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Board to consider architectural firm for Village Green Center project

Board to consider architectural firm for Village Green Center project

From the Collection: New developments in Pleasant Prairie series
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PLEASANT PRAIRIE – The Village Board is expected to consider hiring an architectural and design firm to create a master plan and provide coordinated services for development of its proposed downtown community hub at its meeting tonight.

The Milwaukee-based Rinka design collective is being recommended to design Pleasant Prairie’s Village Green Center, the future cultural center of the village. In late July, eight subcommittees unveiled the plan that detailed their vision of what they eventually want a developer to bring to life in what will become the heart of the community and one that will be filled with activities unique to it.

The plan itself is wide-ranging and envisions areas for an outdoor amphitheater, specialty food shops, restaurants, a microbrewery and even a rooftop garden and community kitchen, along with an “ArtPlex.” The design considers accessible transportation whether on foot, on bike or by motorized vehicles. Housing from condos and townhomes surrounding the downtown to loft apartments above commercial spaces were also incorporated.

Village Green Center contains property roughly bounded by 97th Street, 39th Avenue, Highway 165 and 47th Avenue. The project, which has been in the works the last 25 years, was always intended as a central destination area for the village to foster a sense of community identity. Planning had slowed due in large part to the economic recession in 2008. However, a year ago, the village’s $3.7 million purchase of 72 acres of land at Springbrook Road reignited plans for the downtown.

Instead of developers giving village planners and residents their planning ideas, the community defined what they wanted.

Subcommittees assembled the community-driven plan over a seven-month period.

Village Administrator Nathan Thiel said Thursday that a request for qualifications was sent out to architectural firms after the presentation in July. Two firms responded. Ultimately, Rinka was recommended, he said.

According to the recommendation, the firm is proposing to develop the master plan, along with development documentation for zoning and master development services overseeing the project’s overall construction. The cost for the services provided is estimated at $260,000.

“We were hoping for more, but I think our scope of service was too large,” Thiel said. “We didn’t get as many as we’d hoped for, but we are still pleased with the firms that did submit. From a staff standpoint, we’re really excited.”

The firm has worked on notable design plans, such as Oak Creek’s Drexel Town Square and La Crosse’s Riverside North, a development after which Village Green’s development process with its multiple elements will be patterned.

“It was neat to see the aspect of that development mirror the aspects of our development,” Thiel said.

Under Rinka’s proposal, the master plan would be completed in about eight months, with planned development documentation and coordination of developer services taking place concurrently.

Thiel said, if all goes according to the proposed timeline, Village Green Center could break ground as early as June of next year.

“We’ll see what the board does with the proposal. My hope is that this moves forward and that it will begin the process for a master plan,” he said.

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