a comprehensive master plan based on feedback from stakeholder group meetings and a community survey, MSA senior landscape architect Dan Williams said. He said it likely will be a combination of all three master plan concepts.
The project might also consist of phases, Mayor Tim Swadley said.
Each concept features the addition of greenspace and parking spaces. Troll Beach and the Mandt Center would not move.
The 1-mile riverfront trail system found in each concept would be a circular, multi-use path extending onto properties occupied by the Stoughton Area School District bus storage and the Stoughton wastewater treatment plant, respectively.
Alders hoped to free up more parking space for Mandt Park, asking about acquiring the bus storage property, but Ald. Regina Hirsch (Dist. 3) told the group school district officials were not interested.
The first concept is the only plan that retains a northern roadway close to the Yahara River. It would be part of a one-way “loop” road circling the majority of the park.
During a vote at the Oct. 15 presentation, five people advocated for the loop road in order to maintain handicap access to the Yahara for activities such as fishing, while also allowing semi trucks with easier navigation during Mandt Park’s annual Stoughton Fair. Opponents of the northern roadway citied a desire for better green space along the riverfront.
Option A is the only concept that preserves Mandt Park’s skate park, which would be adjacent to new park shelter, playground and splash pad. The plan also includes significant collection of buildings on the east side of the park, along with a couple of small pedestrian plazas to the north of the Mandt Center.
The second master plan concept is similar to option A, but it would eliminate the northern roadway and would feature only two-way streets, including one that will lead to a small parking site near the proposed kayak launch.
There would be a park shelter, playground and splash pad with dedicated parking located between the Mandt Center and the Troll Beach aquatic center, with the splash pad taking the place of the current skatepark.
Option B would also provide Troll Beach with a new bathhouse and a small pedestrian plaza, and Mandt Park would feature new Stoughton Fair buildings.
Designed with input from planners of the Stoughton Fair, MSA’s final master plan concept would reconfigure Mandt Park specifically for the 94-year-old event.
In a survey, MSA found Stoughton residents considered the Stoughton Fair to be the most important feature of the park.
Rather than pedestrian plazas, this concept features a large pedestrian mall in the middle of the park, with a vertical walkway running between the planned pedestrian bridge and Troll Beach, along with an intersecting horizontal path featuring one-way vehicular access.
The fair’s tractor pull track and grandstand would relocate to the northeast portion of the mall and would feature restrooms and concessions. New fair buildings would be at the southeast corner of the mall, while the Mandt Center would occupy the majority of the southwest corner. The entire northwest corner of the mall would be open space. Option C also features a larger Troll Beach bathhouse along with a playground and splash pad, and there would be a campground to the east of the aquatic center.
Anyone interested in providing comments on the master plan can submit them at stoughtonrec.com.