Eau Claire (WQOW) - A vote in Eau Claire Thursday night may buy more time for those who want to preserve South Barstow, but it doesn't appear to be a long term roadblock for Confluence Project developers.
The Landmarks Commission voted 5-2 in favor of designating 6 South Barstow a local landmark. That building is the old Kline Department Store and it's one developers want to raze to make room for the $80 million Confluence Project. Before the vote, there was a public hearing and citizens weighed in. Most were in support of the project, but also wanted the building saved. "We had a beautiful opera house. We now have a plaque. We had a beautiful railroad depot. We now have a plaque. We don't really need any more plaques in Eau Claire," said one resident. Another citizen said, "Without cooperation, I don't see how, what you do today, will stand."
A member of the Landmarks Commission said he believes the local landmark designation does not protect the building from being torn down. It just buys more time for supporters to try to negotiate a compromise. For example, the commission member said the owner of 6 South Barstow may now have to appeal the decision, which could go to the city council.