Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

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Excerpt From Parkway’s Economic Impact Plan

ECONOMIC IMPACT PLAN – FOX-WISCONSIN HERITAGE PARKWAY

STRATEGY #2
ADVANCE ECONOMIC AND TOURISM GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES within the Parkway.
Through a comprehensive regional approach to economic and tourism development, identify, and engage businesses to pursue job creation and economic growth in fifteen target counties, where the Parkway will be a place with diverse, quality employment opportunities and viable, successful businesses and tourist attractions.

Because each county has its own economic development and tourism goals and strategies that will likely be undertaking their own outreach, there cannot be a single overarching strategy. Instead, an over-arching strategy framework should be created that can be used by economic developers within the Parkway to develop their own strategy, specific to their county and businesses. Therefore, the strategies and action items identified for this goal are intended to be that framework; in other words, the action items are written as a suggested process for the local economic development professional. Given time and resource constraints of local economic developers the action items are designed to be attainable and effective.

Initiatives
2.1: Work with developers to encourage adaptive reuse of historic buildings, promote and renovate of the Lock houses within the Parkway for adaptive uses such as hostels or education centers to create additional economic impact and revenue sources.
Action Items:
Year 1: Conduct the planning, design and development work – architectural, engineering, etc. to renovate the [Little Chute] Lockhouse as a European Hostel for visitors to rent to optimize their Parkway experience
Year 2: Begin and complete actual renovation of the [Little Chute] Lockhouse as a European Hostel.
Year 3: Renovate up to four Lockhouses as Hostels for visitors to the Parkway, an educational center or retail space that could be leased for the sale of Parkway items and food/concessions
Year 4 – 5: Renovate up to eight Lockhouses and commercial buildings as Hostels for visitors to the Parkway, an educational center or retail space that could be leased for the sale of Parkway items and food/concessions

2:2: Develop a National Recreation Trail for the FWHP with increased network of public access points supported by broad-based community partnerships.
Increased access to the Parkway, will lead to in¬creased usage and awareness of the Parkway’s recreational, natural resources, navigational aspects, and tourism opportunities. First-hand exposure to the water is a very effective way to inspire and maintain a public stewardship ethic. Designation of appropriate sites for launching and camping along the Parkway shoreline can also prevent environmental damage.

Action Items:
Year 1: Submit the National Recreation Trail Application for technical assistance and gain National Recreation Trails System designation for the Parkway through the National Water Trails Systems (NWTS).
Years 2 – 3: Develop and expand physical trail facilities, ADA accessibility and access points – Through the development of improved portage designs to better withstand high water flows, day use (FRNSA), rest facilities, day stop/overnight camping areas.
Years 4 – 5: Develop, promote and market activities of the FWHP National Recreation Trail including:
• Reviewing and selecting designs for Website development and print materials – including maps showing access points, safety, etc.
• Production of hard copy guide materials and maps
• Water Trail Signage – on water side, land side, maps
• Sustainable programming of the Heritage Paddles and other Special events – including clean-up/education events
• Press releases – Alert Friends of the Fox, Friends of Lower Wisconsin Riverway, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
• Alert partner and non-partner communities

2:3: Support the reinvigoration of the riverfronts and river walk initiatives and activities across the Parkway that can be used to ‘link’ communities and their attractions, events, activities and natural resources. Create a Waterfront Development organization and Model (similar to the San Antonio, TX model) – to promote riverfront and river walk activities to allow more visitors to gain access to the waterway and to tie its activities together. Develop a FWHP ‘sliding scale’ partnership membership based on Platinum ($1,000), Gold (500), Silver ($250) and Bronze ($100) memberships.
Action Items:
Year 1: Establish the Waterfront Authority and Model (similar to the San Antonio, TX) – to develop, market and promote riverfront and river walk communities and activities. Establish a FWHP ‘sliding scale’ partnership membership based on Platinum ($1,000), Gold (500), Silver ($250) and Bronze ($100) memberships and services. Use the FWHP website to promote the River Authority activities with a full calendar of events for every season.
Years 2 – 3: Develop a FWHP ‘Passport’ Program to tie together the Riverfront activities on the Fox River beginning in Green Bay along the City Deck, continuing to DePere, Appleton, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and linking them to the Wisconsin River – highlighting Portage, Sauk City, Spring Green all the way down to Prairie du Chien.
Years 4 – 5: Develop, promote and market additional tours, activities and Riverwalk activities.

