Trail Following Chippewa River's West Bank Nears Completion

by Lauren Fisher, photos by Andrea Paulseth

A new trail connecting Madison Street to the High Bridge over the Chippewa River is scheduled to open this month. The 12-foot-wide trail will span 3,500 feet along the west bank of the Chippewa River. The city will provide winter and summer maintenance, rendering the trail usable by foot year-round. “It was a little bit of a later start than we wanted, but it’s moving right along,” said Mike Schatz, executive director of Downtown Eau Claire Inc.. Construction of the trail began in early October. The city’s Redevelopment Authority paid for the trail using funds that were originally earmarked for a roundabout near Kenney Avenue and a frontage road near Clairemont Avenue, which fell through earlier this year. The trail cost about $502,100, and the remaining $1 million from the original project was returned to the city’s general fund. This project is one in a series of updates slated for the Cannery District that will eventually lead to several new parks and recreation facilities and possibly a residential development. Now that the trail is nearly complete, the RDA will continue to appraise the remaining development sites and work with Ayers Associates to create concept art.

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