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Blugold helps revitalize Eau Claire neighborhood in wake of controversial city ordinance

| Lucy Grogan-Ripp

They say timing is everything; but, is it? Just ask UW-Eau Claire junior Brooke Stein, whose service project with the Randall Park neighborhood comes just in time for the widely debated public good ordinance, a piece of legislation aiming to improve Eau Claire’s neighborhoods while also keeping college students’ weekend festivities in check.

Brooke is completing all 30 hours of her service-learning through the Historic Randall Park Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation. The primary goal of her project has been aimed at improving the living environment of the neighborhood, while also balancing out the ratio of student rentals and owner occupied homes. Brooke was introduced to the project through Management 494, a business course taught by Dr. Scott Lester.

“The project is aiming to improve the housing and living environment of the Randall Park housing community,” Brooke stated. Within the larger context of the housing initiative, Brooke’s role has been focused primarily on media promotion. “I’m working on creating a Facebook page for the public, a media kit, and press release so that the community can get more information about the organization and what its mission is,” Brooke explained. Brooke’s media efforts will aid in attracting investors and donations to the organization, ultimately providing funds to help them reach their goal.

As a large majority of residents in the Randall Park area are college students, the Historic Randall Park Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation is hoping to balance this out. Brooke noted that a large part of their platform has been, “working towards taking over [the] rental properties and striving to make the population of the Randall Park area a balance of student rentals, as well as owner occupied homes.”

Not surprisingly, a large part of Brooke’s media efforts have been focused on market research; a topic fairly new to her since beginning her project. “I had to do a considerable amount of research, not only on the neighborhood but also on marketing strategy,” Brooke commented. “Upon doing research, I found that not only Randall Park, but many others across Eau Claire are looking to revitalize the housing market and try to push for better owner occupied housing, as well as city requirements to keep the areas looking nice.”

Not all of her research spanned outward, however. As a current resident of the Randall Park area, Brooke certainly knows a thing or two about the neighborhood. “I know from living in that area that a lot of homes are very run down and not taken care of,” Brooke noted. “The population is largely college students…so, they often do not take very good care of the homes.”

Because of this inherent need for homes to get the care and upkeep they need, Brooke hopes that the Historic Randall Park Revitalization Association will ultimately, “be able to bring life back to the homes in the area.”

Brooke’s service to her community is an important one; a service that not only helps college students like herself, but also the hard-working families that college students so often forget about while living in the campus bubble.

Although it is still unclear how the public ordinance will play out, there is one thing known for sure: when Blugolds come together to serve the greater good of the community, everybody wins.