Our Identity: Strategic Objective #5

Strategically reposition Fond du Lac's key assets and leverage them as catalytic anchors for redevelopment activity and new investment for the next generation. Objective includes: Lake Winnebago & the Waterfront, Downtown, Riverfront, and Forest Mall.

Every city brings a few distinct places to mind, and those signature places help shape how the public thinks about a community. When you think of Madison, many think State Street; when you think of Milwaukee, many think of the Historic 3rd Ward. They express a vibrancy about a community – they provide a contagious energy that draws people to “get in on the action.”

On the flip side, we can all think of communities where our entire impression is shaped by a boarded up downtown or a dead mall. We don’t get past those initial impressions and never see all of the other cool parts of town or hear about hidden gems, because those signature districts shape everything we think about a city. In a way, these districts represent a city’s “curb appeal” or “front door” that acts as a gateway for everything else.

Currently, Fond du Lac has a little bit of both. Fond du Lac already features some great destination districts that help shape how people think about the region, namely Downtown and Lake Winnebago and the waterfront. But it also features an older, industrial riverfront and Forest Mall, which has been struggling to retain major tenants. All of them could be better leveraged through sustained reinvestment over the next decade. These areas are the Fond du Lac region’s key assets and they should be repositioned as catalysts for much of what is discussed in this strategic plan. Each warrants its own detailed strategy, which ultimately goes further than this plan can completely address, but certain initial action steps will begin the effort.

Action Items