Ashland is close to having a new place for people to stay and play in their community.
Construction on a new $1.5 million dollar development called "Blue Wave on the Bay" is expected to start this spring.
"without anything quite like it in town, it just seemed like we were ready for something like this to help get a connection to the lake," said Brian Hagstrom, building designer for C & S Design and Engineering in Ashland.
Plans call for a two and a half story development, on the lakefront, that would include a restaurant, retail space, and a luxury hotel. Visitors would have the option to rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards among other sporting equipment.
"It will probably be busiest in the summer when you can get there by bike and the lake isn't frozen but in the winter there is also opportunity for cross country skiing on the lake or ice skating or a number of different lake related winter activities," said Hagstrom.
Some compare the project to the Lakewalk and waterfront development in Duluth.
"I have a retailer and hotel guy in town that has properties in Duluth and he said this could be another mini Canal park down here over time," said Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen.
Project costs won't be funded by taxpayers; An Ashland native, now living in Madison, is paying for the development, saying he wants to see something great go up in an area he loves so much.
"He's making a real icon for us coming in town. It's really helping dress up our west side of town and I'm sure businesses across the road will see this now and start thinking about how we can improve our business," said Whalen.
If all goes as planned, Blue Wave on the Bay should be open for business by January, 2015.
Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati