New River Walk entrance signs better mark the attractionPublished 11:51am Monday, November 18, 2013
It was a long time coming for supporters of the Fergus Falls River Walk like Steve Gunderson, but seven new signs are ready to mark the entrances of the River Walk.
The signs could be much needed, too, since Gunderson has heard of plenty of people who don’t even know the river walk exists.
“So now you have signage so people can identify where the entrances are,” said Gunderson, leader of the River Walk committee, part of Forward Fergus Falls. “So we want to get people down here.”
The River Walk runs under city streets roughly parallel to Washington Avenue and the Otter Tail River from Union Avenue to Cascade Avenue. There’s also an additional ground-level portion on the east side of Cascade.
The entrance signs (14 inches-by-9 inches) are a few years in the making; the process started back in 2009. The primary goals of the committee, which meets monthly, have been to create awareness, develop the property and even expand the River Walk.
“Our ultimate goal is to make it longer,” Gunderson said. “Expand it all the way to the airport. That’s the long-term plan.”
Instead of just the existing River Walk, which only goes for a few blocks, the expansion to the airport would provide a couple of miles’ worth of path. The idea would be to connect downtown Fergus Falls with Interstate 94. It could be a path for people to ride their bicycles as well, Gunderson said.
Still, the key victory with the new River Walk signs is just to make people aware of it. They’d like to see as many people down there using it as possible, according to Gunderson.
“If you go down there… you’ll be surprised at how you can’t hear anything except the water down there,” Gunderson said. “It’s very peaceful.”
The total cost for all seven signs was $263, paid for by the Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission, a partner in the project.
The signs fall under a couple of the Forward Fergus Falls Destiny Drivers: Support and expand the River Walk revival efforts, and increase awareness among residents of the tremendous opportunities for physical activity in the Fergus Falls area (such as the Central Lakes Trail, Otter Tail River, cross country ski trails, parks and recreational facilities).
“It’s a river walk city,” Gunderson said. “It’s a city built around a river. We want people to enjoy it.”
The River Walk will be open through November, but it also depends on how much snow and ice might arrive before then.