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Pass-thru Park

The Uptown Racine Business Improvement District Board proposed converting the empty lot at 1516 Washington Ave. into a park that will connect Washington Avenue to a parking lot north of the shopping strip. 

RACINE — Members of the Uptown Business Improvement District board have proposed turning a hole in the ground at 1516 Washington Ave. into a park that will connect Washington Avenue to a nearby parking lot.

“We’ve been looking to make some lemonade out of this space for a long time,” said Linea Anthony, the Uptown BID chairwoman, who presented the proposal at the city’s Board of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services meeting on Wednesday.

Anthony said many people don’t know about the parking lot behind the shops on the north side of Washington. Even if they do, it can be difficult to walk from the lot to the shops in the winter.

She hopes in addition to having a shortcut from the parking lot to the storefronts on Washington, the pass-through park will bring some greenery to the neighborhood.

The building was taken down in 2014 and the site has been a fenced-off, overgrown hole in the ground ever since. Anthony said the BID board is working with a landscape architect to choose native plants for the site so they can be low-maintenance and educational.

“We want people to come in and be educated (about native plants),” said Anthony.

Also planned for installation are benches where people can sit and rest.

The lot is city property and if approved by the City Council, construction funds would come out of the city’s capital improvement plan budget.

Uptown BID is paying for the fees acquired in the proposal stages of the project, such as architectural fees, and offered to handle snow removal at the site, pending approval.

The Parks Board forwarded the proposal to the council with a recommendation for approval. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 21 at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., Room 205.

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Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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