NEW RICHMOND - At their meeting Monday night, Sept. 9, council members approved a recommendation by the Plan Commission to allow Willow River Bluffs to subdivide two parcels of land on the west side of County Road A. The additional development will add 27 single-family residential homes to the 36 units already developed.

What makes this development more interesting is the option exercised by the developer to dedicate 30.65 acres of parkland to the in lieu of paying park impact fees. The Park Board discussed the proposal Aug. 28 and recommended acceptance. The area consists of 7.85 acres of upland and 22.80 acres of wetland.

Willow River Bluffs, LLC, has opted to dedicate 30.65 acres of parkland to the City of New Richmond in lieu of paying park impact fees. The property includes access to the Willow River. Photo submitted
Willow River Bluffs, LLC, has opted to dedicate 30.65 acres of parkland to the City of New Richmond in lieu of paying park impact fees. The property includes access to the Willow River. Photo submitted

“There is a conservation easement in place so that parkland would be guided for more passive recreation" such as walking, hiking, bird watching, etc., City Planning Director Noah Wiedenfeld said. "The Park Board reviewed this. A few of them were brave enough to hike the site last week."

By all accounts, the board members were impressed with the property's potential.

City Planning Director Noah Wiedenfeld (Left) was joined by Park Board members Rose Kosin and Craig Kittel on a hike to explore a 30 acre property bordering on the Willow River expected to become New Richmond's second largest park. Photo submitted
City Planning Director Noah Wiedenfeld (Left) was joined by Park Board members Rose Kosin and Craig Kittel on a hike to explore a 30 acre property bordering on the Willow River expected to become New Richmond's second largest park. Photo submitted

“I didn’t know it was that wooded. It’s just gorgeous down there. Walking trails, and nature trials, it’d be a great addition,” Alderman and Park Board Chair Craig Kittel said.

“There’d be, I believe, over a mile of walking trail. It’d be just a mowed trail. There would be a need for 3 boardwalks. They’d be constructed by the developer as part of this phase of the development. There is access to the Willow River. We still have to determine the approximate route and location. When it comes up along the bluff, it is pretty steep back there. We’d likely shoot for sometime next year,” Wiedenfeld said.

The new park would become the community's second largest park next to Freedom Park.

Mike Jacobson, past Airport Commission Chairman and long-time member passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Aug. 30, at the age of 48. Photo submitted
Mike Jacobson, past Airport Commission Chairman and long-time member passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Aug. 30, at the age of 48. Photo submitted

The council took a moment to remember Mike Jacobson, past airport commission chairman and longtime member who died unexpectedly on Friday, Aug. 30, at age 48. Jacobson and his wife, Tracy, owned hangars at the airport since 2001. Jacobson was an accomplished attorney operating a practice in New Richmond while also teaching several business law classes at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.

New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne publicly recognized outgoing board members Jim Tilly and Frank Norton for their contributions and years of service to the community while serving on the Housing Authority and Park Boards respectively. Pictured Mayor Horne with Frank Norton. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia
New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne publicly recognized outgoing board members Jim Tilly and Frank Norton for their contributions and years of service to the community while serving on the Housing Authority and Park Boards respectively. Pictured Mayor Horne with Frank Norton. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

New Richmond Mayor Fred Horne publicly recognized outgoing Jim Tilly and Frank Norton for their contributions and years of service to the community while serving on the Housing Authority and Park Boards respectively.

Other business



  • The Forward New Richmond Committee has approved moving forward with a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a possible housing study in 2020.

  • Council members agreed to pay Baker Tilly a fee not to exceed $6,000 to conduct an audit of expenditures for Tax Increment District #10. The audit is automatically triggered 12 months after 30 percent of the project expenditures are reached.

  • City Finance Director Rae Ann Ailts reported the City is on target for both revenue and expenditures for the second quarter of 2019. Her report is available online at: newrichmondwi.gov

  • The Council voted to absorb the estimated cost of $2-3,000 to subdivide and deed portions of a parcel owned by the City behind the W. 100 block of Knowles Ave. The subdivided parcels will be deeded to the businesses of abutting properties.

  • Residents are reminded that there will be a parade this Saturday, Sept. 14, celebrating the 100th Birthday of American Legion Butler-Harmon post 80. The parade steps off at 1:00 p.m.

  • Public Works staff will be joining representatives from SEH to host a Public Involvement Meeting, Monday, Sept. 16, from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Civic Center. The purpose of the meeting is to gather feedback regarding potential bike/pedestrian accommodations in the E 1st Street and W 8th Street corridors.

  • The Police Department in partnership with the Living Well Together initiative will be presenting Bill Gray and his daughter, Ella, at the New Richmond High School auditorium, Thursday, Sept. 19, starting at 6:30 p.m. Bill will be talking about his case investigating human trafficking and how to be aware of your surroundings. Ella will speak about coping skills and resiliency.

  • Following a closed session, the City announced it has approved the sale of a 1.81 acre parcel to 45 Parallel Distillery. The distillery has indicated it plans to add an 8,000 sq. ft. addition to its existing facility.