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Volume 5, Issue 14, Aug 22, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire, Wis.

Published the first business day of each week

Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

Advocacy Blog


Eggs & Issues: Election Outlook with Bill McCoshen

Thursday, Sep 22, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or online via Perigon
Click here for details and to register

Registration deadline 12:00 noon on Wed, Sep 21

   With the November 8 election approaching, join us to take a look at what's at stake for key offices at both the state and federal levels. For the third election season in a row, we'll hear from Bill McCoshen of Michael Best Strategies, one of the state's top political experts. He will assess Wisconsin's statewide and legislative contests to provide us with clues to watch for as the campaign unfolds. Bill is a former Secretary of Commerce, and served as Chief of Staff and campaign manager for former Governor Tommy Thompson. 

In this issue: 

 • UWEC Science Building completion in Regents proposed budget 

 • EC City Council: Country Jam development agreement

 • RDA modifies Menomonie Food Co-op TIF deal

 • EC School Board to seek $98.6 million referendum

 Marquette poll shows leads for Barnes, Evers

 • COVID-19 updates 

 • Mark your calendar
Note on article links: A subscription is required for those marked with "$"
Publications known to have article limits for non-subscribers are marked with "+"


Board of Regents votes to include UWEC Science Building in its 2023-25 capital budget request

   At its meeting in Green Bay last week, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents voted to include the completion funding for UW-Eau Claire's Science and Health Sciences Building in its capital budget request for 2023-25. 

   The request includes $235.5 million to complete the planning and construction of a new Science and Health Sciences Building on lower campus and monies to demolish Phillips Science Hall after the new building is completed. The first portion of funding was approved by the Legislature in the 2019-21 state budget. Since then, UWEC has been working to complete planning activities so construction of a single, unified building can be started as soon as completion funding is approved. 

   Among the many opportunities the building will offer are collaborative research and partnerships among UW-Eau Claire faculty and students and Mayo Clinic Health System physicians and other health care professionals.

   Because of its significant impact on the regional economy and workforce, completion of this building has been a top advocacy priority of the Eau Claire Chamber. 

  “We appreciate that the regents, state legislators and community leaders continue to make this project a priority, recognizing that a state-of-the-art Science and Health Sciences Building is an investment in Wisconsin’s future,” said UWEC Chancellor James Schmidt. “The new space will allow for innovative teaching and learning, cutting-edge research and growing partnerships that will prepare our students — future leaders in the sciences, health care and related fields — to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

   Next steps for the project are hoped for inclusion in the Governor's budget proposal early next year, followed by approval by the Legislature as part of the final 2023-25 state budget.

   In addition to capital budget plans, the Regents also approved requests to the state for operating funds in the next state budget.

More information:

Board of Regents includes new UW-Eau Claire Science and Health Sciences Building funding in budget requests (UWEC)

UW System budget request seeks additional $262.6M from Legislature (WPR)

Chancellor's Blog: UW System 2023-25 budget requests (James Schmidt, UWEC Chancellor)

UW System president visits to tout Wisconsin Tuition Promise (Leader-Telegram $)

UW colleges offering tuition waiver (WEAU 13 News)

UW System launches free tuition program at regional campuses (WQOW News 18)


EC City Council agenda: Country Jam development agreement, Oxford Ave construction closure, County T update

Plan Commission approves site plans for food co-op, Sky Park apts

RDA modifies Menomonie Food Co-op TIF deal

   The Eau Claire City Council's Business Agenda this week includes a purchase and development agreement with Country Jam for its new event center and festival grounds on 136 acres along Highway T on the City's northwest side (pages 56-111 of the Tuesday Agenda packet linked below); an update of the official map for the County T corridor (pages 45-49), a resolution finalizing the City's plan for a referendum on the November 8 ballot (pages 112-113), an amendment to the City's Parking Ordinance related to downtown parking changes and new license plate recognition enforcement software (pages 114-116), and a decision, postponed from the previous meeting, related to temporary closure of parts of Oxford Ave in the Cannery District during the construction of Phase II of "The Current" apartment building (pages 50-55). The latter presents a revised closure schedule following discussions with nearby businesses. 

   The Council will meet first on Monday evening, with a public hearing on the parking ordinance changes, and a report from Council Vice President Emily Berge on attendance at a recent League of Wisconsin Municipalities workshop.

Plan commission approves site plans for Menomonie Food Co-op, Sky Park Apartments

   At its meeting last Monday evening, the Eau Claire Plan Commission approved the site plan for a three-building apartment complex on 4.54 acres at Hamilton Ave and Craig Rd by RyKey Properties. The plan includes a total of 96 units in a mixture of one- and two-bedroom sizes (see pages 12-47 of the Plan Commission agenda packet linked below for narrative, plans, and elevations). It also approved Menomonie Market Food Co-op's plans for a new building on the south side of RDA Block 7 at Barstow and Galloway streets in downtown Eau Claire. The building will have a foot print of 10,500 square feet, plus provide for 48 surface parking stalls (see pages 48-70 of the Plan Commission agenda packet). 

   The draft minutes of the Plan Commission meeting are on pages 118-119 of the City Council Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below.

RDA revises TIF deal for Menomonie Market Food Co-op project

   At its meeting last Wednesday, the Redevelopment Authority (RDA) approved an amendment to its agreement with the Menomonie Market Food Co-op that reduces the guaranteed tax value of the project for the original $6 million to $4 million. Correspondingly, the City's contribution of assistance was reduced proportionally to $400,000 keeping in line with guidelines of providing 10% of the guaranteed valuation. General Manager Crystal Halvorson appeared at the meeting requesting that the original assistance be continued, but the Commission voted to confirm the new assistance amount consistent with its policy.

