From a brownfield to a community park that is now a regional destination for visitors; Phoenix Park illustrates the potential of strategic investment in public space as a catalyst for economic development. Located in downtown Eau Claire, at the intersection of two rivers, this linear waterfront park offers river access, fishing, tubing, a regional bike system trailhead, concerts and a twice weekly farmer’s market. As the first public investment in the North Barstow Redevelopment Area, the park has been a catalyst for office development, new housing, restaurants and neighborhood retail. Named for the mythical phoenix bird and the former Phoenix Steel Company that occupied the site, this urban brownfield has become a center for community celebrations or a quiet escape to the water.
The park was developed using a mix of TIF funds plus state and federal grants. Since 2005 when the project started, every public dollar invested has generated millions of dollars in private investment and that number continues to grow with a new housing project being completed in 2011.