DE PERE (NBC 26) — In downtown De Pere, residents and tourists alike are able to experience all the recreation opportunities that the Fox River has to offer.
It wasn't always this way. For years the riverwalk project was stuck in the planning phase.
What seemed to be a long-shot has now been an integral part of the community for a decade. For De Pere parks director Marty Kosobucki it was a long road to get here.
"It took about five years of design, development, talks, discussions, approvals, fund-raising, before we could even get to a point where we could even think about putting a shovel into the ground," said Kosobucki.
Kosobucki said the process took even longer because they needed to get approval to develop on the government island historic district.
After the long and arduous planning and permitting process, the development took about three more years and two phases to get to the final product.
The before and after images of the waterfront show a stark difference.
Before the park's development, residents were unable to access the prime fishing and recreation real estate on government island.
The development has also helped local business owners along the water.
Brenna Spice is the general manager of the Ennis Inn. She says the hotel and restaurant has seen an uptick in business since the riverwalk development was completed.
"We've enjoyed a lot of increase in business just because of the riverwalk being here. A lot more wildlife photographers come here now that the pelicans are back and a lot more fishermen," said Spice.