City of Altoona makes big plans for River Prairie Development - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

City of Altoona makes big plans for River Prairie Development

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Altoona (WQOW) - With a plaza for performing, a kayak and canoe launch pad and a farmer's market, a small city is talking about big plans.

As Eau Claire’s eastern sister, Altoona, is itching to make a name for itself.

Mike Golat, Altoona’s city administrator, said, "From the beginning, it was hope that this (development) would provide Altoona with an identity."

The City of Altoona plans to make a major development on 50 acres of land in the northwest quadrant of River Prairie, bordered by the Eau Claire River and River Prairie Drive.

Golat said, “Right now, Altoona is largely, because we don't have much of a downtown, kind of just melds with the western boundaries of Eau Claire. This would give Altoona an identity, a place where people can hang out, talk, socialize, enjoy recreational activities, but also patronize the businesses that will be down there."

Plans for a hotel, restaurant and plaza are what the city hopes will help make it stand out among its neighbors.

"The public space will be a significant feature in the central part of the site, flowing down to the Eau Claire River. We'll have a small performance area in this plaza area (points) behind the street scape so that in the winter it'll be more intimate and a warmer micro climate," Golat said.

Plans will also include making access to areas that proved difficult before. Golat said, "Some of the key features is that we'll have a kayak and canoe landing. Under the bridge, there is no good, clear access to the Eau Claire River right now. It's a very under utilized kayak/canoe resource in the heart of our city, but it's difficult to get to because of limited access."

Other areas of the development will include spaces for community events.

Golat said, "We’ll also tie in public buildings where we'll be able to host events such as runs, farmers markets, car shows, art fairs, any kind of public event that we want to do. We're going to establish this area right from the beginning to host those kinds of events."

The City of Altoona is not sure on the project's cost but say construction on road infrastructures should start in a few weeks.

The City of Altoona will hold a review of its final plans on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

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