City Pushes Back Downtown Reconstruction Until 2013

Scott Morfitt

Eau Claire’s downtown has had a significant metamorphosis in recent years. And now, one of the next big steps in the development process (the reconstruction of South Barstow, Eau Claire Street, and the riverfront) has been delayed. At a recent meeting with business and property owners, officials from Ayres Associates and the city said the construction will not take place until 2013. And some downtown business owners are happy about this. For one, it postpones what they fear will be a very slow time for retail (since the thoroughfare will be closed). And for another, it gives people more time to fight the city council’s decision to make Barstow and Graham two-way streets. The north-and-south streets have ran as one-ways for several decades, but in the fall of this year, they’re slated to change. Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce President Bob McCoy feels that delaying the redesign and proceeding with the two-way change of Barstow and Graham is going to work best for an overall assessment of the downtown landscape. McCoy says, “Doing a trial on the two-way will be a good opportunity to see if it is going to work or not.” McCoy feels that this assessment will be good because they not only get to measure traffic flow, but also get to do it without spending money allocated to the redesign.