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Old July 12th, 2007, 04:59 AM   #1
mgk920
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Appleton, WI Development News

The demolition of Valley Fair Mall, believed to be the USA's first true enclosed mall shopping center (opened 1954-08-11), has begun.



http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbc...2/1003/APCnews

Also see:
http://www.postcrescent.com/apps/pbc...7100810&Ref=PH
for images of VFM from the mid-1950s.

BTW, although not mentioned in the articles, the mall was built in Menasha township and was annexed into the City of Appleton in late 1983.

It really is too bad that this undesignated historical landmark has become so obsolete in recent years as I fondly remember the place from my childhood. Unfortunately, though, the winds of retail commerce have long since blown in other directions.



Mike
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Old August 5th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #2
araman0
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I remember reading that they were going to demolish that mall a long time ago. What I never heard anything about is what might be taking it's place? That area of town could really use a boost in appearance and activity, so I hope it's something good. It has fairly easy acces to 441, which will be expanded to 6 lanes in a few years to the Oneida street exit.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 08:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araman0 View Post
I remember reading that they were going to demolish that mall a long time ago. What I never heard anything about is what might be taking it's place? That area of town could really use a boost in appearance and activity, so I hope it's something good. It has fairly easy acces to 441, which will be expanded to 6 lanes in a few years to the Oneida street exit.
I'm not sure what is planned for it, either, but I suspect some lower-intensity neighborhood strip style center. The former Kohl's stores (plural, as they had both a department store and a grocery store side-by-side there) on the mall's east end are NOT being demolished, BTW.

The City of Appleton is also working on setting up a TIF district in the area around it, essentially covering the current City limits in Winnebago County from the site on southwestward.

We shall see.

Mike
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Old August 26th, 2007, 08:59 PM   #4
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This weekend I had a going away party to attend in Menasha. My cousin's son is leaving for Iraq in a month. Before I left for home back in Wausau this Sunday morning I thought I'd head to downtown Appleton and take some pics. I've never been in Appleton's downtown before so I was looking forward to it.

I was very impressed with the quality of what's down there. Small for a city of almost 80,000 and metro of over 300,000 but compact, there's alot there in that small area. I didn't do any walking around but drove from parking garage to parking garage. Next time that I make it I hope to do some walking around as what I did see, I liked. The quality of the architecture of the older buildings, 2 to 3 story storefronts, did impress me alot. Also what was impressive was the cleanliness of the whole downtown. I saw no boarded up buildings, weeds growing out from everywhere, and no garbage. Hopefully I can get back there and spend a day!

This Sunday morning turned out to be a beautiful day! Yet, perhaps too beautiful? No cloud in the sky and the sun was shining very bright and hot down upon us. My camera isn't nearly the best so I ended up junking alot of the pics that I took, I know, real bummer! but I did save some that I could doctor up by taking some of the brightness out. They're still not the best but I do want to post something...Yes I'm very disappointed but here they are.



















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Old August 26th, 2007, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paule View Post
This weekend I had a going away party to attend in Menasha. My cousin's son is leaving for Iraq in a month. Before I left for home back in Wausau this Sunday morning I thought I'd head to downtown Appleton and take some pics. I've never been in Appleton's downtown before so I was looking forward to it.

I was very impressed with the quality of what's down there. Small for a city of almost 80,000 and metro of over 300,000 but compact, there's alot there in that small area. I didn't do any walking around but drove from parking garage to parking garage. Next time that I make it I hope to do some walking around as what I did see, I liked. The quality of the architecture of the older buildings, 2 to 3 story storefronts, did impress me alot. Also what was impressive was the cleanliness of the whole downtown. I saw no boarded up buildings, weeds growing out from everywhere, and no garbage. Hopefully I can get back there and spend a day!

This Sunday morning turned out to be a beautiful day! Yet, perhaps too beautiful? No cloud in the sky and the sun was shining very bright and hot down upon us. My camera isn't nearly the best so I ended up junking alot of the pics that I took, I know, real bummer! but I did save some that I could doctor up by taking some of the brightness out. They're still not the best but I do want to post something...Yes I'm very disappointed but here they are.

I like Appleton and it is a neat place (apologies for the crappy township sprawl area to the city's west, though).

That view of the skyline crossing the bridge into the downtown area from the south would make a NEAT banner for this website, wouldn't it?



The DT Appleton area is a popular restaurant, entertainment and night life district, too.

