Eau Claire projects seek funding approval


Eau Claire’s downtown is looking at securing funds from the state Building Commission to advance work on a downtown Arts Center, leasing apartments for UW-Eau Claire students and road construction near the sites.

The Leader-Telegram reports:

Releasing a $15 million state contribution to a downtown Eau Claire arts center and leasing apartments in a neighboring building for UW-Eau Claire students will be voted on today by the state Building Commission.

Among the items on that group’s agenda for its 1 p.m. meeting in West Allis is approving the state’s contribution to the $45 million Confluence Arts Center, a two-theater facility for which construction is poised to begin in October on Graham Avenue.

“This is the last of the regulatory approvals we need,” said Jerry Jacobson, president of the building’s nonprofit ownership group, Eau Claire Confluence Arts.

Agenda materials for today’s meeting state that the Confluence Project has met requirements that it also get funding from non-state sources and submit construction plans for review and approval.

The arts center already secured $8.5 million from Eau Claire city and county governments, and is expecting $3 million in new market tax credits. But the largest portion of its budget — philanthropic donations — is still in progress.

A little over $14 million has been raised so far, said Kimera Way, executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

Based on the budget presented to the commission, $16 million will come from donations and another $2.5 million would be a combination of donations and construction loans.

Currently the fundraising campaign is in a push to raise $1.5 million in community donations by the end of September to get a matching $1.5 million from an unnamed donor.

Way and Chancellor James Schmidt will be among the UW-Eau Claire representatives attending today’s commission meeting, along with representatives of the local arts community. In addition to answering questions, Way said, the group hopes to see another milestone in a project that has been in the works for years.

“It’s been a journey,” she said. “We’ve been at this for a while.”

For more, visit, Leader-Telegram.