Wabasha Downtown Master Planning
Project Type: Master Planning; Wabasha, MN
Client: City of Wabasha
Wabasha sits on the banks of the Mississippi, a town of about 2500, with a downtown lined with late 19th and early 20th Century commercial buildings. Two areas in and near downtown are prominent in Wabasha’s future, each with its own issues, concerns and preconceived notions for change. After demolition of the Big Jo Flour Mill, a site was created for a new National Eagle Center, but a deal for an adjacent hotel could not be reached with a developer, and a vacant site resulted. The community was split between the need for an open space on the river which could be provided by this site, and their continuing desires for a hotel. LHB’s response was “Big Jo Alley’—a celebration of the character of the former mill, combined with spaces that reclaimed the alley as a public way and others that opened onto the river. The Athletic Field was the second area of concern, where recreation facilities occupied a prime 12 acre site, but major athletic activities have been relocated to another site for more than a decade. Here, LHB proposed redevelopment that would include housing, new neighborhood-based recreation facilities, and features that would provide a better introduction to the community as drivers enter Wabasha across the bridge from Wisconsin.