So you paid the $1 to drive into each of those parking ramps? (hehehehe)



At least the toll machines do give change for up to $20s (using $1 coins). Yes, I know that they only say "$1, 5 and 10", but that was because city crews were too lazy to reprogram them when the colorful $20s came out about 4-5 years ago. Their banknote acceptors were recently replaced but the signs were never changed back.

Mike
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Old August 26th, 2007, 10:30 PM   #6
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Hi mgk. No I didn't have to pay a cent for the parking, like most cities I have visited parking is free on Sundays!

This site has already had an Appleton banner but I highly doubt they're going to use that pic of mine for one.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 03:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paule View Post
My favorite picture from your set. Appleton's image can be quickly turned around with a tall modern building in the middle of downtown. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening anytime soon.

Downtown Appleton is extremely lively and clean for a city of only 70+k. I've always thought of Appleton as being a VERY small Minneapolis, in terms of look and feel. This continues to hold true throughout most of it's neighborhoods as well. There is also an amazing amount of wealth in Appleton, with that wealth decreasing out into its suburban areas. This is quite opposite from most other midwest cities (especially small ones) where the majority of the wealth can be found in the suburbs.

I'll be sad to leave Appleton at the end of this year; it's been a fun, unforgettable town with TONS of waterways. But I probably won't spend too much time looking back once in Milwaukee. I'll do a comprehensive photo thread before I leave here.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 04:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araman0 View Post
My favorite picture from your set. Appleton's image can be quickly turned around with a tall modern building in the middle of downtown. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening anytime soon.

Downtown Appleton is extremely lively and clean for a city of only 70+k. I've always thought of Appleton as being a VERY small Minneapolis, in terms of look and feel. This continues to hold true throughout most of it's neighborhoods as well. There is also an amazing amount of wealth in Appleton, with that wealth decreasing out into its suburban areas. This is quite opposite from most other midwest cities (especially small ones) where the majority of the wealth can be found in the suburbs.

I'll be sad to leave Appleton at the end of this year; it's been a fun, unforgettable town with TONS of waterways. But I probably won't spend too much time looking back once in Milwaukee. I'll do a comprehensive photo thread before I leave here.
Hey there araman0, I see that you're a new school boy too. Course, you're at a real university where I'm taking the auto CAD 1 year course at the local tech college. Yeah, I wont be able to afford a new camera for a while.

I think I understand what you're saying about Appleton having that same type of look and feel as Minneapolis, of course on a much smaller scale. Both Appleton and Menasha have some very nice neighborhoods. My cousin lives in the Airport Rd/Woodland Dr. area in Menasha. The first thing I noticed was how everybody's lawn was the same height and very lush and very green. In Wausau there is always some odd guy out who always lets his lawn grow to shin height before he cuts it but with these people it is like they all go out on the same day, once a week to cut their lawns. And do those Menasha people know how to party, I'd tell you all the details but I know there are kids on this site. Let's just say I had a blast, always do when I'm in the Fox Cities!
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Old August 28th, 2007, 05:11 AM   #9
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Yeah, almost forgot. I agree, what Appleton needs is a Dick Dudley. Dick Dudley is the man in Wausau who put up $20,000,000 of his own money to build a highrise office tower in the downtown. Why? because he knew if he built it they would come. And they have, from what I heard, the building is almost 100% leased and if it isn't the only reason for that would be because he isn't willing to let any Tom, Dick, or Harry rent space in his building. He claims if he would the building would have been 100% leased before completion. And there's a rumor going around that he is serious about building that twin tower that he talked about when he came out with the plans for this first one!

I hope other cities in Wisconsin take notice of this because this isn't small news. I know the conditions for demand have to be right but sometimes the people with money in our cities have to start digging up those jars of money that they hide from the government and do something with it. Dick Dudley had the balls to do it so there is no reason why some of these others can't.

Speaking of jars of money, I heard Marquette U came into some money at the tune of $50,000,000! See, that's the spirit!

Last edited by Paule; August 28th, 2007 at 05:22 AM.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 06:22 AM   #10
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Yep, for the new law building. They got a similar donation a few months back as well.

I know some crazy people in Menasha and know exactly what you mean. But back to Appleton, I also love how all the neighborhood streets are almost perfect, regardless of age. Full grown trees lining almost every neighborhood street and not a flaw in sight. Just don't leave the city limits.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 06:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Yep, for the new law building. They got a similar donation a few months back as well.

