Demolition on the Empire building in Chippewa Falls began on Wednesday. It will be replaced by a new chamber of commerce and visitor center.
Downtown Chippewa Falls is normally filled with the sounds of cars passing by through Bridge Street.
But on Wednesday there were some new noises, new sights and one day all of it will lead to a new building. But first the Empire building in Chippewa Falls is being torn down.
Alysson Gommer and her colleagues at the Chamber of Commerce have a front row seat to the demolition of the old Empire Building.
By the spring of 2015 she will work at the new Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce which will be built where the Empire Building now sits. She is excited it will be one of the first buildings visitors see when they come to downtown Chippewa Falls.
It means new opportunities.
"Being able to promote the Lake Wissota area, downtown, Chippewa County as a whole and just sharing what we have that makes our community so special," Gommer said.
The Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce will also share the same sidewalk with a handful of businesses that already line Bridge Street.
"Businesses on this side of town are definitely going to be benefit from the visitors’ center and people pulling in there and taking a walk up the street," she added.
And Mayor Greg Hoffman says this project is part of a larger plan to re-develop downtown Chippewa Falls. Within about the next five years, he says plans call for a new park, new entryway to downtown, better use of the river and soon a new Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.
"The community, city tightened its belt, we went through some tough economic times but by going through that we got to the other side and now we can make some investments," Hoffman said.