The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Water Street to be revamped during summer

Walking down Water Street may be difficult this summer due to a total renovation planned to start after the school year ends in May.

On Thursday, board members of the Water Street Business Improvement District discussed plans for the popular street’s reconstruction, which is scheduled to start May 17.

With the “Water Street Project,” beginning shortly after graduation and planned to be completed by Aug. 15, most students will not be affected. Yet store owners along it most likely will see a change in business, said Sara Baer, owner of Avalon European Floral on Water Street.

“People will just have to walk a little bit more – no big effects on students,” Baer said. “There is more concern for merchants.”

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Water Street Project coordinator Tom Reiter said four blocks will be reconstructed and pedestrians will have to “avoid holes because there will be no sidewalks.”

Reiter said construction will affect business owners more than students or residents.

Junior Alyssa Rickey said she thinks the several Water Street bars, specifically, will suffer the most during the project.

“Bars will probably be most affected than the other businesses on the street,” Rickey said.

The project plans to include the construction of a new street, sidewalks and curb and gutter systems.

One of the factors prompting the renovation is a more than 100-year-old infrastructure and sewer system, along with poor street conditions. Construction workers will take out the street two blocks at a time, officials said.

The street also will be revamped with more durable trees, waste containers, plumbing, bicycle racks and possibly flowerpot hangers.

Board members also discussed the possibility of new lights, because they have not been replaced for 15 years. New lights would be more diffused and illuminate more of the sidewalk.

During construction, traffic will be detoured through Chippewa Street. The funding has been approved from the City of Eau Claire Capital Improvement Fund and assessment rates will not be raised as a result of the renovation.

A couple of board members said they are worried about the limited customer access to Kerm’s grocery store, which they think could cause larger business losses for other stores.

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Water Street to be revamped during summer