Downtown Awards & Celebration
It was a lovely night! Thanks to all who came to celebrate the Downtown Awards. Each year we take a poll about the places and things you love about Downtown Eau Claire, and we had a fantastic time handing out awards at The Brewing Projekt on Thursday, March 2. The evening included food from Cranky Buzzard and 3rd & Vine, and entertainment from The Confluence Trio.
Voting for next year's awards will be held at the beginning of 2024. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, come downtown and discover your own places and people to celebrate!
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: SCOTT RANNILA
Scott has brought thoughtful leadership, good humor, and a genuine interest in seeing DECI and Downtown Eau Claire succeed for nearly a decade of service.
As a volunteer-driven organization, we truly depend on volunteers to achieve our goals, and we’ve been lucky to be able to rely on volunteers such as Scott. We’ve worked alongside Scott on many committees, through many challenges, and at a lot of events - in all kinds of elements - and we appreciate all of his hard work on our behalf.
If you haven’t had the chance to work with Scott, don’t worry, you likely will - as he has lent his time and talents to many organizations in our community. You’re bound to find yourself on a committee, board, or volunteering for an event with him in the near future! We’re happy to be counted as one of the organizations that Scott has chosen to work with.
MEMBER OF THE YEAR: PABLO CENTER AT THE CONFLUENCE
The Pablo Center has certainly brought huge changes to our downtown. Physically, the center has come to define the South Barstow skyline (if it can be called that). There’s no question when a Pablo Show is happening downtown - the center’s events bring a palpable energy to downtown.
Beyond the very real impact of the center’s operations on downtown, DECI has been privileged to work with the staff and leadership at the Pablo Center. We’ve benefited from their generosity with room space rentals for events like Haymarket Holiday and DECI Idea Lounges, and the South Barstow District has benefited from the center’s willingness to contribute to the Business Improvement District through in-kind services like banner installation and removal and refurbishment of decorative street decorations.
We’ve had the opportunity to work with Pablo staff on many occasions and have always appreciated their generosity with their time and their willingness to help. Never did we need that help more than at a Party on the Plaza when literally all of our power options failed. Pablo staff saved the event by helping us figure out the electrical issues and run power from their building.
In essence, Pablo Center has proven themselves to be very good neighbors!
Pablo Center has also been an important partner on essential cultural events in our city. It has become home to conferences, celebrations, and educational opportunities that highlight and celebrate the rich multicultural fabric of our community.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT: SOUTH BARSTOW BID
The South Barstow Business Improvement District Board invests contributions from property and business owners in the district into projects that enhance the district. Over the last several years, South Barstow has launched a number of projects that have had a huge impact on our downtown.
The district has invested heavily in landscaping and street maintenance. The next time you’re on South Barstow, take a moment to admire the new plantings and well-maintained sidewalks and tree grates. Or better yet, take a stroll to admire the Graham Ave planters and, new in 2023, the Adopt-a-Planter plantings that various businesses have sponsored to add even more plants and color along the street. If you’re downtown in the evenings, you can’t miss one of the biggest projects undertaken by the BID - the wrapped tree lights along South Bartsow street. Additionally, the district is investing in updated banner decorations, has revamped the music offerings on the outdoor street speakers, winter and holiday lighting along Graham Ave and side streets, and has made significant investments in keeping snow banks at a minimum during winter months - making visits downtown during the winter months more accessible and safer for everyone.
Additionally, the business and property owners who comprise the South Barstow BID Board have made a significant commitment to representing the interests and needs of district members. The board advocates for parking needs, works with community members to find solutions and assistance for our unhoused population, and works to bring other district issues to the table when they need to be addressed. The South Barstow BID Board represents the South Barstow District well, and our entire downtown benefits from their efforts to build a better South Barstow.
EVENT PARTNER OF THE YEAR: AYRES ASSOCIATES
Our events usually feature a lot of moving pieces, but A Grand Evening on the Bridge is especially complicated. We take the entire Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and serve a multi-course meal to 180 guests. In order to create the event, we have to haul in every element of the event, from the sound system to the tables and chairs, right down to the forks and plates.
We enjoy amazing support from our restaurant partners, each year, in particular, the crew from Houligans never fails to come through in a big way for us. But we realized that we were maybe relying too much on our restaurant partners and staff to execute the event and in 2022, looked for ways that we could add more volunteer support for the event - enter our volunteer crew from Ayres Associates.
The team from Ayres Associates came through in a huge way for us last year, and helped ensure a wonderful evening for all involved.
As our auxiliary serving team, they worked very hard throughout the evening, balancing trays, hauling tubs, serving tables, and all the while, bringing their positive, can-do vibes to the night.
When Grand Evening goes right, it can truly be a magical night, and we’re so grateful that the Ayres crew of volunteers helped make 2022’s event such a success!
FAVORITE NEW BUSINESS, AND FAVORITE OVERALL BUSINESS: REBOOT SOCIAL
Reboot Social is located at 220 S Barstow and features food, drinks, a vintage arcade and a wide variety of games and has quickly become a downtown hot spot!
Reboot underwent a massive renovation of the former Eau Claire Children’s Museum building.
Depending on your age, guests can either relive their childhoods or experience for the first time classic video games and pinball, try their hand at duckpin bowling, join friends in table games, and enjoy a full menu of delicious eats and drinks.
Reboot Social has brought more life and fun to the South Barstow District and we’re thrilled to have them downtown!
2022 FAVORITE DOWNTOWN EVENT: FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS
One downtown event has grown exponentially in the last several years, and has really become a hallmark of summer in Downtown Eau Claire. This year, voters chose the Volume One Food Truck Fridays as their favorite Downtown Event in 2022.
Food Truck Fridays bring together some of our favorite elements - Phoenix Park, the confluence, our community, and a great selection of delicious food! You can’t go wrong with that combo and we agree with voters that this is one of the best events in Downtown Eau Claire!
2022 MOST IMPRESSIVE GLOW UP: L.E. PHILLIPS MEMORIAL PUBLIC LIBRARY
The library's $18.5 million project brought huge changes to the library, including many changes to the first and second floors, and adding a new 3rd floor to the building that includes a 200-seat public use event space and a dazzling new art gallery space and innovation lab.
The updates to the building have modernized the nearly 50-year-old building and will allow the library to be a space that serves the needs of our community for years to come!
2022 BEST NEW DEVELOPMENT: CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF EAU CLAIRE
The Eau Claire Children’s Museum is bolder, bigger, and better thanks to their multimillion dollar project that opened at the end of 2022. The building reflects the museum’s mission to provide a safe, inclusive environment for kids to learn through play and interaction. From the giant timbers that support the building, to the exhibits - both new and familiar, to the classrooms and expanded programming, the museum will continue to inspire wonder for years to come!