The onetime industrial area known as Peaceful Valley has been transformed into a community park and festival space.
Crews from Kautza Excavating of Birnamwood are putting the finishing touches on the redevelopment project bound by Fifth and Sixth Avenues and Spring Brook and Field Street, and those who haven’t visited the area recently would be astounded by the changes.
The site was originally the railroad beltline, with a number of industrial businesses as well as the Dakin coal yard and the Antigo Co-op Oil Association. It was also subject to flooding when Spring Brook overflowed its banks, most recently in late March, 2004.
Sensing a need to repair a scar across the east end of downtown, the city secured a brownfield site assessment grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce for $150,000 and also earmarked funds from the tax incremental finance district established along Sixth Avenue in the area of CoVantage Credit Union.
The design met a number of challenges, including capping a contaminated area left behind by previous industrial usage with a blacktop parking lot along with development of a community festival area.
The finished product includes a raised patio area that can be used as a potential stage; ample power for festival or farm market vendors with 20 separate 120 volt 20 amp outlets; and an additional power panel with the ability to handle larger groups or events.
There is also landscaping, decorative lighting, sidewalks and bike path that will connect to the Spring Brook trail from Sixth Avenue to north of Second Avenue.
“The trees planted increase our urban forest and species are consistent with our park plans and urban forest plant,” Mark Desotell, the city’s director of administrative services, explained. “The landscaping is consistent with the existing trail.”
The festival area will serve as a linchpin of the redevelopment project in that entire area of the community, which also included road and infrastructure construction on Sixth and Seventh avenues and Field Street totaling $2.4 million.
“The mayor and council were instrumental in moving this project forward,” Desotell said.
Others involved included Charley Brinkmeier, civil technician/surveyor; Beth McCarthy, surveyor technician; Sarah Repp, park, recreation and cemetery supervisor; Bob Piskula, street commissioner; Kaye Matucheski, clerk-treasurer; Scott Martin of MSA Professional Services; and crew members from the street and parks departments.