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Garfield Avenue redevelopment project review begins

The Eau Claire Parks and Waterways Commission reviewed and unanimously agreed at its meeting Feb. 24 with the preliminary design plans for the Garfield Avenue Redevelopment Project at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

The Parks and Waterways Commission’s action is the first step in the formal review process of the project. Next steps will include review by the Eau Claire Plan Commission and City Council, the UW System Board of Regents and the State of Wisconsin Building Commission. According to the project schedule, those reviews and approvals are expected to occur in March and April.

Here are some key facts about the Garfield Avenue Redevelopment Project:

•    Approximately 75 percent of the construction budget for the project is for utilities-related work. The majority of the project is tied to replacing underground utilities. The university has aging, failing utilities that run through the Garfield Avenue corridor along the Chippewa River. Those utilities include water, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, steam pipes, electrical and signal (telephone, IT). This project will remove and replace all of those utilities from the base of the hill to Park Avenue. In addition, the project will extend natural gas service down the Garfield Avenue corridor to the site of the future Science Building location identified in the 2010-30 Campus Master Plan (where Putnam and Katharine Thomas Halls are currently located).
•    In accordance with the Campus Master Plan, the project will reconfigure the south end of the footbridge to improve safety and ADA compliance.  It will remove the existing 90-degree turns to the ramp and stairs that create safety issues for bicyclists and pedestrians.

•    In accordance with the Campus Master Plan, the project will remove the existing Garfield Avenue street and create a primarily bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfare located away from the Chippewa River and closer to Schofield Hall. Only service and emergency vehicles will be allowed west of the Ecumenical Religious Center.

•    The project will also entail surface improvements including the removal of the Putnam Parking Lot to create outdoor classroom space; creation of a scenic overlook where students, faculty, staff and the public can gather; construction of a small outdoor amphitheater that can be used for classes, performances or informal gatherings; and new pathways along the Chippewa River.

•    The $12.4 million project was enumerated in the 2013-15 state budget. Approximately half of the project will be funded by state tax-supported bonding with the remainder funded through program-revenue supported bonding.

For additional information contact Mike Rindo, assistant chancellor for Facilities and University Relations at 715-836-4742 or