Future developments for downtown Eau Claire

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) -- Changes are in the works for downtown Eau Claire and people definitely have an opinion on what they'd like to see.

Eau Claire local, Gary Wojtasik, says he thinks there should be a grocery store downtown. Another Eau Claire resident, Denise Fagerlin says extra parking would be helpful, and lifetime Eau Claire resident, Lauren Dasher, would like to see something the Eau Claire community can be proud of.

Public opinions are being taken into consideration by the city and Economic Development Director, Mike Schatz, says the idea is to make the downtown area more convenient, including developing the thirty acres along Madison Street and Oxford Avenue called the West Bank Redevelopment District.

Schatz says, "We could see a mixture of medical offices, maybe some elderly housing and then some other types of loft apartment facing the river. I think it has some great potential, great energy. It's all a matter of having financial resources on how fast we can move but I just see a ton of potential in Eau Claire for that continued revitalization of downtown."

The hope is that these changes will bring in more business and resources for the community, just as Schatz believes the confluence project will do.

Schatz says, "We want to have everything in place that, for individuals, they feel their community offers a lot of different things and the music and arts are one of those things, which is why they really want to see the confluence project go forward."

The Economic Development Director does say however, it will take a lot of planning and could be years before work begins on these projects but that doesn't mean he's not excited.

Schatz says, "It just seems unlimited what we might be able to do with some of the older areas in town that need an upgrade. So, I think the project list will go on for years and years, even after I'm long gone there will be some good opportunities for redevelopment."

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