Special Section

Looking Ahead 2019 - Plazas, Trails, & Bridges

Haymarket Plaza
Haymarket Plaza

While the Pablo Center at the Confluence – Eau Claire’s long-awaited downtown arts center – opened as planned last September, there were delays in completing the complementary urban public space between the new facility and the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers. Haymarket Plaza, as the space is called, was originally slated for completion in the fall, but as winter set in it became clear the project would have to wait until warmer weather arrives.

Eau Claire City Engineer Dave Solberg said that the plaza is 60 to 70 percent complete; what remains to be finished are concrete surfaces that visitors will walk or sit on. Pouring the concrete is highly temperature dependent, Solberg explained, so work won’t be able to start until March or April.

Ideally, the plaza – complete with fountain and lighting – will be finished by June, he said, or July 4 at the latest. Before that, however, the chain of luminous public amenities downtown will be extended. This month, work is expected to program the colored lights on the Confluence Crossing Bridge, which was built last year over the Eau Claire River to connect Phoenix Park and Haymarket Plaza.

In addition, downward-facing lighting will be installed in February on the nearby Grand Avenue footbridge, which was upgraded last summer. All this illumination will add to the effect offered by the programmable lights on the Phoenix Park pedestrian bridge, which have been casting colorful designs since 2017.

Meanwhile, the city also plans to extend its trail system during 2019. A river walk will be built along the east bank of the Chippewa River from Haymarket Landing to Lake Street, and there are also plans for a similar trail along the south side of the Eau Claire River between South Barstow and Dewey streets, Solberg said.