New Hudson wharf will provide visitor boat parking, fishing access

Dock in Lakefront Park is part of major plan to revitalize city’s connection to river.




2 minute read

Work is underway on a new dock along the Hudson waterfront on the St. Croix River. When complete, it will be available to boaters wishing to tie up temporarily, as well as for anglers wishing to use a pair of fishing piers, and pedestrians seeking to get close to the water.

The 625-foot structure is being placed parallel to the levy in Lakefront Park, on the south side of the dike, as part of a larger plan to revitalize the waterfront. In addition to places for boats to tie up, there will be two “bump out” fishing piers. It will also have wheelchair-accessible ramps to ensure all visitors can enjoy the dock.

Hudson mayor Rich O’Connor was one of the primary advocates for the new dock, and other updates and upgrades to the riverfront.

“I have an affinity for the river,” O’Connor told the Star Tribune, “and we just never had really good access in the city, as a river city, for people coming in to take advantage of what we have to offer.”

The $1.2 million project is being funded with a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grant of $391,000, with the rest to be paid for with revenue from Hudson’s downtown Tax Increment District. The special tax district provides funds that must be used in the downtown area.

Installation of the dock comes as the city completes renovations on its public boat launch nearby. That $1.5 million project significantly expanded parking and improved access during high water. It reopened in the fall of 2022.

Discussions and planning for revitalization of the Hudson riverfront began in 2016, with a final vision approved in 2018. But it wasn’t until two years later that the urgent need for changes was realized.

“The COVID pandemic showed how much our boat launch is used and also showed the need for boaters to have transient pier options for docking and coming into our downtown,” then city administrator Aaron Reeves told the city’s common council.

In addition to the boat launch and new dock, plans call for updates to the dike — the former access to a toll bridge that crossed the river — as well as a new location for the nearby St. Croix Sailing School, rowing club facilities, and other amenities.

“For many years, you look at all these river towns and they’ve absolutely turned their backs to the river,” Mayor O’Connor told the Hudson Star Observer at the time. “I really think this is just a fabulous resource that we need to take advantage of because I personally think it identifies who we are as a city.”

This winter’s mild weather and ice-free conditions allowed dock construction to begin much earlier than expected. While it was planned to commence in June, after spring restrictions on working in the river to protect fish spawning habitat, conditions are making it possible to finish the project before the restrictions begin on March 6.

Work to implement the additional changes described in the city’s waterfront vision will continue as funding is available.


4 responses to “New Hudson wharf will provide visitor boat parking, fishing access”

  1. Liz A Malanaphy Avatar
    Liz A Malanaphy

    It is wonderful to provide more opportunity for people to interact with the river, but as a community we need to remember that this type of transactional relationship with the St. Croix is beginning to take its toll on this beautiful waterway. When we “use” it as we do with no concern for environmental considerations that could help promote the health and well being of the water (and creatures within), we are failing the stewardship responsibility we have. For example; we have this beautiful new boat launch, but the parking lot is an unmitigated expanse of black asphalt, which runs off directly into the river. No consideration was given to runoff control. (I am hoping to work on educational signage along the dock, which might help the community and visitors understand the importance of the St. Croix!)

    1. Mikjee Avatar

      “Transactional relationship”. Wow, Jacob Frey, is that you? Of course there are environmental concerns with any project, and those aspects have been considered. The project, in and of itself, is intended to embrace the “importance of the river”, not destroy it. Hudson is maturing, that’s a good thing.

  2. Ray Avatar

    I think it’s great but will boats being tied up all summer block other uses? Anyone got a link where we can read more about the rules of use?

    1. Anonymous Avatar

      I agree with you on this. If they don’t have rules they definitely need to.



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New Hudson wharf will provide visitor boat parking, fishing access