APPLETON, WI (WTAQ) - Officials in Appleton held a grand opening for a riverfront development on the site of a former paper mill.
The RiverHeath project on Banta Court, along the Fox River, took nearly 7 years of cleanup in order to become a reality.
Mayor Tim Hanna told FOX 11 RiverHeath’s grand opening shows how far the city has come in embracing the river.
“It’s the next generation of the Fox River in Appleton,” he said.
The $7 million project started in 2007. It is a mix of apartments, town homes and commercial space. There is also a river front boardwalk.
Aside from the cleanup, the project hit roadblocks in 2008.
“With the recession and the change in the banking laws, it changed his whole financial picture, in terms of how to finance this, but he plowed ahead,” Hanna explained.
A $1.6 million loan from the city helped.
“It’s not just one building, it’s an entire neighborhood that will eventually be down here. It’s people living, businesses, it’s retail. It’s gonna be, really, a gem,” the mayor said.
The developer plans to build another apartment complex, a riverfront trail, and an outdoor music venue. That phase should be complete next spring and cost around $7 million.