Eau Claire (WQOW) - The Eau Claire City Council approved some big projects and new ordinances for food trucks, and introduced some controversial changes Tuesday.
The council approved the site plan for the Haymarket Plaza, located between the Pablo Center at the Confluence and the Haymarket Landing. Key elements include a fire pit, water features, a community deck, green areas, and art spaces. The approval allows construction to begin in April. "We're excited to get going on the bridge, the plaza, the river walk,” said city engineer Dave Solberg. “We understand that people are going to be curious this summer. Just be patient with us while we do our work down there.”
Solberg said the bridge connecting the plaza to Phoenix Park will be delivered by June, and they hope to have it installed by July. The contract for the project was awarded to Anderson Bridge in Colfax. It's expected to cost $800,000, but city officials still need to determine where to come up with another $150,000 for the electrical on that bridge. “We're hoping to have everything wrapped up by September, October,” said Solberg. “It'll be well worth the wait.”
The city council also voted on a new ordinance for food trucks. It approved a measure to allow food trucks to sell in city parks one night per week, year-round. However, it'll be up to each neighborhood to decide which day they want the food trucks to set up shop. City officials hope having a mobile food vendor will help strengthen the community.
Also Tuesday night, the council introduced a controversial ordinance. Officials say a change to Eau Claire's public good order was needed after noise complaints from downtown residents. The change would only allow 10 passengers to be dropped off along a single block between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. city-wide. The city council meeting seats were filled with college students, some of whom expressed concerns about the ordinance to News 18 Monday. We also reported the owner of Right Way Shuttle in Chippewa Falls is worried this proposal could drive him out of business. A public hearing on the change is set for Monday, March 12.