City of Guttenberg explores street improvement plan as a way to boost tourism
It can be tough for small towns to attract tourists, and the city of Guttenberg is trying to change that. The mayor thinks investing in street improvements could be the solution.
Mayor Bill Frommelt says the city recently hired a consultant to create improvement plans for Schiller Street. It's a street that connects Highway 52 and River Park Drive. Frommelt hopes to make the street a gateway into the town's business district.
Around 5,000 people travel through town on Highway 52 each day, according to Frommelt. He believes improvements to Schiller Street could entice people to get off the highway, stop in town and visit the river park and stores.
"Guttenberg has about two miles of a riverfront park and we want to share that with other tourists and visitors that come through our town," he said. "Surprisingly, we have a lot of people that go down the highway, and they don’t even know we have an uptown and a river park.”
The plan calls for adding sidewalks, planting trees, installing lights, and more.
Frommelt said, "the approximate cost is about $1.8 million and we have applied for some grants and are going to be applying for more. Some of those are matching grants that we would have to come up with some money from our own city.”
The plan also calls for a "statement" piece that could be seen from Schiller St.
Frommelt would also like to buy an empty building that's at the corner of Schiller St. and Highway 52 and turn it into a welcome center.
“I’d like to move the welcome center down here so that people will stop and take a look," he said.
An increase in tourism could benefit local businesses. Joe's Pizza Manager Randi Bodish thought the plan sounded like a good idea.
"It would be nice to have another access point that looks really nice," she said.
As for the price, she didn't think it was too expensive. She said the city has, "spent more on different things in this town to help kind of beautify the town a little bit, so I don’t think it’s really unreasonable.”
Frommelt says the town is hosting a town hall meeting to discuss this project on Tuesday, November 5th. It's at 6 pm in the Municipal Building auditorium.