2:4: Work to encourage an Entrepreneur to develop a Water Taxi business that would provide more visitors’ access to the Parkway and the ability to experience a guided tour. Encourage the water taxi to connect communities along the Parkway and tie together attractions, dining, waterfront venues and concerts, to encourage the visitor to ‘optimize’ their experience on the Parkway. Launch the water taxi on the segment from Green Bay to DePere as ‘proof of concept’ and then expand from there.
Action Items:
Year 1: Identify Water Taxi partner and support the launch of the water taxi on the segment from Green Bay to DePere as ‘proof of concept.’ Assist the vendor in promoting the water taxi on the FWHP website and other marketing materials.
Years 2 – 3: If sustainable, expand the water taxi segments to other areas of the Parkway and assist in finding onboard interpreters to tell the Parkway’s stories.
Years 4 – 5: Develop, promote and market additional water taxi and guided tours, and Riverwalk activities.

2:5 Promote tourism and recreational use of the Parkway to increase the capacity of partner attractions/communities through the development of the Tourism inventory across all segments of the Parkway and tie these inventories together with Activity – Based Itineraries and guided and unguided tours aimed at “Optimizing and Customizing’ the Parkway Visitors’ Experience. Make sites come alive!
Action Items:
Year 1: Identify and launch a web-based itinerary planning tool that allows the visitor to ‘customize’ their trip to the Parkway including what activities they want to engage in, where they want to dine, lodge at and what segments and communities they would like to see. Publish all the activity – based Itineraries EDP has developed for activities within the Parkway. These itineraries have much value and can be offered out to the FWHP Partners as part of their membership program. Publish all guided and unguided tours available for land and water users as they travel through the Parkway.
Years 2 – 3: PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE the Parkway and its Itineraries on the FWHP website and in other marketing materials. Promote the Parkway on the Department of Tourism’s TravelWisconsin.com web portal and consider being listed on their Calendar of Events, Destinations and Maps & Guides pages. Promote the Parkway with Silent Sport enthusiasts in their specific trade publications, at their events ie; Canoecopia, and through their organizations. Consider developing Discover Wisconsin video segments of the Parkway that could be aired on Public television.
Years 4 – 5: Develop, promote and market additional Tourism and Recreational activities throughout the Parkway to encourage new visitors to the region including Heritage events, geocaching, Earthcaching (quest to find geological features along the Parkway), Biking, Hiking and Paddling, Culinary and Agri-tourism events and tastings, guided tours and Riverwalk activities. Increase your marketing and advertising budget to reach visitors from surrounding states and on a regional basis.

2:6: Identify and encourage additional canoe/kayak and silent sport outfitter businesses to be developed along the Parkway to create additional water access through the development of Silent sport outfitters, canoe, kayak and boat launching facilities and additional boat mooring facilities throughout the Parkway- EX: Rendevous Paddle Sports, Montello. (Map of Canoe Rentals along the Parkway – Appendix Q.)
Action Items:
Year 1: Identify partners throughout the Parkway to support additional water access through the development of Silent sport outfitters, canoe, kayak and boat launching facilities and additional boat mooring facilities throughout the Parkway. According to the regression analysis done by the UW – Whitewater, FERC the segment of the Wisconsin River by Montello could be used as recommended ‘proof of concept.’ Assist the vendor in promoting the silent sport outfitter or canoe/paddle shop on the FWHP website and other marketing materials.
Years 2 – 3: If sustainable, expand the Silent sport outfitters, canoe, kayak and boat launching facilities and additional boat mooring facilities to other areas of the Parkway and assist in providing Itineraries and segment maps to the Parkway’s visitors.
Years 4 – 5: Develop, promote and market additional Parkway – related new businesses including water –related tours, taxis, outfitter, paddle shops, dining and lodging businesses, water taxis, guided tours, and Riverwalk activities.

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