High river holding up Villa Louis Boat Landing Project

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A sidewalk has been completed at the Villa Louis Boat Landing.

Part of the new boat ramp has been constructed at the Villa Louis Boat Landing. (Photos by Ted Pennekamp)

By Ted Pennekamp


So far this year, the Mississippi River refuses to go down and stay down. The continued high water has hampered the much anticipated Villa Louis Boat Landing Project on St. Feriole Island.

Parts of the project have been done in recent months but the rest of the project has been untouched for quite some time. The river stage at the McGregor gauge was at 12.5 feet on June 17. It got down to just above 9 feet on June 23. On June 30 it was at 9.92 feet, and it is expected to go up to 10.5 feet by July 7, according to the National Weather Service.

Owens Excavating and Trenching of Hazel Green had been working on the project within the past couple of months. Part of a sidewalk and part of a boat ramp have been built. There are piles of rocks waiting to be put in place. A representative of Owens Excavating said they would like to complete the project as soon as possible but the high water has stopped them from completing the boat ramp and other portions of the project. It was noted that the boat ramp will go approximately 60 feet into the river so as to prevent the creation over time of a scour hole at the end of the ramp due to people who power load their boats.

“It was supposed to have been finished,” said Prairie du Chien City Administrator Chad Abram. “But, the high water is preventing the work.” Abram said the city is hoping work can begin again soon.

Meanwhile some anglers have been using the old boat ramps at the landing, as well as the new parking lot.

When completed, the Villa Louis Boat Landing will include an asphalt parking lot with 31 vehicle-trailer stalls and 13 vehicle stalls. The parking lot is in place but the stall markings have not been painted yet.

Other improvements will include railroad crossing improvements, a proposed trail, a stormwater management area, proposed Americans with Disabilities Act parking, a proposed fishing pier, floating docks near the existing boat ramps, a new asphalt driveway, and a new concrete boat ramp downstream from the existing boat ramps. The new boat ramp will be approximately 80 feet long, with most of it in the river at any given time, according to a rendering by Vierbicher Planners/Engineers/Advisors of Prairie du Chien.

The total cost of the project is $481,360.77, including engineering and permitting. A Recreational Boating Facilities Grant provided $207,973. Boat launch fees collected by the city to help pay for the project totalled $207,973. Capital borrowing amounted to $41,890. Donations came to $23,524.77. 

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