Construction on Downtown’s Block 7 is About to Begin – So You Can’t Park There Anymore
The good news: Progress! The bad news: Less parking (at least for now)
It’s happening! In this case, the “it” is the long-awaited redevelopment of downtown Eau Claire’s Block 7 (a.k.a. The Livery lot, a.k.a. where everybody parks to go to the downtown farmers market).
Construction on the vacant block – which is bordered by North Barstow and Galloway Streets, just north of the North Barstow parking ramp – has been part of the downtown plan for more than a decade, but in the meantime Eau Clairians have become accustomed to parking on the temporary asphalt lot built in 2013. But starting today – Monday, Oct. 3 – Block 7 is closed for construction.
While that’s bad news for those of us who are loathe to pay for parking (the big ramp next door is a whole 50 cents an hour!), it’s good news for the community as a whole, considering how long we’ve been waiting for new businesses and apartments to rise on that spot. (There have been plenty of plans over the years. So. Many. Plans.)
Finally, earlier this year, two projects were finally approved for the block: a Menomonie Market Food Co-op grocery store and a five-story mixed-use building with 111 apartments and first-floor commercial space.
In announcing the closure, Downtown Eau Claire Inc. reminded the public that there are plenty of other parking spots available around downtown. And in case you’re worried about the long-term parking impact of developing Block 7, don’t fear: As WQOW News 18 reported recently, the future apartment building will have underground parking for tenants, while the food co-op will have a parking lot with 48 stalls.