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Vote on River Prairie tree house plan pushed back

Thursday, May 10, 2018
Jesse Horne | WEAU

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Mike Golat took the Altoona city council Thursday for a little walk.

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The city administrator guided them among the trees of River Prairie to help them envision tree houses being installed on the booming section of the city.

"It captures one's imagination, doesn't it?" Golat said to WEAU 13 News on Thursday. "Everyone when they're going up wanted to build a tree house or did build a tree house. It's another reason for kids and adults alike to come and stay and spend time in the park."

Going into Thursday, two concepts were being proposed for building up to two specialty tree houses - either for kids or adults - at an estimated price tag of $250,000.

"There's very few places that have done this, especially regionally that, you know, it would really be a thing that would put us on the map, so to speak."

If the project were to go through, it would be because the area of River Prairie is a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district - something that city officials are glad they have at their disposal.

"Tax increment districts are investments in public infrastructure, in order to promote economic development," Golat said. "The investment in the park here and all the beautiful amenities has certainly been attractive to businesses, as you can see the growth over the past few years."

Biren says there are still questions to be answered, but admits he'd like to see the plan take off.

"The team would be hungry to get going on it and, for all the things that they've been planning for so long on the logistics side for it to be able to come together quickly, I think it'd be great to have as a feature for like a fall festival."

After their walk through River Prairie, the Altoona city council heard more on Golat's proposal during tonight's official meeting.

Biren said the council asked for city officials to pursue more options - including a possible boardwalk in the trees. He hopes all sides could form more of a consensus on the plans in the coming weeks.

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