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

IGA Community Walk allows UWEC students and Eau Claire officials to communicate

Connections are made between police, city officials and IGA members
Photo by Liz Curtin
On Washington and State, discussions were had on the safety of the intersection.

At 9 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the Davies Student Center, police, city council members and others met to participate in the Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) Community Walk. 

The walk is held annually by the IGA commission and this night was hosted by members Phoebe Pilon and Evan Frawley. 

Mei Bean, the IGA Director, also joined them over a video call while in Indiana for a rugby tournament. 

“The purpose is to really connect students to the city officials and also to make sure that city officials are seeing the kind of issues that off-campus students are facing every day,” Bean said. 

Story continues below advertisement

Pilon said that the walk was initially scheduled for the middle of October but was rescheduled so more city officials could make it. 

Before starting the walk, everyone introduced themselves and reviewed the maps of the two routes. 

One group took a route that mostly followed Water Street while the other took one mostly on State Street. 

City council member, Jeremy Gragert said there were many things, including crosswalks, intersections, sidewalks, street lights and accommodations for bikes that needed to be updated. 

He also brought attention to a crosswalk missing a crossing button on Garfield and State and the tricky intersection of Washington and State. 

One lamppost was rusting with a different colored light from the others that only turned on when touched. 

“I’ve been trying to get that light replaced for almost 20 years,” Gragert said. 

Gragert said that it’s not easy to get the city to fix something right away when they present it, but if more students shared discontent with an issue then the city may pay more attention to it. 

In addition, he said the state doesn’t always distribute funds equally or reasonably. 

“The toughest thing for cities like Eau Claire is that we have limited funds and limited staff,” Gragert said, “If I could have everything be my decision or something and I could decide how every hour is spent, maybe it would be slightly different, but overall I think we’re doing a good job.”

Frawley said that, as a biker in Eau Claire, he would like to see more protected bike lanes and bike corrals in front of businesses in addition to updates on crosswalks, stoplights and sidewalks. 

Pilon, on the other hand, said she believes Eau Claire could benefit from more flashing crosswalks. 

“I think that having one of those on Water Street would be extremely beneficial, and if that’s not a possibility for a bit because of funding, that is completely understandable,” Pilon said, “But I do think that if people in the community thought of this as an option, they would, hopefully, go to city council meetings and bring it up and express their interest and concern with this issue.”

After the walks were over, participants were provided with cookies and Chex Mix in the Chancellors’ room while attendees shared what they found. Attendees discussed at the table while Pilon recorded the minutes.

“The biggest thing that I’ve heard that students get out of it is just being able to kind of have a face to the name. A lot of us have at least heard the names of city officials, but it’s good to at least be able to see them face to face and have these kinds of tough discussions,” Bean said.

Those who have found safety or sanitary issues while walking around Eau Claire can submit a service request on the city of Eau Claire’s website

“My hope is that IGA will continue to push out and promote ways that students can get involved,” Frawley said. 

Liz Curtin can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *