Businesses excited for new riverfront park

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU)- The City of Chippewa Falls is on its way to making its riverfront a main attraction.

Since this winter the city has been working with designers and the public on plans for a new park at the entryway to downtown.

Right now an old Visitor’s Center greets people heading into downtown Chippewa Falls, soon the piece of land at the intersection of S. Bridge St. and W. River Dr. will offer scenic river views and plenty of green space.

“We have always had a viable downtown but this has definitely made it stronger the new construction the new entryway and it's been great for the downtown merchants,” Vicki Nelson said.

Vicki Nelson's business Eevy Ivy Over has sat at the heart of Chippewa Falls for the past 20 years. In that time a lot has changed in the city, the biggest change though has happened in the last year.

A roundabout at the intersection of Bridge St. and Rushman Dr. was the start of a five year plan to build a new entrance to downtown Chippewa Falls. The next step is to add a new park with plenty of attractions to bring more people into the city.

“They are going to make a formal plaza where people can fish off of, that they can sit in and they can relax,” City Planner Jayson Smith said.

Smith says some of the bigger features include an amphitheater, a fishing pier and plenty of biking and walking trails.

“This is an investment in downtown it’s an investment for the businesses and the property owners,” Smith said.

While the price tag for the park is an estimated $10-12 million, Smith says it will bring extra business into downtown Chippewa Falls and a big boost to the economy.

“We have a lot of activities downtown already so it brings more and more people down here and more return business,” Teri Ouimette, Director of Chippewa Falls Main Street said.

“I think it makes the hometown a little nicer to be for everyone,” Nelson added.

Final plans for the Riverfront Park still have to be approved by the Chippewa Falls City Council at a meeting on August 7th. If all goes according to plan construction could begin on the park in spring of 2015.

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