Neighborhood leaders: New garden pavilion will revitalize north downtown area

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Eau Claire City Council will vote on a new pavilion at the community garden north of downtown on Tuesday.

WEAU 13 News spoke with neighborhood leaders who hope the pavilion will help in the revitalization of the area.

Tami Schraufnagel, the Vice Chair of the North River Fronts Neighborhood Association, said the Phoenix Community Garden has been a big part of Eau Claire for the past three years.

“We have been able to outfit both Feed My People and Community Table with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables,” Schraufnagel said.

Now they’re looking to grow more than just fruits and vegetables, proposing a pavilion at the site.

“Joe Mauer came up with some designs and showed them to the neighborhood,” Schraufnagel said.

Mauer is a designer with Next Step Energy.

The shelter will be 1,680 square feet.

While it would be used for cleaning produce, storing equipment and irrigation, the pavilion would also be open to the public.

“If they're going to have a family reunion or a baptism or a wedding even, that's going to be a nice casual setting where people could come and rent it,” Schraufnagel said.

Neighborhood leaders said they hope the new pavilion will help change the image of the North River Fronts Neighborhood.

“I think everything that is happening on Madison Street, Galloway Street, Wisconsin Street is moving north. We're hoping young professionals and entrepreneurs and families invest in the neighborhood,” Schraufnagel said.

The project is priced at $17,000.

Schraufnagel said it will be funded by donations from local companies and organizations.

“We hope the approval of council will jump start the last of the yeses from the companies we've been talking with to get the final $7,000,” Schraufnagel said.

But the project does have some opponents.

Bernie Trettin said the neighborhood association didn’t give neighbors enough notice about the pavilion, and the structure is not appropriate for the area, which is in a flood plain.

City Council Member Andrew Werthmann told WEAU that he expects the pavilion plan to be approved at Tuesday’s council meeting, unless there’s vocal opposition from the community.

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