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New amenities highlight revamped Jones Park

Renovations expected to be completed in 2018

Post Date:09/23/2016 2:29 PM

Space for a new amphitheater, a new playground, two skating rinks and redesigned green space to flow with the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, are all part of the Jones Park renovation concept that will go to the Parks and Recreation committee Sept. 26.

Jones Park rendering

The park renovation was previously planned for 2018-19. However with the approval of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, Mayor Tim Hanna and city staff decided to accelerate the timeline for the project to 2017.

“The Fox Cities Exhibition Center will be incorporated into Jones Park and we want one of our signature parks to be an amenity as amazing for our community as the exhibition center will be for visitors,” said Mayor Hanna.

Jones Park Closed into 2018

As of Thursday, Jones Park was closed to the public. Fencing surrounds the entrances to the park, which will be closed into 2018. Construction of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center will soon begin and trucks hauling fill will drive through the park.

Once the exhibition center construction is complete, renovation of the park can begin. Possibly in late 2017 with completion anticipated in 2018. Mayor Hanna is putting $1.55 million in the city budget in 2017 for the project.

New park features

Starting near the Fox Cities Exhibition Center on Lawrence Street, a new, ADA compliant ramp will wind past the exhibition center into the center of the park. The 12 foot wide ramp can also accommodate more people and will provide new views of the park and exhibition center.

At the bottom of the ramp will be a nearly 12,000 sq. ft., multipurpose, green space with a small performance stage near the patio of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center.

In the center of the park will be an 80’ x 80’ playground area. In the summer, more green space surrounds it and in the winter, the area in front of the playground transforms into a 120’ x 85’ family ice skating rink. It will be flanked to the east by a 185’ x 85’ hockey rink in the winter. Sandwiched between the rinks will be a new warming house with restrooms and concessions.

In the summer both of the ice rinks will double as green space and seating areas for approximately 5,000 people for concerts and other performances.

Performance venue

Of note: The $1.55 million budgeted for 2017 does not include building the amphitheater shown in the rendering. However, the space for the performance venue will be graded and made suitable to build.

In 2015 the City was approached by several organizations to include a performance venue in the park redesign. Mayor Hanna proposed preparing the site, but is asking for those organizations to fundraise to build the facility.

Trails around the park will also be improved, as will parking underneath the Skyline Bridge.

Public input

The concept will be brought to the Parks and Recreation Committee on Monday at 6 p.m. at City Hall. There will be no vote on the concept and presentation at Monday's meeting. Community members may speak about the plan during the public comment portion of the meeting. The earliest the committee would vote on the concept would be at it's next meeting on Oct. 10. 

Appleton Communications Coordinator Chad Doran can be reached at (920) 832-5814 or

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