Phoenix Park

Riverfront Terrace
Eau Claire, WI

Submitted by: Brian Amundson

A park, large open space, with river access and a farmers market at the confluence of two rivers.

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Why It Works

Phoenix Park is a brownfield redevelopment at the confluence of the Chippewa River and Eau Claire River in Downtown Eau Claire. The total area of the park is approximately 9 acres and includes approximately 1/2 mile of riverbank frontage. The area includes strolling paths, fishing walls, regional bike trail, trailhead facilities, a confluence plaza, a celebration plaza, labyrinth, Farmer's Market, Clock tower and many natural and passive areas. What makes this special is how the use of the space is growing and evolving as the community discovers all that it has to offer.

What Makes Phoenix Park a Great Place?

Extensive linkages. Passive strolling path (6'textured concrete meandering along the river. Confluence Plaza Path (8' brick pavers with unique patterns adjacent to a seat wall). Regional bike trail (8' concrete). Strong linkages to Chippewa River Regional bike trail, downtown sidewalk network and adjacent buildings.

Mix is ever changing - but initially would say yes, women feel safe and enjoy the place. Numerous seating choices from formal benches to just sitting on large rocks. New construction with a park person hired to maintain the area. Strong police patrol presence because the area is so open. Vehicles can access the location but because of the parking and curvilinear nature of the street vehicles do not dominate.

Ever evolving with what appears to be a wide variety of uses. The Farmers Market structure currently under construction will have a wide variety of potential uses.

Community pride in the area is growing and people appear to be relax from a busy life style and are genuinely friendly when you encounter them in Phoenix Park

History & Background

As an Engineer/Public Works Director, this project has opened my eyes to what is possible and how we can influence this type of project. We used the Citizen Participation concepts developed by Hans Bleiker (IPMP) and the PPS suggestions about "What makes a Place Great" and what makes public spaces fail as some guiding principles. Our vision and mission statement in 2002 when we started the formal design was . . . "create a unique public space on the waterfront property located at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers, which will enhance the quality of life for people living and working in the Downtown as well as the entire community - one that will be used and enjoyed for many years to come. . . As this actual project has unfolded - how the facilities are being used is fascinating to watch.

Contact Info:

Brian Amundson, Director of Public Works, or Phil Feiber, Director of Parks and Recreation: (715) 839-5032

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