Posted: September 18, 2017 In The Press: Wisconsin State Journal
The laid-back, millennial-friendly atmosphere extends beyond Jamf’s luminous windows into the biweekly summertime music performances in adjacent Phoenix Park and across the Eau Claire River to the Confluence Arts Center under construction in what was once a blighted downtown.
“It’s just a place full of opportunities,” said Zac Scherr, 27, a Marshfield native who first came to Eau Claire in 2011 and has moved back twice.
Scherr works as an account representative at Royal Credit Union, which kicked off the downtown revitalization in 2003 when it used tax increment financing to build its headquarters in an area once known for crime and open-air drug dealing.
The city hosts half a dozen music festivals a year drawing a national audience. Railroad bridges that once serviced the shuttered Uniroyal Tire plant have been converted into pedestrian trails. The plant itself, after closing in 1992, became Banbury Place with repurposed office space, art studios and apartments.
Visitors and people who grew up in Eau Claire but left for places like California, Colorado and Texas are returning to open shops and restaurants downtown, said Scott Rogers, workforce director for the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce.
“If you talk to people you hear more stories about somebody moved back because they heard of what’s going on,” Rogers said. “We’re probably just on the edge of that starting to happen.”