RIVER FALLS -- Since the establishment of the inaugural Kinni Corridor Collaborative board in late June, steps are continuing to be taken by the city and within the nonprofit KinniCC for the Kinnickinnic River’s long-term beneficial plan.
The city is moving ahead with an official 10-year partnership agreement, a resolution for a memorandum of understanding, which passed unanimously Aug. 27.
The memorandum delineates the active partnership between parties and the common goals in preparation for the prioritization, planning and implementation of the Corridor Plan, which was adopted in late January 2019.
Major efforts include removing the Powell and Junction Falls hydro-electric dams and transforming and redeveloping a seven-mile stretch of the Kinnickinnic River for community, economic and recreational benefit.
Alderperson Sean Downing asked if the memorandum was consistent with the resolution passed in February 2018, which specified the long-term vision for a free-flowing river including the final hydroelectric facility relicensing.
The agreement honors and recognizes the policy framework serving as the public-private partnership foundation outlined in the February resolution, City Administrator Scot Simpson said. It also satisfies the expectations from the KinniCC.
“This was a pathway to put the plan in action,” Simpson said.
The resolution states the memorandum's primary goals are:
1. Establish pathways to attract significant third-party and philanthropic funding, build project awareness, celebrate project impact, and attract necessary expertise and resources for the Corridor Plan.
2. Acknowledge the KinniCC as the city's primary philanthropic funding partner in the Corridor Plan.
3. Provide a framework for letter of agreements defining expectations specific to each project within the Corridor Plan to focus and accelerate the design and implementation.
4. Remove the Powell Falls and Junction Falls hydro facilities to establish the Kinnickinnic River as a free-flowing, cold-water stream and habitat that everyone can access and enjoy.
5. Work together to engage with a network of partners, government agencies, private and public landowners, and individuals in our community to create sustainable development, educational, recreational and public spaces that attract economic, public, and private investment.
The terms of agreement began Aug. 31 and are outlined to end Dec. 31, 2029, with five-year auto-renewal options thereafter unless terminated earlier.
A lead person from the city and the KinniCC will be designated and responsible for Corridor Plan activities and act as partnership liaisons. More information can be found by searching for “KinniCC memorandum” at www.rfcity.org.
In the meantime, the KinniCC awaits the results of a $1,200 grant submitted the end of August. This is a step in starting small to build success, according to Judie Foster Babcock, chair and president of the founding KinniCC board. The funds would go toward continuing the conversation regarding safe recreational use of the Kinnickinnic River.
More information about the nonprofit organization may be found at kinnicc.org