Changes in the works for Dubuque's Chaplain Schmitt Island - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Changes in the works for Dubuque's Chaplain Schmitt Island

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The Dubuque City Council this week approved a planned unit development rezoning on the Chaplain Schmitt Island, paving the way for changes approved in a 2014 master plan.

Kevin Lynch, who heads a 9-person Schmitt Island Committee, said the move is a formality that will help them bring more recreation, retail and housing to the island.

"Overall, what we hope to accomplish is to just turn Schmitt Island to a place where you can take family, friends, relatives from out of town. That it will be a recreational hot spot, it'll be a place where kids can go to learn things," Lynch said.

Charlie Cretsinger, owner of Catfish Charlie's, says bringing more business to the island is the right move.

"I'm a destination. I'm a good destination in the summer time, because we've got the river, we're right on the river. In the winter, not so much. But if we have more businesses down here, more things to do, we're going to bring more people down here. It's good for everybody," he said.

The master plan shows the island split up into three sections that would boast more walking trails, more recreational opportunities, and more retail too.

Lynch says the goal is to make the island not only a tourist destination, but a more cohesive experience as well.

As for the timeline, Lynch says they're moving right along, but not nearly as quickly as he'd like.

"Oh gosh, I wanted it done a year ago, but I don't always get my way. No, there's no definite time frame. We're a lot closer today then we were a year ago," he said.

He says they hope to eventually be able to connect Schmitt Island and the Port of Dubuque, providing a more robust tourist experience.

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