Ashland is the county seat and the largest city in the region. Consequently, it offers a broad range of community facilities and services that serve the residents of Ashland as well as people throughout the region. These facilities and services contribute greatly to the quality of life in Ashland. The following section describes significant community facilities in Ashland.
Ashland City Hall
The City Hall is located in a historically significant brownstone building at 601 West Main Street. It houses the Council Chambers and most City offices, including Administration, Treasurer, Finance, Planning, Building Inspector, and Police Department.
Public Works is located at 2020 6th Street East and it houses the Engineering Department, Streets Division, and Water and Wastewater Division.
In 1992, the City replaced the former wastewater treatment plant located on the waterfront with a new treatment plant located near County Road A. All public wastewater treatment in the City is conveyed through 37 miles of sanitary sewer to the main lift station located at 11rh Avenue East and Water Street. It is then pumped to the treatment plant where it goes through a series of treatment procedures and is eventually discharged into Lake Superior. The plant also has an 8 million gallon overflow retention basin to accommodate the increased flow through the wastewater system during heavy rainfall and snowmelt.
The City built a new, state-of-the-art water treatment plant in 2001. The plant obtains water from Lake Superior, treats it, and distributes it throughout most of the developed area of the City. The system contains a 1.4 million gallon standpipe and a half million gallon elevated water tower. The plant treats roughly 1.2 million gallons of water a day, but it is capable of treating about 2 million gallons a day.
Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Services
The Ashland Fire Department provides fire protection and emergency services for the City of Ashland and surrounding townships. The Fire Department operates out of two buildings, but the City has plans in the works for creating a new fire hall. It is currently located at 300 Stuntz Avenue.
Ashland’s Vaughn Library has a long and significant history. Emeline Vaughn gave the library to the City as a gift in 1888. The library has been housed in the same historically significant building at the corner of Vaughn Avenue and West Main Street ever since.
Marina and Airport
The Ashland Marina and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Airport are valuable community facilities.
Bretting Community Center
The City’s Leisure Services Program, administered by the Parks and Rec Department, offers many programs and activities for people of all ages. The Bretting Community Center, which was constructed in 2000, provides a gymnasium, game room, and gymnastics room. It receives approximately 3,000 registrations for classes and activities each year. The Center is also used to host community events.
Parks, Recreation, and Museums
Ashland has 22 parks that total roughly 216 acres and offer a variety of recreational opportunities. The park system includes small pocket parks in the central business district, waterfront parks with beaches, swimming, and picnic facilities, parks with athletic fields for organized sports, and a large passive recreation, nature-oriented park. Two City parks have camping facilities. Kreher Park has 36 sites for recreational vehicles and Prentice Park has 9 sites for recreational vehicles and ten sites for tent camping. The Parks Department is responsible for maintaining all parks in the City as well as the City’s Waterfront Trail and Fifth
Street Corridor Trail
In addition to the City’s park system, there are several other notable recreation opportunities in the City. Chequamegon Bay Golf Course is an 18-hole championship golf course that is open to the public, but owned and operated by the Elks organization. Chequamegon Bay provides excellent year-round fishing opportunities. And the Tri-County Corridor Trail (in addition to the City’s trails) provides recreation opportunities for snowmobiling, bicycling and hiking.
Ashland’s Historical Society Museum is located in the downtown area. The City also has a popular mural walk in the downtown area that depicts the history of Ashland. E Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center is a museum and interpretive center located just west of Ashland.