Fitchburg updates redevelopment plans for North Fish Hatchery Road Corridor

Posted by on Jan 21, 2020 in News | 0 comments

Fitchburg updates redevelopment plans for North Fish Hatchery Road Corridor

FITCHBURG, WISC. (with excerpts from unifiednewsgroup.com) – The City of Fitchburg is proactively updating its plans with a clear vision that would transform the North Fish Hatchery Road area into a vibrant gateway corridor and cohesive neighborhood reflective of Fitchburg’s community goals. That area was listed as a priority in the 2018-2022 Forward Fitchburg strategic plan.

City of Fitchburg economic development director Michael Zimmerman explains the corridor’s transformational potential. “That north end of Fish Hatchery Road is the older section of the City that developed when we were still a Town, so it needed some attention and reinvestment.” Zimmerman said that, as redevelopment in recent years has helped revitalize major corridors of the Madison area such as East Washington Avenue, Park Street and Monona Drive, “our intent was that public sector investment here would also spur private reinvestment.” 

The visioning presentation for this part of Fitchburg suggested a fully developed plan could add $300 million in value to the City.

The City has already expanded the tax-increment financing district in that area TID 10 to encapsulate the majority of the corridor in order to fund the rebuild of North Fish Hatchery Road.

Scott Harrington, a principal planner with Vandewalle and Associates, Inc., explained the importance of having a clear redevelopment plan in place to guide developers. “Instead of reacting to private development proposals as they come forward, with you putting out your own vision and ideas, then they react to you,” he said. “That puts you in a stronger position to really make sure that your goals are met and these properties are optimized.”

Three sites in the corridor have already begun redevelopment that’s being guided by the visioning plan. This includes senior living apartments on Traceway, the recently opened UW Credit Union Branch to the north and Park Bank on the city’s northern border, which plans to rebuild its branch next year.

Another half-dozen sites along the corridor are being marketed for redevelopment, Harrington said.

One of the primary motivations of redevelopment is increasing the value of properties in an area. Yet some alders expressed concerns about the consequences for existing businesses and residents. For that reason, affordable housing will likely play a role in the redevelopment of the southeast corner of the redevelopment area.

“We think there may be real potential here to include some starter or for-sale housing that would be at a price point that more folks could afford, and address some of the things that (Fitchburg) brought out in the housing study  last year, as well as some of what is in your Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative,” Harrington said.

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