Is The Riverfront Part of Downtown Appleton?

Is the riverfront becoming part of Downtown Appleton?  Technically, it is not part of the business improvement district and is not officially recognized as Downtown Appleton.  Yet, many riverfront business owners are paying members of Appleton Downtown Inc. (ADI), help to support downtown events and even volunteer on downtown committees!

Several clues point to the growing perception that the riverfront is, in fact, part of Downtown Appleton:

  • The winner of last year’s photo contest held by ADI featured a riverfront photo.  Several runner-up photos featured the Fox River in some way.
  • The Johnson Bank Downtown Trolley makes a continuous loop of the downtown and riverfront every 30 minutes, Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Saturday during the summer.
  • Valley Transit recently added The Link, a hybrid bus route that links College Avenue to the riverfront.  This bus follows the same route as the trolley to provide a riverfront connection during the trolley’s off-hours.
  • New trails are being planned throughout the riverfront area to help link various destinations to the central business district.
  • Riverfront destinations are within walking distance, just down the hill from Lawrence University and/or College Avenue.
  • Several downtown employees, students and residents use the existing riverfront walking/biking trails each day.
  • ADI board president Trevor Frank represents riverfront business Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH), located in the historic Atlas Mill.
  • More people are recognizing that Appleton’s riverfront adds new tourism appeal by providing  visitors with a destination that offers both cultural and recreational opportunities.
  • The Municipal Services Committee is considering a shared-use path originating at W. Prospect at the Jackman St. bridge, and continuing down to Water Street to provide improved access to the river.
  • Appleton Downtown Inc. Board of Directors identified the development of a riverfront BID as a strategic task to work on in 2013.

All of these connections point to the idea the the riverfront IS part of the downtown.  The hustle and bustle of College Ave and the urban wilderness along the riverfront each exude a unique ambiance, but they also share a sense of community and charm.  Next time you are in Downtown Appleton, catch a ride on the trolley or The Link and travel the loop to explore all that Downtown Appleton has to offer!

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There's so much to like about Downtown Appleton. Thanks to its 60+ distinctive shops ... 50+ casual, fine dining and ethnic restaurants... nearly 30 pubs, clubs and live music hot spots ... a leading performing arts center and world-class visual arts gallery ... family-friendly activities and attractions ... a variety of coffee shops and gathering places ... PLUS Northeast Wisconsin's best events, Downtown Appleton is a favorite destination for many -- and it just keeps getting better and better!

One thought on “Is The Riverfront Part of Downtown Appleton?”

  1. My wife and I live in the Fox River Mill Apts and certainly consider ourselves residents of downtown. You made a few mentions about enhancing trails and creating paths within the downtown region, and I certainly hope that the city is putting some serious effort behind this. I think developing ample recreation opportunities is a key to making the city more attractive, livable and healthy. Particularly for young professional residents. Having just moved here, the lack of adequate, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure stands as one major reason we’ll consider moving. The trails that exist are either way to short (Newberry), dangerous (the CE), or shadeless, ugly afterthoughts (the Fox Paper Trail? please). Pedestrian rights are laughable–i’m nearly hit every day by cars–and development patterns throughout the region favor low-density sprawl that creates pockets of ugly surface streets, potential traffic issues, and disconnected, isolated communities. If the city and downtown want to attract an educated, upwardly mobile tax base, ample recreational activities and a vibrant urban center are absolutely essential. It’s what we want and expect. I’ve from SE Wisconsin, have lived in bigger cities and smaller cities throughout the state and country, and despite hearing about how great the trails and outdoors were here, unless you want to get in your car and drive 10+ miles to avoid having to run or bike on a highway or subdivision, you’re basically out of luck. This can’t be said of urban centers in La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Waukesha, etc… I really, truly hope this changes.

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