CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- After a lengthy funding campaign and months of planning, an area construction project is nearing completion and will soon be ready for full public use.
While Eau Claire has Phoenix Park, Altoona has River Prairie, and now Chippewa Falls has Riverfront Park. City officials say it's been a long road of planning and preparation but the park will soon be up and running for anyone who wishes to enjoy it. Chippewa Riverfront is still under construction but the public has already began utilizing it.
Whether you enjoy an afternoon stroll with a scenic view or you're looking for an outdoor music venue, Riverfront Park may soon become your new favorite spot in Chippewa Falls. Dick Hebert, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry says the park gives the community access to the river that previously was unavailable. "It's a multi -use facility so there are going to be times where it's a passive park where there's not an event here but there will also be times where we have big events here," said Hebert.
The park project has been in the works for quite some time and officials say it’s one of the biggest city developments in the last hundred years at a $2 million investment. "We're in phase two right now, which is exciting because phase one was pretty much running utilities to the site and also doing the work along the river so people are seeing as they drive by they're seeing things happen now," said Hebert.
The park will feature a fishing pier, WiFi access, restroom facilities and an amphitheater with seating for up to 3,000 people. "This is going to be the performance stage and behind the performance stage where this truck is where the plan is to have during the winter, a skating area." Hebert says it’s not just about the Riverfront Park space, the final phase of the project incorporates Allen Park, located on the other side of road.
"Phase three is the development of Allen Park is the trails. The trail connection to the Chippewa Riverfront and then also we want to build some type of pavilion for the farmers market,” he said. Development of Allen Park will begin in 2019 but until then, he says people will see noticeable progress for Chippewa Riverfront within the next month. “I’m hoping by the end of August, the performance stage will be complete and then the last part of it is there are plans for three shelters. Those hopefully will be complete by the end of this year," said Hebert.
The city expects the park project to have a big economic impact on Downtown Chippewa Falls, meanwhile, a ribbon cutting celebration for the official park opening is scheduled for October 14th.