Stoughton riverfront project proposal poised to bring major changes

STOUGHTON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Stoughton Riverfront Project is nearly a decade in the making.

“We’ve been waiting for ten years for this moment,” said Redevelopment Authority Chair Roger Springman. “I’m glad to say the dream is becoming a reality.”

Last week, the project was presented to the public to a crowd of dozens eager to ask questions and learn more about the plan.

It includes development of a 300-unit apartment complex in the 11-acres adjacent to the river.

“We believe that once people are here, they’ll understand why the people that live here stay here,” said City of Stoughton Mayor Tim Swadley.

The overall vision for the riverfront also includes restructuring of the river to make a whitewater park available for activities like canoeing, tubing, and kayaking.

“It will be Wisconsin’s first family based park for whitewater sports and activities,” Springman said.

The Stoughton Parks and Recreation Department is working with a consultant in Colorado on the whitewater park.

Another upgrade to the project includes creating a bike trail which would connect Stoughton to trails in downtown Madison making it an active, living environment.

“Where people who like watersports or walking or biking can go somewhere and do something fun,” said Springman.

The former power plant will eventually be turned into a restaurant overlooking the river.

“It’s going to be turned into an eatery or a tavern, so people are going to be able to enjoy the river and enjoy watching people do watersports,” Springman said.

With all these activities taking place two blocks away from Main Street, there’s a hope it will help bring traffic to the downtown and vice versa.

“To get people from the downtown to come down here, to get wet in the river eventually or to buy a drink or get some food at the power plant,” he said. “So that there’s an interchange of people going back and forth between here and the downtown.”

While all the changes are forward thinking, the project also wants to ensure Stoughton’s rich history remains.

“To continue this authentic nature of Stoughton,” said Springman. “We’re always going to try and stay Stoughton.”

Swadley says the project will end up making the riverfront worth $50 million dollars.

“The challenge for us to try and balance and create enough opportunity for those types buildings to go up yet preserving those types of recreational opportunities the community can enjoy,” Swadley said.

On September 11th, the seven commissioners on the Redevelopment Authority will vote to go ahead with developer Curt Vaughn Brink LLC’s plan.