Note from the Editor | July 23, 2009
Back in 2005, the city made some adjustments to building codes that allowed perpendicular (90 degree) signs on downtown Eau Claire buildings. These signs are positive in many ways, mostly in that it enhances the street scene by creating more visual impact as you look up the street, enticing people to walk a little further and experience more. Why they weren’t allowed in recent years I can’t tell you (probably something dumb), but they’re all over historic downtown photos of EC and they’ve certainly been allowed for a long time in some of the cooler small towns across the country. But regardless, EC finally got up to speed in 2005.
Shortly thereafter, here at the Volume One office at 17 S. Barstow Street, we wanted to hurry up and be the first business to install such a sign. A friend of ours went off half-cocked and built us a really cool and professional-grade sign, but he did it before we actually had a chance to check the rules on size, placement, etc., so the end result was all wrong. We kind of lost steam after that and decided maybe it didn’t have to be a priority of ours right away (after all we weren’t a retailer or restaurant anyway). Since then, I was dumbfounded as more than three years went by and NO downtown business thought it was a good enough idea to actually install one. Well finally, someone did. And it’s no surprise that it’s Isabelle & Co, a forward-thinking and aesthetically aware women’s clothing store that’s been garnering a decent buzz lately (read the blurb about it on page 11). We need to see more of this kind of private investment out of the business and property owners across our community in general. People need to quit whining about how “the city” needs to do this or that and those people need to actually take advantage of the opportunities that exist. Make your own improvements, take ownership of your own streetscapes, and at the risk of sounding trite, BE the change you want to see.