Janesville’s Town Square coming together
Officials hope to have part done by late September
JANESVILLE, Wis. — Construction crews were hard at work Tuesday as they reshaped the riverfront between the Milwaukee and Court street bridges in Janesville.
Crews are creating several new features as part of the city’s Town Square , which will give greater access to the Rock River.
“It’s really part of an exciting transformation in downtown Janesville, and we hope it becomes a destination for a lot of interest,” city engineer Mike Payne said.
Construction started in spring, after a parking deck over the river was demolished , and the hope is to be finished by late September. People driving or walking past can already see the steps of the river seating area coming together and the steps and ramp down to the water’s edge taking shape. Three poles in the water show where the floating dock will be, which will also have a launch for canoes and kayaks.
“For water sports, to be able to get on the water and enjoy the water, I believe allowing access for people to get right down to the water’s edge will certainly open up opportunities,” Payne said.
Right now, there is very little access to the river from downtown.
“There are these river walls, you can walk up to them and look at the river, but you’re typically several feet above the water,” John Beckord, Forward Janesville president, said. “And this changes that in that there is this area that steps down right to the water.”
Forward Janesville has raised money to pay for an interactive water feature that will have lights, misters and streams of water shooting out.
“I think it’s going to be the sort of thing that kids will love and adults will similarly be entertained,” Beckord said. “When you visit this community or people who live here have guests who come here, family, they will want to take people to this place and show it off.”
Forward Janesville is also raising money to build a pedestrian bridge that would span the Rock River.
“It won’t be your standard pedestrian bridge, it will be designed to be a place to gather,” Beckord said.
The riverfront revitalization project is just a small portion of the Town Square plan . The other parts include converting Milwaukee Street to two-way traffic, removing the parking deck and painting the Court Street bridge, which have all been completed. Up next is converting Court Street to two-way traffic, replacing the Milwaukee Street bridge, turning River Street into a festival street and rehabilitating West Milwaukee Street. Those projects are expected to be completed by 2020.
The Town Square project is part of a larger plan, called ARISE , to revitalize the entire expanse of the Rock River that flows through Janesville.
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