North Fish Hatchery Road vision and redevelopment take shape

Posted by on Mar 21, 2022 in News | Comments Off on North Fish Hatchery Road vision and redevelopment take shape

North Fish Hatchery Road vision and redevelopment take shape

FITCHBURG, WISC. (WITH EXCERPTS FROM MADISON.COM): Now that the City of Fitchburg has finished a $20 million reconstruction of the North Fish Hatchery Road corridor, the area is being eyed for an urban renewal, something akin to the growth Madison’s East Washington Avenue has experienced in the last decade.

The 1.6-mile reconstruction project, with corridor vision prepared by planning and economic development firm Vandewalle & Associates, and construction designed and managed by Fitchburg-based KL Engineering, started in 2020.

It included improvements to address intersection safety and traffic congestion, replacement of deteriorating road infrastructure and stormwater facilities, new traffic signals and street lighting, plantings, as well as upgrades to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, including a pedestrian bridge over Nine Springs Creek, and converting a 5-foot sidewalk into a 10-foot multi-use path.

With the work done, more private investors are likely to take note of North Fish Hatchery Road’s potential, Zimmerman said. That could bring more businesses, retailers, mixed-use buildings, as well as housing projects that could cater to the various income levels of Fitchburg’s diverse population.

According to 2020 Census data, 31% of residents in the North Fish Hatchery Road area are Black, 27% are Latino, 0.3% are Asian and 35% are white.

The objective of the reconstruction — and of attracting more private investors — was to further revitalize an area that gets traffic counts comparable to that of Madison’s East Washington Avenue, which has itself seen millions of dollars’ worth of building projects in the last decade. 

The city worked with planning consulting firm Vandewalle to compose a vision document for North Fish Hatchery in 2020, Zimmerman said.

The ultimate goal, said Vandewalle & Associates principal planner Scott Harrington, is a corridor that’s more dense than the single-housing, parking-lot-heavy suburbia North Fitch Hatchery was in the early 2000s. 

Harrington recalled explaining Vandewalle’s idea for East Washington to members of the public back then — and garnering mixed reactions. People didn’t believe the stretch could look like what it does today, he said, adding the area is almost indistinguishable from the firm’s original vision document.

That’s the hope for the North Fish Hatchery corridor, Harrington said; where buildings of varying sizes and heights line the street, and both pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists feel accommodated. “The urban component … it’s a much more efficient use of infrastructure … the street, sewer and water is already there,” Harrington said. “(North Fish Hatchery Road) needed rebuilding anyhow. Compact development is also much more cost-effective.”

There’s various public transportation options, as well as a melting pot of businesses and residents, Zimmerman said.

He pointed to the Terrace Point Apartments development as representative of the kinds of projects the corridor could see in the next half decade — investors either tearing down or revamping old structures and creating something new. Developers and investors are proposing numerous projects for the Fish Hatchery Road Corridor.

An article in lists these current and proposed projects. 

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