FRONTIER DEVELOPMENT WANTS TO WALL OFF THE RIVERFRONT
This is the view of the river looking west from the corner of State Avenue and Third Avenue on the east side. State Avenue provides a corridor directly to the river for east side residents, and it has been that way for as long as anyone can remember.
If the Frontier Development proposal ever became a reality, this view would disappear, and instead State Avenue would proceed downhill right into the drop-off area of the six story hotel that Frontier wants to build (shown in the rendering below). That Frontier Development building would cut off direct river access for the east side of town. The Building Design Guidelines the City included in the Request for Concept Proposals (“RFC”) for this project specifically state “[n]ew buildings in the downtown area should not intrude into view corridors…along street rights-of-way or extensions thereof toward the Fox River.” Frontier Development thumbed its nose at that guideline and instead proposed a massive building, 85 feet high at that point, that walls off the community from the Fox River. Thanks to Ald. Bancroft for recognizing at the October 10 meeting the importance of river corridors like the one shown above and recognizing the impact that proposed buildings will have on these riverfront corridors.
In short, the street frontage of the Frontier Development proposal is offensive to the adjacent east side neighborhood and does not complement the existing built environment, as required by the RFC. And erecting a building/wall that blocks off the river is not prioritizing open space. (“It is a priority of the Comprehensive Plan to maintain public open space along the riverfront” – RFC, p. 3). We need our city leaders to protect our public riverfront land and make sure developers like Frontier follow the guidelines they set forth for projects like this. We count on our city leaders to be responsible and protect our residential neighborhoods even when developers will not.