I know some crazy people in Menasha and know exactly what you mean. But back to Appleton, I also love how all the neighborhood streets are almost perfect, regardless of age. Full grown trees lining almost every neighborhood street and not a flaw in sight. Just don't leave the city limits.
Yeah, it's like it's too perfect, I don't know if I ever been in a city where everyone took such care of their property. You said that there is alot of money in Appleton, what, do they all employ gardeners? Seriously?
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Old August 28th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #12
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One more observation

You mentioned how Appleton reminded you of Minneapolis. While I was on some of those parking garages downtown the first thing that struck me was how flat everything was. I was on top of a 6 or 7 story parking garage and could see for miles! Appleton has got to be the flatess city in the state. If it wasn't for all the trees I would've thought I was in a Plains State like Iowa or Kansas. On Wausau's tallest parking garage, which I believe is 5 stories, I can only see to the next hill or ridge.
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Old August 28th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
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One more observation

You mentioned how Appleton reminded you of Minneapolis. While I was on some of those parking garages downtown the first thing that struck me was how flat everything was. I was on top of a 6 or 7 story parking garage and could see for miles! Appleton has got to be the flatess city in the state. If it wasn't for all the trees I would've thought I was in a Plains State like Iowa or Kansas. On Wausau's tallest parking garage, which I believe is 5 stories, I can only see to the next hill or ridge.
Yea, away from the river the city is pretty flat, although it does start getting hilly on the city's far north side, a section or two north of US 41. The city now extends about 4-5 km north of US 41 east of WI 47.

Mike
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Old August 28th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #14
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The city of Appleton's city boundaries extend that far north? I always thought it was just another township called Appleton up there, similar to the towns of Neenah, Menasha , and Kaukana. If Appleton's actual borders do extend that far, Appleton's population will continue to grow for quite some time since that land is almost completely empty, but also the fastest developing. And in the future they can keep extending North until they get to Freedom as well.

Appleton is completely land-locked on all other sides though by other municipalities.
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Old August 29th, 2007, 06:41 AM   #15
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The city of Appleton's city boundaries extend that far north? I always thought it was just another township called Appleton up there, similar to the towns of Neenah, Menasha , and Kaukana. If Appleton's actual borders do extend that far, Appleton's population will continue to grow for quite some time since that land is almost completely empty, but also the fastest developing. And in the future they can keep extending North until they get to Freedom as well.

Appleton is completely land-locked on all other sides though by other municipalities.
Appleton annexed a large chunk from Freedom Township a few years ago, it is now being turned into the 'Apple Hill Farms' development, an upper-end residential area.

Appleton also annexed about half of a survey 'section' to the west across Ballard Rd from the Apple Hill Farms area from Center Township last year and it is now being platted (this is north of Plamann County Park).

The city limit line on the map in the latest (Sep-2007) AT&T phone book is accurate.

Yes, Appleton is mostly surrounded on its other sides, either by incorporated cities and villages or by townships with 'no annex' border agreements (a POX on the city councils from decades ago for letting Appleton get into that mess! ).

Still, though, there is a lot of growing room left to the north and I am anticipating some more *massive* annexations in that area in coming years.

OTOH, the closest-in township to Appleton in Outagamie County (Grand Chute Township, which surrounds most of the city) is now the most populous township in the state (about 25K) and is having a LOT of problems reconciling its urban sprawl and its service needs with its township form of government and historically cheap tax rate. The fear is that should their tax rate approach Appleton's that the township could disappear into the city, despite their border agreement that 'protects' its developed 'sprawly' western parts from annexation.

It is a REAL mess and almost comical to follow.

BTW, there is no 'Appleton Township'. The original city was carved out of Grand Chute Township, which was named after the now dammed river rapids in the downtown area (the 'Grand Chute' of the Fox River and Grand Chute island).

Mike
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Old August 29th, 2007, 07:08 PM   #16
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Thanks Mike for the explanation, its good to know some of the history behind Appleton's developement. From the little bit of following I do of Grand Chute, I am always amazed at how backwards the place seems to be run. If it does get sucked into Appleton, Appleton would jump up to near 100k, putting it in line with Green Bay. I really hope that happens, although I doubt 25k residents will want to become part of Appleton, despite paying the same amount of taxes and using all of Appleton's services. Do you see this happening anytime in the near/distant future?
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:34 PM   #17
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Thanks Mike for the explanation, its good to know some of the history behind Appleton's developement. From the little bit of following I do of Grand Chute, I am always amazed at how backwards the place seems to be run. If it does get sucked into Appleton, Appleton would jump up to near 100k, putting it in line with Green Bay. I really hope that happens, although I doubt 25k residents will want to become part of Appleton, despite paying the same amount of taxes and using all of Appleton's services. Do you see this happening anytime in the near/distant future?
Y/W

