Downtown Eau Claire Redesign Concepts

get excited – the future of downtown is nigh

Trevor Kupfer

TOP: The “Celebration” concept for Eau Claire Street. ABOVE LEFT: The third library-city hall campus design. ABOVE RIGHT: The fourth campus design.
 
TOP: The “Celebration” concept for Eau Claire Street. BOTTOM LEFT: The third library-city hall campus design. BOTTOM RIGHT: The fourth campus design. Check out zoomable design sketches for Eau Claire Street here and the Library Campus & City Hall Area here.

It’s almost here. What we’ve been waiting for. The exciting stuff. The design of our future downtown.

After Ayres Associates presents their recommendation for Barstow Street (one way or two) on May 9, the work that will follow is a fury of creativity. They gave us a taste of what’s to come at the April 18 meeting by presenting four design ideas for Eau Claire Street. And not only did they include exciting elements such as promenades, duck-ins, sculptures, and fountains, but officials say the reactions to these will likely dictate the design theme of the entire project (including Barstow, Graham, and the riverfront). And at the next public meeting (late May or early June), officials say we can expect to see those very images put to paper.

“Based on what we’ve heard so far, we have a pretty good feel for the theme, and the makeup of the design will reflect that.” – architect Garret Perry“Based on what we’ve heard so far, we have a pretty good feel for the theme, and the makeup of the design will reflect that,” said Garret Perry, an architect with Design Studio Etc. working with Ayres.

With the ideas presented, Perry said they intended to incorporate a design theme and patterned nodes of interest all the way up to the library and city hall. The first street design, “Modular,” is the most conservative, with a few special nodes by natural interest points, a little thematic paving, and some plantings. “Connectivity” is a bit more aggressive, with paved crosswalks, themed pavings the entire width of the street, and more regular patterning/planting nodes “marching to city hall,” as he put it.

The “River Flow” theme gets even more exciting, with a curving paver pattern resembling water and inset chunks resembling logs, plus aggressive interest points, but all of it on the theater/library side of the street exclusively. “Celebration” is a combination of all of it in a promenade style, with tons of plantings, water-resembling pavers, a curbless street without parking, and sculptures.

With each there exists an opportunity to eliminate curbs, add bike lanes, widen sidewalks, reduce parking to one side or altogether, and/or add exciting design features like plantings, artwork, and placemaking markers, Perry added.

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