City Council hears presentation about improving St. Feriole Island

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By Ted Pennekamp


Olivia Breuer, who will be a senior pursuing a bachelor of design in architecture degree at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall, gave a presentation about improving St. Feriole Island to the Prairie du Chien City Council Tuesday night.

Breuer, a 2017 River Ridge graduate, said she was told by her professor to go for big and bold ideas, thus a few of the improvements she had listed in her 16-page presentation and slide show entitled “The Island” might be considered somewhat unrealistic. Most, however, are quite doable.

Breuer published a community feedback survey for anyone who had visited the island. The questions asked participants about their frequency and utilization of the site, as well as any recommendations they may have for improvements.

Breuer said flood mitigation efforts to improve the island could involve underground systems to capture the water and also having these systems connected to the city’s water and sewer system. Pervious pavement of the sidewalks and some streets would help more water to permeate into the ground better. The use of cisterns, rain barrels, natural plantings and bio-swales could slow the flow of rain.

Land expansion and re-programming could involve buying railroad land so rail cars don’t block access. Breuer noted that this is probably the most unrealistic recommendation. Other projects could include creating more walking paths, reducing the number of roads that need to be maintained, and creating an emphasis on the significance of historic sites by creating a pedestrian friendly village.

Recreation and tourism recommendations are designating multi-purpose green space, have more strategic parking so that all vehicles aren’t parked on the grass at large events,  have more parking on Water Street during large events, and restore all historic sites to their original state and have them open year ‘round (perhaps on raised ground).

New construction and business opportunities can involve having a waterfront restaurant, incorporate technologies such as floating buildings and raised land masses, and bring in popular local businesses capable of operating year ‘round to promote higher utilization of the island.

Following Breuer’s presentation, the council was introduced to new Crawford County Community Development Educator Jessica Spayde. Spayde told the council they will be seeing a lot of her in her duties of supporting the initiatives of Driftless Development Inc., including the Prairie du Chien Main Street Program. She will also be helping other downtowns in communities throughout Crawford County.

In other business, the council unanimously approved of recreating a section of an ordinance involving Class A liquor licenses. The new Casey’s General Store requested a Class A liquor license. The city previously had a quota of four such licenses. Now, there will be no quota, and Class A licenses can be dealt with by the council on an as needed basis. Class A liquor licenses involve liquor stores, convenience stores and similar businesses.

In further business, the council decided to postpone discussion about an ordinance to establish ATV and UTV routes in the city and to regulate their operation.

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