A Tour of the City of Eau Claire's Phoenix Park

Center Line Community Forum presents…
A Tour of the City of Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park
Friday, April 24, 2015 (Please register by Friday, April 17th - details here)

Fellow Wisconsin community Eau Claire is receiving national attention for the design and process used in redeveloping its waterfront and downtown. Eau Claire was recently awarded the National Civic League’s All-America City Award for “innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross-sector collaboration.” It was also awarded a General Design Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Park Design Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association.

Eau Claire’s redevelopment project centers around Phoenix Park and the North Barstow/Phoenix Park Neighborhood. Phoenix Park is a 6-acre public park and former brownfield site that sits at the confluence of Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers. It offers a walking labyrinth, a natural amphitheater, and a year-round farmer's market. The park is owned and operated by the City of Eau Claire.

The Phoenix Park Neighborhood is a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area with buildings designed to echo downtown Eau Claire’s architecture. Retail shops occupy the main buildings’ ground floors and offices and loft apartments occupy the floors above. Community forums and resident input were key factors in Eau Claire’s process. Before the first residential buildings were open, there was a waiting list of 70.

Phoenix Park sits on the site vacated by the Phoenix Steel Company. The site was vacated in 1971 and leased for warehousing and storage. In 1981, the city of Eau Claire took ownership of the tax-delinquent site. The Wisconsin DNR worked jointly with the city to remove soil contamination from almost a century of industrial operations. Phoenix Park and other related projects have been funded through a mix of federal funding, community development funds, private contributions, non-profit contributions and Tax Incremental Financing.

Center Line Community Forum, a group committed to strengthening community, encouraging civic engagement and formulating vision for smart growth, is offering a trip to Eau Claire on Friday, April 24. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of Eau Claire’s Economic Development Director Mike Schatz. Mr. Schatz, who has been with the City of Eau Claire for over 30 years, also serves as the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority and the Executive Director of the non-profit group, Downtown Eau Claire. He will share their project’s successes and lessons learned along the way. In addition to the presentation by Mr. Schatz, participants will tour Phoenix Park and meet with representatives of the year-round farmer’s market.   

Space is limited. Please register by Friday, April 17.  For details, including how to register, see our Tour Details.

Anyone interested in Sturgeon Bay’s future and wishing to better educate themselves on redevelopment issues is encouraged to attend!

- Laurel Hauser