Finally, more parking spaces at the Viroqua Food Co-op! We know it’s hard to get close to the front doors sometimes! Our new parking lot is now open! For more than a year, we’ve been planning and developing the empty lot on Center Street directly across from the Co-op. The property was considered a ‘dirty site’ by the DNR and was cleaned by the previous owner. When we began construction last fall, the remaining top layer of potentially contaminated soil was removed to a special containment area. It’s all cleaned up and the Co-op has put effort into reclaiming another site in our fair city (the Co-op is also built on a previously ‘dirty’ site).
Some folks have asked us if we’ll plant a garden somewhere on our new lot, since we don’t have any edibles growing around the Co-op. Both sites, the Co-op and the new parking lot, had railroad tracks running through them years ago. As a result of contamination from the railroad ties that will last for many, many years, it is not safe to grow herbs or veggies on either of our lots. But we can feel good about rehabilitating both of these sites; bringing beauty and function to Viroqua.
Landscaping the perimeter is the next step. You’ll notice two bio-filter areas created to direct rain run-off to percolate through engineered layers of sand, soil and gravel. This slows and filters run-off before it heads to the drainage system, which empties directly in to our streams and rivers. We chose a concrete surface, instead of petroleum based asphalt, which is built to last with little maintenance. We’re planning a small seating area in the shade on the south side, lovely perennials, trees and bushes all the way around.
Even though the lot has an exit on Rusk, we’re asking that you use the entrance and exit on Center Street to alleviate traffic in the residential neighborhood to the east. You may take a grocery cart to the new lot and leave it in the cart corral, we’ll gladly retrieve it. We are developing a grocery pick-up spot for those really big shopping trips. The handicapped spaces will move over one space and the parking spot near the bike racks will turn into a ‘grocery pick-up.’ Just leave your groceries with us and drive on over; we’ll load ‘em up for you! If you’re planning to spend some time at the Co-op, having coffee with friends on the patio, we hope you’ll park in the east lot and leave the close parking spaces for those with many bags of groceries.
This mini expansion is very exciting; it’s yet another sign of the success of our well loved Co-op. Thanks for shopping at your community owned Co-op!