Appleton develops plan for Trout Museum relocation discussions

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 9:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Appleton city council continues to discuss a project which would allow the Trout Museum of Art to relocate to the Ellen Kort Peace Park, along the Fox River.

On Monday night, the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee unanimously approved a process map for how that discussion will take place. This includes opportunities for public feedback.

Right now the facility is located next to Houdini Plaza, without room for expansion.

“We realize that this is a park, that there’s a lot of interest in keeping it as a park. There’s also been some feedback in regards to wanting it to move forward as a museum. So because of that, there’s no rush,” said Dean Gazza, director of Parks, Recreation and Facilities Management.

In August, the council voted to agree to talks on the project.

The process map is meant to improve transparency in the months to come.

Appleton alderperson Nate Wolff said, “It’s very different than how we’ve done it in the past where the city council just kind of seems like we’re doing things and the community really didn’t have any input. This way you will know you will have like five different ways to come and speak on the issue.”

The proposal calls for a one-story building, about 30,000 square feet, on the park’s western side.

Some residents opposing the plan worry about the loss of green space and the lack of parking.

“Why would you spend that kind of money and put it in a spot that doesn’t have the space for that? It’s a small spot that doesn’t allow for that,” said Appleton resident Kerry Williamsen.

Executive director for Trout Museum of Art, Christina Turner, told council members, “We want to be part of a team that we are with the city and with the park and rec department, and we would be happy to be able to answer any questions and do a presentation so you could understand that background more thoroughly.”

A final decision on the Trout Museum is still months in the making. If the project does get the green light, it might not be until early next year.