Park may replace abandoned station

The former marathon Gas Station stands vacant at 905 E. Main St.

The property of the abandoned Marathon Gas Station on Main Street might soon be a park.

The Watertown Park, Recreation and Forestry Commission recommended the purchase of the property at 905 E. Main St. for up to $25,000 on Monday. 

Randy Wojtasiak, director of the Watertown Park, Recreation and Forestry Department, said the negotiated price was originally $15,000 but it increased due to additional assessments of the property.

"I'm personally very excited about the possibilities of what can be done with that parcel even though it is a small area," he said.

The property would be used as park space. Wojtasiak said they had various ideas for the property such as placing a wooden structure or a sculpture to welcome drivers into the downtown area. 

The property is currently owned by Jefferson County. Wojtasiak said the city has been in communication with the county and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about the condition of the property soil.

This offer will go to the Watertown Finance Committee and the Watertown Common Council for review and approval.

There could be other benefits to making the purchase.

Wojtasiak said he spoke with the engineering department about extending Market Street through the property on to East Main Street.

"The thought would be that College Avenue would then end at this park instead of extending to East Main Street since because that's such a dangerous corner," he said. " ... There's a lot of hoops we need to jump through before that would happen."

In other business, the commission reviewed the progress of the Riverwalk observation area.

YES! Watertown and other community volunteers re-stained the Riverwalk deck.

"They did that in over two days," Wojtasiak said. "That portion is complete. It looks really nice. We're very excited with how it turned out."

He added that the park, recreation and forestry department and the street department are planning to pour a concrete pad for the observation deck along the lower dam behind the 7UP Bottling Co.

The observation deck had to be removed when renovations were being done at the dam and it could not be salvaged. Some furniture has been purchased for the observation deck.

"We're just waiting on a fence design and what we want to do with that for the observation deck," Wojtasiak said.

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