WE’RE SURE YOU’LL KEEP UP ON THE NEWS NOW THAT YOU LIVE HERE, but to get you started here’s a few of the bigger stories from the last year that’ll keep popping up in local headlines.

Student-oriented apartments in the Haymarket Landing building downtown feature river views and access to a spacious rooftop terrace.

NOW OPEN: HAYMARKET PLAZA

You may have heard about the Confluence Project, a huge joint effort by UW-Eau Claire, local arts groups, and the city. The project includes a six-story multi-use building called Haymarket Plaza, which will open in the fall of 2016. The building will be home to UW-Eau Claire student housing, as well as a coffee shop, a fitness center, a restaurant, and more. The other half of the Confluence Project is a $45 million university-community performing arts center, set to open its doors in 2018.


BACK TO THE BRIDGE

Right next to lower campus, the Water Street bridge spans the Chippewa River, offering an easy connection between Water Street and State Street. Soon that connection will be better than ever, as the bridge has undergone a complete replacement (starting in September 2015). The shiny new expanse is slated to be complete and open in the fall of 2016.

TIME HEARTS EAU CLAIRE

Last summer, Time Magazine ran a great profile on little ol’ Eau Claire. The national magazine covered the city’s recent economic and cultural developments in part of a series called “Reasons to Celebrate America,” and it credits music as a major spark in Eau Claire’s recent evolutions. The article states, “Therein lies the new paradigm for towns in turnaround mode. Instead of chasing smokestacks, why not build a place where young people want to live and work?” The piece was written by UWEC alumni and former Time editor Steve Koepp.


An artist’s rendering shows a preliminary design concept for the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex.

ENTER THE SONNENTAG CENTER

To be built on donated land between the Chippewa River and Menomonie Street, the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex will serve UW-Eau Claire and the community at large. Plans include a 130,000-square-foot major event center, which will seat 4,500 to 5,000 people, as well as a wellness, aquatics, and rec facility that would be shared by UWEC and the YMCA – and the latest talk involves the addition of a hotel and convention center. The university hopes to begin construction within the next five years.


Big Huge Brewing Boom

A microbrewery revolution is well underway here in the Chippewa Valley. In the past year, Lazy Monk Brewing in downtown Eau Claire opened an expansive new German-style taproom, while right down the road, the Brewing Projekt’s lineup of interesting brews has exploded in popularity (with big plans on the horizon). Also, K Point Brewing opened a taproom in Eau Claire, as did Brewster Bros. Brewing Co. over in Chippewa Falls – already home to the granddaddy of local beer, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Northwoods Brewpub moved and expanded its brewery, now located in Osseo. What’s more, Menomonie’s Lucette Brewing Company expanded its taproom to include an eatery featuring wood-fired pizza.

On Air: Blugold Radio

Blugold Radio 99.9FM is a new Chippewa Valley radio presence dedicated to broadcasting local music of all kinds (along with a good dose of national indie favorites) to a rapidly growing niche of local people yearning for it. Donated to UWEC by Midwest Family Broadcasting, the commercial-free station can be heard across Eau Claire and beyond, with live streaming at blugoldradio.org


Keep up with print publications like Volume One or the Leader-Telegram, on TV with WEAU 13 and WQOW 18, or on air with WPR News.