More information:

Eau Claire Plan Commission 

 • Monday, Aug 15, Agenda Packet (79 pages)

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Aug 22, 7 p.m. Public Hearing (Agenda Packet, 8 pages)

 • Tuesday, Aug 23, Legislative Session (Agenda Packet, 119 pages)

Link to videos of city meetings (City of Eau Claire)

City Council Online Comment Form (City of Eau Claire)
Contact information: City Council members (City of Eau Claire)

Parks projects push ahead (Leader-Telegram $)

Food Co-op Expansion Plan (Menomonie Market Food Co-op)

Website: RyKey Properties (RyKey Properties)

Eau Claire RDA OKs lower value guarantee, incentive package for grocery store (Leader-Telegram $)


EC School Board approves $98.6 million referendum

   At its meeting last Monday, the Eau Claire Board of Education decided to ask voters in November to approve a referendum totaling $98.6 million over 20 years. The referendum proceeds would be used for facility improvements at both high schools, South and Northstar middle schools, and six elementary schools.

More information: 

Eau Claire Board of Education

 • Monday, Aug 15, Agenda Packet 

School Board information (ECASD)

School Board members (ECASD)

EC school board lands on nearly $99 million referendum question (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire School Board approves referendum question for November ballots (WQOW News 18)

ECASD Superintendent talks about $98.6 million dollar referendum on the ballot in November (WEAU 13 News)

Our View: Time to answer questions (Leader-Telegram editorial $)


New Marquette Poll shows lead for Barnes, slight edge for Evers

  A new Marquette Law School Poll survey of Wisconsin finds a close race for governor and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes with a 7-percentage-point lead in the race for U.S. Senate in the upcoming November 8 election.

   The poll was conducted Aug 10-15, following the Primary election. In the governor’s race, 45% support Democratic incumbent Gov. Tony Evers and 43% favor Republican Tim Michels. In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Mandela Barnes is supported by 51% and incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is the choice of 44%.

More information:

New poll finds Barnes with 7-point lead, Evers ahead by 2 points (Marquette Law School Poll)  

Mandela Barnes has early Senate lead, governor’s race neck-and-neck (The Cap Times)

The Chamber's Guide to the Fall 2022 Election (Eau Claire Area Chamber)


Mark your calendar:

Eggs & Issues: Fall Election Outlook with Bill McCoshen

 • Thursday, Sep 22, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or via Perigon

Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues: Election Analysis with Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

Thursday, Nov 17, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center or via Perigon

Registration open soon


Other state and regional stories:


Evers announces $10M for well upgrades in CF visit (Leader-Telegram $)


A tale of two surveys: Is Wisconsin’s employment growing or shrinking? (The Cap Times)


Nurses, therapists, other professionals are waiting months to receive their licenses in Wisconsin as problems persist at state agency (Journal-Sentinel +)


Video: Be Bold Wisconsin Tomorrow Action Accelerator: Workforce Recruitment, Attraction and Retention Summit (Wisconsin Eye)


Milwaukee and the state have long been at odds. Quiet meetings this week may mark 'a reset.' (Journal-Sentinel +)


National and economic stories:


Jobless claims edge lower as Fed looks to cool labor market (CNBC)


Existing-Home Sales Retreated 5.9% in July (National Assn of Realtors)


Biden signs Inflation Reduction Act into law, setting 15% minimum corporate tax rate (CNBC)


Predicting the ROI on the Inflation Reduction Act  (The Dispatch)


U.S. traffic deaths hit 20-year-high in early 2022 (Reuters)


America’s Affordable Housing Problem (Our Built Environment)


COVID-19 Updates 

Wisconsin COVID case average drops below 1,500 per day (Fox 11)


COVID-19 Resources: 

COVID-19 Symptoms & Testing (EC City-County Health Department)
Local COVID-19 Testing Sites (EC City-County Health Department)
Interactive COVID Data Tracker (CDC)
COVID-19: Staying Safe in Your Community (EC City-County Health Dept.)
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub 
Eau Claire weekly COVID Situation Report 
Eau Claire County COVID-19 Vaccination Page 
Metrics Dashboard
Chippewa Valley COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force


Mark your calendar:


Bravo to Business Awards

 • Wednesday, Sep 14, The Florian Gardens


Eggs & Issues: Fall Election Outlook with Bill McCoshen

 • Thursday, Sep 22, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Candidates Energy Forum

Eau Claire Energy Co-op, Eau Claire EDC, CVHBA, EC Chamber

 • Tuesday, October 4, 9:30-11:30 a.m., The Florian Gardens


Business Day in Madison

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

 • Wednesday, October 19, Monona Terrace


Eggs & Issues: Tourism

 • Thursday, October 20, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center


Eggs & Issues: Election Analysis with Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin

 • Thursday, November 17, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Eggs & Issues: Holiday Legislative Breakfast

 • Friday, Dec 16, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


"Eau What A Night" - The Chamber's 108th Annual Meeting

 • Wednesday, January 25, 2023, Pablo Center


29th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally

 • Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Madison


Business Salutes Eau Claire Annual Golf Outing

• Monday, August 7, 2023


Next up on the public calendar


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


General Election - Tuesday, November 8


Congressional & Legislative Maps

Wisconsin Congressional Maps (Dave's Redistricting)

Wisconsin Legislative District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


Public Meetings Calendar

Click the link above for the our regularly updated schedule of public meetings.


Thanks for reading this issue of Business Advocate. If you have comments or questions, contact Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org 

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