Note from the Editor | Apr. 15, 2015
Spring is in the air in downtown Eau Claire. While on nice days pedestrians pour out onto the streets and trails, all around them at least three highly visible and large-scale construction projects pound away at progress. A simple four-block stroll down part of Barstow Street provides a glimpse into a community wasting no time moving forward. Massive scaffolding spans the south face of the forthcoming Lismore Hotel, with dozens of workers busily scurry back and forth, steadily advancing the $16+ million renovation. Walk barely two blocks North and you come upon dozens more workers in bright green shirts laboring alongside the massive Confluence Crane to erect the six-story, $25 million mixed-use building on the Eau Claire River. And immediately across that river, another block north, you find a fleet of vehicles preparing a huge chunk of land for a three-level (possibly four-level) parking structure that frees up surface area for more development along North Barstow Street, for which proposals are already coming in. In the meantime, it can feel kind of chaotic out there as these projects cause additional traffic, make noise, and displace parking. But I tell you what, I’ll take that any day over a stalled, sleepy little town with little going for it. We are all a part of making these projects happen and we will all reap their benefits on many levels. The last few years have been good ones for downtown, and it looks like the next few are only getting better.