10 Years of Progress

results of 2001’s downtown action agenda

Thom Fountain, Nick Meyer

It’s easy to look at these ambitious plans as a whole and think it all sounds pretty grandiose. But of course these are ideas that will shape a reality to be accomplished over time. The original 2001 HyettPalma plan that created the to-do list for downtown over the last ten years was plenty grandiose itself, but the majority of its contents have been achieved. Just look at this (partial!) list of what’s been accomplished from that public plan and the private initiatives that have been added. This new vision plan is just the next step, and it’s far from fantasy ...

  • Created a public/private group to work on downtown issues (Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. - DECI)
  • Completed Phoenix Park thanks to a public/private partnership with RCU, which now hosts weekly summer concerts, arts festivals, food festivals, races, and a variety of events
  • Attracted a developer that shared the Phoenix Park vision, building four of the first mixed use buildings 
  • Relocated/upgraded the Downtown Farmer’s Market, which now can draw as many as 5,000 people on Saturdays
  • Expanded the riverfront trail system downtown
  • Redeveloped the former bus station site into the Chamber building
  • Changed city ordinances to allow outdoor cafés, perpendicular signage, and product on sidewalks (at certain times)
  • Attracted the Childrens’ Museum to locate downtown
  • Redesigned the significant landscaping of Madison Street Hill
  • Added additional varied housing/apartments downtown in both existing and new buildings
  • Created signature downtown events including International Fall Festival, Summer Fest, Chalkfest, Sounds Like Summer Concert Series, Back-Alley Summer Cinema Series, Taste of the Valley, Open Air Festival of the Arts, and many more
  • Established a program to help create loft apartments in vacant spaces over downtown businesses
  • Changed a low-interest façade loan program for downtown properties from a maximum of $2,000 to up to $30,000
  • New theater spaces for The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, Eau Claire Children’s Theatre, and an upgraded Public Library
  • Launched Sculpture Tour Eau Claire

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