Community Projects in Portage

We are on the move! Big projects are currently in the works, greatly altering the landscape while enhancing Portage as a great place to live, play and work. These projects will better position Portage to attract new residents along with enriching the lives of current citizens.

Mural project

New Mural at Wilz Drug-Completed March 2017
Kelly Meredith painted this mural depicting the early people of Portage. It greets visitors coming into downtown from the east.

Thank you to the Business Improvement District, City of Portage Tourism, Dan Kremer and Phil Koch of the Portage Parks and Recreation, Wilz Drug and Tyler Hoel of H & M Contracting for helping to make this mural happen. 

Columbia County Gateway Building Project

20160509_075346_resizedThe Columbia County building project is a major construction project that continues to transform the landscape around the Portage Canal in the downtown, not to mention inviting more pedestrian traffic to the downtown when it is completed.

Columbia County Fairgrounds

An ambitious plan to reshape the Columbia County Fairgrounds is underway. The multi-phase process includes new lighting and fencing, relocating the softball diamonds, moving existing buildings, and refurbishing the historic grandstands. For more information about the project, call the Portage Parks and Recreation Department at 608-742-2178.

Divine Savior Healthcare

COMPLETED FEBRUARY 2016 – Divine Savior Healthcare added La Vita at the Wellness Center on the DSH campus in addition to expanding the number of operating rooms and upgrading the physical therapy department. For all Divine Savior Healthcare services, click here.

Portage Center for the Arts

The new roof is in place at the Portage Center for the Arts and looks great! The PCA’s ‘Raise the Roof’ campaign is in full swing, with the goal of raising $400,000 to cover the cost of replacing the aging roof at this regionally renowned performing arts center. If you would like to contribute, please contact the Portage Center for the Arts, 301 E. Cook St., at 608-742-5655.

The project entailed structural repairs for deteriorated rafters and joists, replacement of shingles, insulation of attic space, cutting out existing mortar joints and replacing using tuckpointing method, improving ease of access–including handicapped entrance, replacing current HVAC units with modern, high energy efficient models, and working toward acquiring additional property for future expansion.

The Portage Family Skate Park

COMPLETED JULY 2016 – The Skate Park, with its concept derived from the sport of curling, has reached completion. The park is located adjacent to the Splash Pad at Goodyear Park.

Bike Racks

IMG_0678Avid bikers can rejoice! The Portage Business Improvement District and Portage Parks & Recreation Department is busy installing new bike racks in downtown and in parks around town. The Portage Chamber had a hand in designing the logo that appears on the racks. Two colors were chosen for the racks — black for the downtown racks and green for the park racks. The invitation for cyclists to come to Portage and our county is wide open as Columbia County boasts a system of bike loops, including four loops that pass through Portage.  Bike loop maps are available in the Chamber office.

Fountain at Bridal Pond

The Portage Area Chamber of Commerce has reached its goal for funding a new fountain at Bridal Pond at Pauquette Park.

It has been about 2 years that a fountain has appeared at Pauquette Park, which serves as the setting for Concert in the Park featuring the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, an event that marked 23 years this summer. The park is also noted for hosting family reunions, picnics, weddings and more. The fountain and bridges that span the pond have appeared in generations of wedding and senior high photographs.

The Portage Parks & Recreation Department started the contributions to this project by contributing the installation and maintenance of the future fountain. The Portage Service Club Association (Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Optimists and Chamber) has issued a matching donation for funds raised up to $3,000.

A new fountain should be up and running in Spring 2016!

SAMSUNGColumbia Energy Center

Capped off with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July, 14, 2014, the $627 million project to install emissions reduction technology at the Columbia Energy Center, just south of Portage, finished ahead of schedule and under budget, reducing sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions by more than 90%.

A new $150 million project is underway at the energy plant to install a catalytic reduction system, slated for completion in 2018. For more information, visit or call 1-800-ALLIANT (800-255-4268).

canoe on canalPortage Canal

An ad hoc committee was formed to continue the refurbishing of the Portage canal. The committee met with city officials, the Portage Canal Society, and the DNR to establish the next steps. The first phase of a planned four-phase rehabilitation project was completed in 2007 and is shown right. For more information about the nature of future work on the canal, click here.

library newPortage Library Expansion

COMPLETED 2013–Portage Public Library has a history of strengthening residents of our community, and now is the time for the Library to become the source of creative thinking and information that can prepare us for life throughout the 21st Century.

The Portage Public Library Expansion project entailed a roughly 6,500 square-foot addition extending to the end of the block, bringing the total library space to approximately 24,800 square feet. The entire children’s area has now moved to the addition. The new story time room has an adjacent craft room with child-sized tables, chairs, counters, and sinks. The new children’s area is now double the size of the old one, accommodating more resources with less crowding.

The renovation of the computer station space increased the number of public use computers. The area that functioned as the Teen Space is now enclosed in glass to create a solarium – a quiet, comfortable area for seniors and adults to sit, drink a cup of coffee, and read a newspaper or magazine. The new design increases the number of meeting rooms from 2 to 6.

splashpad2Splash Pad

COMPLETED, JULY 4, 2013–The Portage Service Club Association saw its goal through! Centrally located in Goodyear Park, the Splash Pad is designed for young children and families. Benches, a shade structure, and a park shelter with restrooms have recently been added.

The Splash Pad will bring many families to the community who will stay, shop and eat.

Silver Lake Beach shelterSilver Lake Beach Shelter & Retaining Wall

Those enjoying the summer sun at Silver Lake Beach will notice a couple upgrades. The construction of a new Silver Lake Beach shelter, featuring a concession area, changing rooms and storage area, was completed in 2012. A new retaining wall was constructed to replace the old wall in 2015.

river house

Wisconsin River Watch House

COMPLETED IN OCTOBER 2013 – The reconstruction of the Wisconsin River watch house located along the levee walkway.