$13M New Markets Transaction
Eau Claire, WI
TOTAL PROJECT COST
Citizens Community Bank
Forward Community Investments
The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (CMEC) plans to construct a 25,000 SF building.
Since 2000, the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire (CMEC) has served over 900,000 families and children, providing a safe, inclusive environment for children to learn and play with others their age. In early 2023, CMEC will move into a dynamic, 25,000 square foot carbon-neutral LEED Platinum facility, allowing them to expand the museum and serve as a hub for the community to access quality early education and family resources. A thriving community values children and strengthens families: CMEC will provide wrap-around services that fully engage families and provide supportive services and resources to parents, serving as an anchor in the revitalization of downtown Eau Claire.
CMEC will also provide critical access to Pre-K learning for children ages six months to five years in collaboration with the Eau Claire Area School District’s Eau Claire 4 Tomorrow program. In the first year of operation, the CMEC projects it will offer 40 seats for incoming students with a plan to increase that number to 100 by 2027. A tenant of the preschool curriculum will be to allow the students to learn practical life skills and build independence. They also plan to address the shortage of childcare workers by providing above-average wages for similar providers in the Eau Claire area.
Percent of Median Family Income
Unemployment Rate Ratio
Severely Distressed Census Tract
Census tract (55035001101) is severely distressed based on unemployment rate (>1.5x national average) poverty rate (>30%).
- 3,000 SF new construction
- 6,130 SF increase in educational and exhibit space
- New preschool program
- Increased natural lighting
- Interactive outdoor play area
- Improved accessibility for children and adults with physical challenges and added “Sensory Space” for children with autism
Although formal academics and structured activities are important, research shows that child-directed play is critical for healthy emotional, cognitive, and social development. In other words, it might look like a child is “just playing,” but under the surface they are actually solving problems, learning language, developing empathy, and strengthening self-regulation.
Child directed play is critical for positive outcomes including cognitive development, family engagement, social skills and empathy, fine and gross motor skill development, emotional control, and academic success. The Children’s Museum of Eau Claire reviews a diverse set of demographic data to be agile in its approach.
A New Home
Bolder. Better. Bigger.
Those are the words offered to describe the new Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. Children’s museums are conveners in the communities they serve, and through this project CMEC seeks to carry that forward with the planning, design, and building of a new Children’s Museum.