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What's coming to Water Street in Menasha by the end of next year?

Water Street plans
Posted at 6:26 PM, Nov 07, 2023
  • Redeveloping Water Street has been a passion project for Mayor Don Merkes for about 20 years.
  • Plans for the street were completed in 2019, and the city got a grant for it in 2022.
  • Watch to see some of the features that will be included in the redevelopment of the historic Menasha area.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Anyone living in Menasha knows that Water Street is ready for a facelift. I'm your Menasha Neighborhood Reporter Darby McCarthy, and I talked to Mayor Don Merkes about what plans the city has cooking.

“Our plan here is to connect Loop the Lake the trail system back to downtown Menasha. This has been kind of a goal of mine since the early 2000s.”

Plans for the future of Water Street were completed in 2019.

"We want to make this more pedestrian-friendly."

Then, in 2022, the city got a Neighborhood Investment Grant worth more than $2 million to work on this plan.

Mayor Merkes says that the Fox River Loch may be reopening in the next two years.

"This path that's along the waterfront that kind of meanders along the waterfront will become a biking slash walking trail."

"We're looking at a small seating area, something that can bring you to close to the water there as well."

The goal is to give people easier access to the waterfront.

"Is there a reason behind the shape that you went with here?"

"It’s just a little bit more natural shape. It, it won't be super curvy, but it will be somewhat curvy to allow us to do a little bit more with landscaping and some more interest — visual interest, you might say."

"We're also looking at a new gateway feature, some sort of an arch that would be similar to what you'd see both on the Trestle and the Loop the Lake section, which would be this feature."

"Over the top of my head here."

So they're planning to slope the ground gradually, until it's closer to the height of the river.

“You can get down with a stroller or if you have a wheelchair or something like that."

"This is kind of the endpoint. This is where we connect back to downtown Menasha, so we're going to have a new crossing that comes across Tayco Street here. We also hope to find a redevelopment opportunity in this gorgeous historic building."

When it's all finished, it might look a little something like this: a riverwalk spot on the other side of the Tayco Street Bridge.

Community Development Director Schroeder says that construction will be done by the end of next year.