The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) selected Watertown’s Town Square and Riverwalk to receive a Knowles Nelson Stewardship grant in the amount of $907,636 from the Urban Rivers and Acquisition and Development of Local Parks (ADLP) sub-programs.
“This is a fantastic project for the Watertown community,” said Senator John Jagler (R-Watertown). “After talking with my colleagues during the review period and answering questions, I’m proud that the State chose to support this. A project of this nature has the potential to have a regional impact.”
The Riverwalk along the edge of the Rock River, is part of the 55.8 mile Glacial River Trail, extending from Janesville to Wild Goose State Trail in Juneau. The primary purpose of the Town Square project is to create an activity center in the heart of Watertown with the goal of revitalizing downtown living, dining, and recreation by reconnecting visitors and the community to the Rock River.
This grant, part of the federal Recreational Trails Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund programs, is administered by the Wisconsin DNR in conjunction with the Stewardship local assistance grants. These programs fund projects that provide outdoor recreation opportunities for the public, enhance the use of water-based activities, and provide support for the development of high-quality outdoor recreation amenities in local communities.
“The DNR is pleased to award this grant to Watertown’s Town Square,” said Cheryl Housley of the Wisconsin DNR. “This project aligns perfectly with the criteria of the grant, including the promotion of outdoor recreation opportunities by providing greater access to the Rock River with the installation of an accessible platform for paddlers to dock and launch.”
The Riverwalk will be paved with 100% recycled porcelain aggregate pavers. Other building materials, including the cable railing system used to border the Rock River, will contain a mix of consumer- and industry-generated recyclables. Once complete the Trail will shift away from Water Street through the Town Square to the Rock River shoreline, eventually re-merging with the Glacial River Trail at Milwaukee Street.
“We are very thankful to the DNR for this award and to Senator Jagler for his hard work advocating on behalf of the region with his fellow legislators to achieve their support for this grant,” said Rob Marchant, Chair of the Watertown Redevelopment Authority (RDA). “With this grant, we are continuing to build on what has been an active summer for the RDA.” In August, the organization finalized a development agreement with TWall Enterprises to construct a 90-unit, mixed-use building directly adjacent to the Town Square. After a successful summer of fundraising provided matching funds for this grant award, the RDA started off the fall season by securing DNR permits and approvals to reconstruct the seawall along the Rock River. “The vision of the Town Square is becoming a reality,” Marchant continued. “It will be exciting to see construction begin in the Spring, as we create an organized way to manage the Square and ensure it hosts great programming throughout the year for the entire community.”