Whitewater Map October 2019

The map of the proposed whitewater park in downtown Stoughton as of October.

The City of Stoughton will try a second time to obtain a more than $1.7 million grant for the Yahara Riverfront.

The Common Council approved a grant submission to the state Department of Revenue for Phase 2 of the redevelopment. If awarded in full, the grant would provide 50% of the funds to construct a Fourth Street underpass, trail improvements from Fourth Street to Water Street, a pedestrian seating area and a pavilion.

The grant would also help pay for whitewater park paddling improvements, which include reconstruction of the Fourth Street Dam, a portion of the project that some residents have adamantly opposed. The restructuring would include creating mini pools to help hold back the water and create a whitewater-like flow.

The city does not have to move forward with the project even if the grant is awarded, a memo from Dan Glynn parks and recreation director states. But Mayor Tim Swadley and Ald. Regina Hirsch (Dist. 3) said that the deadline for the grant is approaching and if the city does not apply, it would have to wait another year and a half to apply.

Ald. Fred Hundt (D-4) was the sole vote against the amendment, stating he felt it would make more sense for the city to finalize a decision on the whitewater park project before applying for the grant.

The $1.7 million grant provides half of the cost for Phase 2, which is roughly $3.4 million.

In total, Yahara River restoration and development project rehabilitates a portion of the Yahara River near downtown including shoreline improvements, adding trails, building a pedestrian bridge and a potential whitewater park. The project has secured $668,980 worth of grants through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Idle Sites grant and the state Department of Natural Resources Stewardship and $138,429 for the DNR Land Water Conservation Fund.

City staff plans to reapply for the state DNR Municipal Flood Control grant ($212,500), and will consider applying a second time for the The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant. The city applied for that grant through the U.S Department of Transportation and was denied the $5.6 million in September.

Glynn added that the city expects to have $875,000 in impact fees and the riverfront redevelopment would be eligible to use them.

Contact Mackenzie Krumme at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.