The Eau Claire County Veterans Tribute Foundation announced its plans on June 15 to move its “Veterans Tribute Park” project from Eau Claire to Altoona.
The $2.2 million project was set to be located in the green space off Forest Street in Eau Claire and include monuments, green space and a Veterans Tribute Trail. Now the foundation will construct the park in the River Prairie Development in Altoona.
“We have found this move to be in the best interest of the project and those who we represent as we have been welcomed without bias or agenda,” says a statement from the foundation. “The move is also financially responsible as it does not require additional infrastructure outside of our original design and budget, and we can begin construction sooner than anticipated.”
The plans for the park were approved in February before the proposal to rename the area, “Veterans Tribute Park,” caused disagreement among community members.
Eau Claire County Board Supervisor Brandon Buchanan says the proposed name was not included in the park’s earlier documents.
“Then they submitted a request to name all of the 17 acres without talking to anyone first,” Buchanan said. “Then last week they claimed they never submitted the request. All of this is just very confusing.”
Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld says he was surprised at the foundation’s decision to move the park.
“I guess it is unfortunate and frustrating. We would have loved to have had them be a part of our city and that park,” Weld says. “At the same time I’m happy that there will be a park available here in Eau Claire County and right next door and I think for the veterans or the citizens of Eau Claire at least we have that to look forward to.”
Weld says he still wants to make some of the planned improvements to the park like replacing the 100-year-old infrastructure.
“We are still going to continue that trail from the high bridge and connect it to that other trail heading into Phoenix Park. I think we will repave the road, the Forest Street sidewalk will all get redone and the utilities as well.” Weld says the City Council still needs to approve these plans but they will be included in the agenda at the meeting on July 23.
Members of the Eau Claire County Veterans Tribute Foundation say they will comment on the matter at a later time.