Note from the Editor | November. 11, 2015
In this issue, you’ll find a story about the effort to revitalize the former Green Tree Inn, transforming it into the new Oxbow Hotel – a boutique, independent lodging establishment with 30 rooms, a restaurant, bar, and more. It’s a project I’ve been deeply involved in for quite some time. You can read the latest news and discover new details about it on page 10, but I also wanted to give you a quick glimpse behind the curtain on the endeavor. The obvious need for a property like this struck me roughly four years ago when planning a three-day trip to Eau Claire for a group of arts and business folks from around the state. Our community desperately needed some cool places to stay downtown, close to the community’s real action. And while in the midst of building a new home for Volume One and The Local Store on Dewey Street, it didn’t take me long to notice there was an opportunity right across the road at the Green Tree Inn. But an idea is just an idea. Lots of people have great ideas all the time. Thankfully, a group of amazing people stepped up for this one. Nearly everyone in this community with whom I shared the vision “got it” and wanted to play a role. Perhaps you’ve previously read about the involvement of my friends Justin Vernon, Zach Halmstad, Ben Richgruber, and Stuart Sandler. But beyond this core group, more than a dozen others have joined us with their own investment in the concept and its potential – people without whom the project would have dissolved. Next came an amazing team of designers and builders, then officials with the City of Eau Claire, then the fine folks at People’s Bank of Eau Claire, and now an economic development agency from the state of Wisconsin. They, and many others along the way, all got it. Without these folks, and without the “yes” culture that’s been growing in this community, we’d never have come far enough to finally begin construction this month. Next summer, you’ll hopefully see our vision fully realized, and all of us, everyone mentioned above, look forward to this community’s support. Your support. So in advance let me simply say: Thank you. Let this be one more project on the march to a revitalized downtown landscape.