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City of Eau Claire asks for public input on new Cannery District park

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:42 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The City of Eau Claire wants to know how it should improve its newest downtown district.

The city is currently looking for input on the planned park in the Cannery District.

“The Cannery District is along the river, it extends from Madison Street along North Oxford, makes the transition along Maple up to the High Bridge Trail along First Avenue,” Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. Executive Director Aaron White said.

He said the city has big plans for the area.

“The concept with the master redevelopment plan is kind of a maker’s district,” White said. “So encouraging potentially businesses that have kind of a maker’s theme. The Brewing Projekt would be that, you know, making beer. The Children’s Theater is there making art.”

He said the city also wants to see more mixed-use housing developments in the area with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments on top.

To make the area more livable, the city also wants to build a park along the Chippewa River at the north end of Oxford Avenue. To make it successful, city leaders need to find out what people want.

“The most important thing in a neighborhood park are the people that are going to be using it. That’s the number one reason. You can have all the elements you want but if people aren’t using them, then they’re no good. And that’s what this survey is about, we’re asking people what they would like to see in their park,” Eau Claire Parks Manager Steve Plaza said.

He said the city could go several directions with the park ranging from something basic with trails along the river, to building ball fields or some combination.

White said regardless of what people decide is best for the new park, building it is vital to developing the Cannery District.

“Having the new park space built in and around what will be new housing provides a place for businesses and residents in that area to engage in that space,” he said. “It can help draw people down and along the trail system. Helps create a more enticing environment as new development looks to come in and adding new residential units in that area.”

The new park will replace nearby Kessler Park, which will be used for new building opportunities according to Plaza.

The city said it hopes to break ground in 2022.

It’s hosting a forum at the L.E. Phillips Senior Center Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

The city said it’s planning on hosting another forum, which hasn’t been scheduled yet. It also has an online survey open through Nov. 24.

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