Yes, I would love nothing more than to see Appleton and Grand Chute Township to merge into one municipality (for that matter, I'd like to see the entire metro area become one city). GC has kept their tax rate artificially low for many decades now, for no other reason than to prevent annexations to the city, this by cutting corners on EVERYTHING and by having others cover as much of the costs of as much as they have been able to get away with. For example, about ten years or so ago the Outagamie County Sheriff laid down the law to GC by saying that since they had their own police department they no longer needed his department's routine patrols - which are paid for by EVERYONE in the county, not just GC. Sheriff's Deputy cruisers are now only seen in GC when they are on their way to or from the rest of the county or when they respond in a 'back up' fashion.

Grand Chute Township's police and fire departments are dangerously weak and inadequate and I consider their streets to be an ugly and dangerous embarrassment to the entire metro area.

NOW, they are starting to have to face the music regarding the true costs of governing an urbanized area and it will be fascinating indeed to see how they respond to someday soon having to set their tax rate close to, or even HIGHER than the city's, to play 'catch up' and pay for it all.

Harking back to that old Chinese curse - 'Interesting times' are coming for them.

Mike
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Old August 29th, 2007, 08:52 PM   #18
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Also, some demolition images from Valley Fair Mall, taken about two weeks ago (2007-08-14):

http://community.webshots.com/slides...diaPosition=24

Mike
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Old September 19th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #19
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Summer Concert series to Appleton

This is a huge deal for downtown Appleton - and a smart way to combat smoking ban (for those opposed to it)

courtesy the Post-Crescent:


Appleton bars set summer concert series

By Steve Wideman
Post-Crescent staff writer

APPLETON — When Appleton's workplace smoking ban took effect in 2005, city officials challenged bar owners to find ways to recoup any business lost to the ban.

Bar owners took the challenge to heart and have a plan.

Apple Jam, a series of summer concerts, will debut in 2008 with six concerts at Memorial Park, said Appleton Jam promoter Bill Maloney, who also owns the Xtreme Bar, 2611 N. Richmond St.

"We are going to get national acts like they do for Waterfest in Oshkosh," Maloney said.

"In 2009, we'd like to schedule 12 concerts at Memorial Park. By 2010, we'd like to find a more permanent place. We anticipate the city will build an amphitheater down by the riverfront and we'd like to move down there."

Maloney said Apple Jam is, in part, an attempt to rebuild bridges with the community following a sometimes stormy debate over the smoking ban.

"The council told us (at) one time to bring up creative ways to bring people to Appleton," Maloney said. "We figure these concerts will bring in 5,000 to 7,000 people each night."

Bars will operate shuttle service from the establishments to the concerts and back to the bars.

Maloney said the first year's concerts will be held in Memorial Park's amphitheater with concert goers, who will pay $5 for admission, sitting on the grass of a surrounding earth berm.

Proceeds from the concert will help fund the Saferide program, which gives free rides home to bar patrons in Appleton and several surrounding communities.

Currently the Saferide program is funded by area bars through an annual $2 donation for each person legally allowed per capacity limits for their establishment.

Apple Jam is a nonprofit management company that will run the Appleton Jam concerts, Maloney said.

Jennifer Stephany, executive director of Appleton Downtown Inc., which sponsors weekly concerts downtown on Thursdays through the summer, said there is room in Appleton for both concert series.

"The ADI board looked at what Apple Jam means to the Thursday night concerts and we decided to stick with our concerts, which will continue to be free and feature local acts. That's a big difference," Stephany said. "We feel the energy our concerts bring to downtown is vital."

Maloney said Apple Jam concerts will include bands on the level of REO Speedwagon and America and country performers like Sawyer Brown and Phil Vassar. Music will last from 6 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.

"We want to have something for everyone," Maloney said.

Apple Jam needs special event permits and special Class B beer licenses from the city to hold the concerts.

Concerts in 2008 are planned for June 20 and 27; July 18 and 25; and Aug. 15 and 22 and do not conflict with softball leagues in the park.

"Those are all Friday nights when our business is lowest. We need something (to increase business)," Maloney said.
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Old October 10th, 2007, 03:32 AM   #20
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Good news for Appleton!
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=672215

I just wish the building was going to be built downtown...
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