Planning the future of the Fox River in Oshkosh

OSHKOSH – For years the Fox River was the industrial center in Oshkosh. Now city leaders and residents are considering the next chapter.

“I think Oshkosh is doing a good job at this point. I think there’s plenty of room for improvement, but they’re making headway on that effort,” said John Forster.

The city’s already started some riverfront projects like building a river walk, building the Leach Amphitheater and helping renovate the waterfront hotel. But there is still a lot of room for redevelopment.

“It is probably one of our most important assets. So it’s important that we get it right and in order to get it right we need to get the people from the community down here to give us ideas,” explained Oshkosh’s planning director Darryn Burich.

Wednesday the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission asked the community for those ideas. Instead of handing out surveys, they had people plot out suggestions on maps.

“All ideas are good. There’s no right, there’s not wrong. Even the strange ideas can trigger a lot of different thoughts and opportunities,” explained Eric Fowle, executive director of the East Central Wisconsin Planning Commission.

“What we should be doing with the scale of the buildings, what type of usage should be in them and access along the river,” continued Burich.

Forster told FOX 11 he’d like to see things like small parks, water access and most of all…

“We need businesses to start looking at the river and turning their front ends around to face the water,” he said.

But Forster also told us he does not want to see houses along the river.

“Not real giant buildings right next to the river, I think you need to keep it esthetically so it looks good,” he added.

(There were a lot of different ideas. The plan is to combine them into one big picture.

“When you layer them one upon another, you can start to see consensus that’s built, where those lines overlap in places,” explained Fowle, and use that as a frame for future projects.

There will be another meeting next Wednesday from eleven to one at Beckett’s in Oshkosh.

Eventually, the planning commission will include the community’s ideas in its report to the city council this fall.

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