Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news during the past week.
Thumbs up: The Chippewa Falls Mission Coalition has big plans for little houses.
The tiny houses the coalition — made up of a group of 17 area churches — is building are intended to bring homeless people out of the elements as another Wisconsin winter closes in on us. The group received permission this week from the Lake Hallie Village Board to allow two of the small houses on the grounds of Landmark Christian Church.
Some people who live in the village still are rightfully concerned about the additions to their quiet neighborhood. Coalition members say they screen homeless people who would live in the homes. But placing tiny homes in church parking lots isn’t the permanent solution to the homeless situation in the region. The coalition’s ultimate goal is to have a “village” of tiny homes somewhere in Chippewa Falls that would allow people to have easy access to Chippewa County services, a free clinic and other living necessities.
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Thumbs down: Just when we thought the Brewing Projekt’s new location was a done deal, another snag puts it in jeopardy.
This week it was conflicting development and lease agreements that made it unclear whether the city of Eau Claire or the brewery was responsible for cleanup of any contaminants that might be found in the former industrial building at 1807 N. Oxford Ave. When the city’s Redevelopment Authority this week clarified its position and decided the Brewing Projekt would be responsible for any cleanup, brewery owner William Glass said he has other site options for an expansion and may choose to not locate in the Cannery District.
The Brewing Projekt is a good fit for the redevelopment of the west side of the Chippewa River. Maybe investigation of the building will determine there is little contamination and all this will be a moot point. If it’s expensive, maybe the two sides could split the cost. It just seems like a compromise could, and should, be worked out.
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Thumbs up: The city’s plans for a new bridge and redesign of the causeway at the Lake Street entrance to Carson Park are impressive and well-timed.
The bridge has long been a popular spot for fishermen who dot the area along the structure many spring, summer and fall days. But the 75-year-old bridge is showing its age. It’s narrow and, in this city of bike trails, has no bicycle path for the many people who ride into Carson Park for activities. There is a hefty $2 million price tag but the federal government will share the cost.
City officials wisely chose to start the project the day after the biggest crowd of the year flocks to Carson Park for the annual Fourth of July fireworks. Closing the bridge before July 5 would have created a traffic nightmare.
Certainly there will be inconveniences, like altering the Labor Day weekend Buckshot Run route. No big deal. The route has been redesigned multiple times because of construction in this ever-changing city over the years. Runners may even find they don’t miss climbing that hill near Half Moon Lake as they start the final mile of the race.