JEFFERSON — Jefferson’s downtown development along the Rock River keeps rolling along, as the common council on Tuesday was updated on bidding for the Riverside Riverwalk extension.
The riverwalk extension project, which will run from near the Racine Street bridge north to the area of the new Riverside Lofts, will be open to bidding beginning Friday,
with a two-week window to follow.
According to city officials, the project will coincide with the opening of the Stable Rock Winery and Distillery in the former Rock Bottom tavern and the Riverside Lofts in the former Schweiger Industries building. Construction is slated to begin in the spring.
Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann called the riverwalk extension project “pretty aggressive” in its timing, adding that the two building remodeling projects are not wasting any time in coming to their realization, either.
Oppermann pointed out that the riverwalk will be of a boardwalk construction, something that is somewhat unique to cities along the Rock River.
“A lot of places have riverwalks,” Oppermann said, “but not that many have a boardwalk.”
He added that the boardwalk will be “extra-wide” and provide spots for people to fish.
“Both the distillery and the lofts are moving along quickly,” Oppermann said, noting the lofts will not only serve as homes/apartments, but also have art space to offer.
“There will be studio space at the lofts and we are looking at a partnership with the Arts Alliance of Jefferson,” Oppermann said. “This would be a good partnership and there is even the possibility that the Arts Alliance could locate offices within the lofts. The Gorman Company that is doing the project has made sure that the arts are a big part of all this.”
Oppermann said Jefferson City Administrator Tim Freitag recently visited the lofts to check on the construction and renovation processes and was impressed.
“Tim said, ‘It screams millennials,’ and he was very pleased with the progress up there,” Oppermann said.
A project that is running parallel to the distillery and lofts renovation work is the Northside Interceptor Sewer Project. The city currently does not have sufficient sewer capacity on the north side to support all of the development that is taking place. This project is designed to rectify that. A presentation on the interceptor project was made at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The Northside Interceptor Sewer Project will allow for more service to the interchange on the north side, where the BP, Burger King and a Best Western hotel are being located.
According to Oppermann, the cost of the project will be $900,000, with the city paying for $700,000 of it in revenue bonds and spending $200,000 in cash. Oppermann said the city is financially sound and the project should not cause it undue financial burden.
“The project will open up new areas for development for Jefferson,” Oppermann said.
In other business, aldermen approved the purchase of a skid steer loader, along with the hiring of a full-time patrol officer and part-time administrative assistant.
The patrol officer will be Jamison Hoff, who will move from part time to full time with the Jefferson Police Department. The administrative assistant will be Belinda Gallesky-Fuller.