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Cannery District name proposed for Eau Claire development area

Posted July 22nd, 2015

 

By Andrew Bowd

Changing the name of an Eau Claire redevelopment district will be considered next week to honor the area'a past and potential future.

The Redevelopment Authority will consider changing the West band Redevelopment District to the Cannery Redevelopment District during its Wednesday morning meeting.

"It reflects our past.  It gives it more of a historical identity," said mike Schatz, city economic development administrator.

The area north of Madison Street along the west bank of the Chippewa River once was home to Lange Canning Co., which operated in the early 20th century.  Food and beverage production also is expected to be integral to the area's future as the city is studying the possibility of a year-round market there, along with two breweries that moved into the vicinity this year.

Changing the name from the district's general geographic location had been contemplated for a while, and Schatz said the RDA is taking action as efforts to make plans for the area are progressing.

"We've been anticipating doing this for some time," he said.

Also during Wednesday's meeting, local engineering firm Ayres Associates will present its latest version of plans the RDA commissioned for designating public park and trail spaces in the redevelopment district while setting aside other land for private development.

The RDA also is scheduled to accept a $15,000 grant from the National Association of Realtors for planning public spaces in the district.

A new redevelopment district could be created in Eau Claire around the proposed site of a UW-Eau Claire events and recreation center.

The university requested that the RDA consider creating a new district on Menomonie Street, Schatz said, and Wednesday's meeting will be the first chance the group will discuss the idea.

Declaring an area as a redevelopment district allows the RDA to buy land, borrow money for projects there and condemn property, Schatz said.

Included in the potential district would be the 21-acre County Materials site, the planned location for a facility that would replace the university's Zorn Arena, provide a venue for large events and create space for a new YMCA.

The project was spurred by a $10 million gift announced in August from County Materials owners and UW-Eau Claire alumni John and Carolyn Sonnentag.

A proposal to redevelop land that currently serves as temporary parking at the southwest corner of North Barstow and Wisconsin streets will be discussed in closed session during the RDA's upcoming meeting.

The RDA will not take action on the proposal on Wednesday, Schatz said.

The block of land in the North Barstow Redevelopment District will be aailable for private development after an adjacent city parking ramp under construction is scheduled to open next summer.

Click here to read the story on Leader Telegram's website.