Old & New

Community Development can ignore history, or it can embrace our heritage and share the stories of our past. The story of Appleton begins with the Fox River.

The Fox River drops 168 feet between the cities of Neenah and Green Bay, a vertical drop that makes this area unique. A series of locks and dams control the current to make navigation possible. Since 1854, when the first paper mill opened in Appleton, the paper industry has been the mainstay of the local economy.


A New Era … transforming from industrial to residential

The former Riverside Paper Mill is situated on the banks of the Fox River next to the Lawe Street Bridge. The region is historically referred to as the Appleton Flats to describe the area below the river bluffs that became important for water power vital to the paper industry.

Today, riverfront development and the reopening of the locks system has created a new appreciation for wildlife and recreational opportunities. Bald eagles are often seen fishing in the river, inspiring the name “Eagle Flats.” Although our industrial heritage will not be lost, the Eagle Flats concept creates a new perspective of the river and what it has to offer.

Blend of city & nature

Turning urban plight into urban renewal is the goal for Eagle Flats. Breathing new life into the property will create a unique blend of urban activity within the natural environment.

A Unique Sense of Place

Four main attributes help define a GREAT place, according to Project for Public Spaces:

  • Easily accessible

  • Provides recreational &
    social activities

  • Creates a comfortable,
    positive image

  • Sociable place where people like to gather

In addition to being accessible, successful placemaking connects people with each other. A major emphasis of this development project is to create walkable and transit links to neighboring destinations, including Downtown Appleton. Several public input sessions will be held to gather feedback about what types of new places would enhance the area.