The Fox River is Appleton’s most loved asset. The mighty river once provided the power for numerous mills in “The Flats”, the river banks and low islands that were developed with sawmills, paper mills, and other industrial uses. Over the past couple decades these sites have been transitioning from industrial to residential and commercial uses. The City sought advice on how to plan for the future of the area, including managing the transition period where residential and industrial uses may conflict.
Our plans for the area established a consensus vision for what the Flats may look like in the future, where community sentiment strongly favors reclaiming the water’s edge for recreation, and developing a trail system that will utilize abandoned railroad trestles crossing the river. Preservation is an important element for some buildings and for the locks and canal, which will be opened as a water trail. Most redevelopment sites will be targeted for residential development tied to the nearby downtown on one side of the river, and the downtown on the other bank.