In Opinion

Our port commissioners and staff are
routinely asked: When is the port going to
develop its waterfront property?

It may not be evident that the current activities of the port are laying the groundwork for future development of its 41-acres on the banks of Lake
River. The Pioneer Street Rail Overpass project, coming to completion this fall, will ensure safe and predictable passage between Downtown Ridgefield and the waterfront – critical for anyone contemplating an investment there. We’re also working with the City of Ridgefield on the addition of a pedestrian/bike overpass at Division Street for safe and direct passage for those approaching the waterfront at the city’s north end.

But what comes next? From the port’s perspective, waterfronts are special places – rarely do you get the opportunity to reimagine an entire waterfront with your community. The port commission remains committed to keeping the waterfront in public ownership – not only does this give the public a voice for what happens at the waterfront, it ensures that the public will always have access to it.

Because Ridgefield is growing rapidly and the market for commercial waterfront property is evolving quickly as well, the commission and community
must take great care in planning and developing the waterfront.

The waterfront is zoned for mixed-use development. This means a mix of retail, restaurants, commercial and employment activities including lodging are allowed. Fifteen percent has already
been set as open area. Some housing may, at commission discretion be allowed, but by covenant cannot be at ground level.

The community wants and deserves a great waterfront – a place to come, maybe work, but just as importantly relax and enjoy Ridgefield’s NW lifestyle. As the port completes some of its other
projects and begins raising the capital needed for a large development project, the waterfront will come forward. As it does, the port will engage the public in the process of determining the right path for waterfront redevelopment.


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