Students new to Lawrence may not be aware that College Avenue has undergone a complete metamorphosis. The once shabby downtown now has a warm and friendly atmosphere, inviting more people to enjoy the city.On the surface, the old College Avenue looked very different than it does today. The old College Avenue had dingy and worn down sidewalks, making the facades of the buildings appear unkempt and tired.
The primary cause for this renovation was that the street’s water mains, many of which dated back to the early 1900’s, needed to be replaced. However, the city decided that as long as the water mains had to be redone, the rest of the street might as well be touched-up.
The rebuilding of College Avenue took place from February 11 to August 2, 2002. Construction workers dug seven and a half feet under the ground replace not only the water mains but also the base of the street and the sidewalks. New fiber optics were also installed. College Avenue now sports colored and stamped cement, new crosswalks and new street, pedestrian and stoplights.
The rebuilding did not stop there. To encourage more people to visit the Avenue, the city also installed benches, banners, city maps, planters and trees, making the avenue more pedestrian-friendly.
Also new to the avenue are more retailers, restaurants and bars, including the Ravens, Deja Vu and Caf Mexican. According to Mary Ann Wepfer, the marketing director of Appleton Downtown Inc., interest in all businesses on College Avenue has increased since the construction.
Now that College Avenue has been revamped for the benefit of the entire Appleton community, we invite you to go check it out. Go visit some of the new storestry out the new restaurants, or just go walk around. You might be pleasantly surprised.