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Garfield Avenue redesign gets regents' approval

| Julie Poquette

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on April 8 approved the preliminary design plans for the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project at UW-Eau Claire.

The $12.4 million project was enumerated in the 2013-15 state budget due to the critical condition of utilities that run through the Garfield Avenue corridor, including sanitary sewer lines that run adjacent to the Chippewa River.

Approximately 75 percent of the Garfield Avenue redevelopment construction budget is for replacement of failing underground utilities. The project will include upgrading approximately 1,600 feet of water lines to provide adequate fire protection flow and replacing 1,300 feet of sanitary sewer line. Storm water drainage will be modified to drain the redeveloped corridor, 1,200 feet of new natural gas line will be installed, and approximately 1,500 linear feet of steam and steam condensate line will be replaced in concrete box conduit. The project also will include removal of abandoned utilities located along the corridor.

Approximately half of the redevelopment project will be funded by state-tax-supported bonding, with the remainder funded through program-revenue-supported bonding.

The project also will:

  • reconfigure the south end of the UW-Eau Claire footbridge to improve safety and ADA compliance; 
  • remove the existing Garfield Avenue street and create a primarily bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfare; 
  • remove the Putnam parking lot to create outdoor classroom space;
  • create a scenic overlook along the Chippewa River;
  • construct a small outdoor amphitheater that can be used for classes, performances or informal gatherings, as well as new pathways along the Chippewa River.

The regents' approval follows previous approvals by the Eau Claire Parks and Waterways Commission, Plan Commission and City Council. The Garfield Avenue project design will next be up for review and approval by the Wisconsin Building Commission.

See a previous story and the project website for more details about the Garfield Avenue redevelopment project.

For additional information, contact Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for facilities and university relations, at 715-836-4742 or

Photo cutline: An artist's rendering shows the concept for an outdoor classroom space included in the design plans for UW-Eau Claire's Garfield Avenue redevelopment project.