Aqua Jays, city have big plans for Traxler
The Rock Aqua Jays and the city hope to continue to groom Traxler Park into a premier water ski show site capable of hosting TV events and even concerts, and the Janesville City Council on Monday will consider hiring an architect to plan for development there.
Tim Cullen, Aqua Jays president, said the club's vision is for the area to become the “leading entertainment and tourist attraction in southern Wisconsin."
“Traxler Park is just fantastic,” Cullen said, noting its other uses such as Veterans Plaza.
Earlier this year, the Aqua Jays asked the city to dredge along its leased areas to improve water skiing. Staff then became aware of other things the club would like to see in Traxler Park and its current limitations.
Acting City Manager Jay Winzenz said Traxler Park has become a special events park. Events include the Renaissance Faire, Rotary Corn Roast and the many Aqua Jays events.
“If that's the long-term use of that park—which I think is very appropriate—what things do we need to do to facilitate that?” Winzenz said in talking about his decision to solicit a master plan.
The study would include the Adams Roofing property to the north and recently bought by the city. Another goal of the city is to draw people attending Traxler Park events downtown.
The study would evaluate how to incorporate power and cable for TV coverage, the cost of tents versus pavilions, bathrooms versus portable toilets, the cost of shoreline improvements and whether to remove the boat launch.
Angus Young Associates will prepare the plan and get input from other users.
Cost of developing the plan is $12,400 and would be paid for through the Parkland Acquisition Fund, which has a balance of $166,259.
In the short term, the Aqua Jays need about 2,000 more bleachers to host the World Water Ski Show in 2014. The club currently has 3,000 seats.
The club also asked the city to dredge the river because of a sediment build-up. That might mean a storm water sewer must be relocated, Winzenz said. And vegetation should be trimmed on the west bank so the club can use the entire river width.
The park and the river there are a natural for water-related events, such as jet ski and wakeboard tournaments, Winzenz said.
The facility could be upgraded to attract events that now air on ESPN, such as the X Games.
“That's really the purpose of the master planning effort—to get some of these requirements down on paper and create a vision for what that might look like in the future,” Winzenz said.
“If you start talking about having more tournaments, or something like the X Games in Janesville, that starts bringing a lot of people into town, which we all know drives the local economy.”
Cullen said the club would like to erect an electronic sign to advertise park events and put a fountain in the lagoon.
The club is interested in hosting other national events, such as one for disabled water skiers and tournaments for skiers in other divisions.
The site could host outdoor concerts or comedy nights, Cullen said.
The Aqua Jays recently decided to once again host the July 4th fireworks in 2014.