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City of Prescott won’t buy Steamboat Inn lot

PRESCOTT -- Prescott City Council members last week shot down an idea of purchasing the old Steamboat Inn property to turn it into a park -- a proposal outlined by a group of residents who believe a park would help drive economic development along the St. Croix riverfront.

In a letter to the council, 23 cosigners painted with prose what a riverfront renaissance could look like if Prescott bought the Lake Street property, which has sat vacant since the Steamboat Inn and neighboring Florence Fielder house were demolished in December. With an asking price of $3.1 million, the empty lot is out of the council’s budget and, according to staff, unavailable for a Department of Natural Resources stewardship grant.

“Hastings -- our confluence partner across the river -- has just completed their riverfront renaissance. Like other river communities blessed with such natural beauty such as Stillwater, Hudson and Red Wing, leaders have learned that tourism and art can bring in needed dollars for the community,” the letter states.

The historic riverfront restaurant at the Highway 10 bridge was knocked down after the council approved a demolition in October 2015.

Pitched as “the best view in town” and “an awesome spot for a bandshell,” the group of residents argued “Condominium development is not the best long term solution for City income needs.”

One proposed four-story mixed-use 83,000 square foot project, Vista Croix, would house a 6,000-7,500 square foot restaurant on the main level, a banquet facility and commercial and retail space on the street level. That project, overseen by Riverboat Properties, is still “moving forward,” according to its chief, Robert Campbell.

In an email to the Herald, Campbell said “great care” is being taken for redevelopment.

“Additional design work and interaction with the City of Prescott Planning Commission is still in progress,” Campbell said. “We are hopeful that more detail on the Project will be available in the next 60 days or so.”

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