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Volume 5, Issue 19, Sep 26, 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: The Economic Impact of Tourism

Thursday, Oct 20, 7:00-8:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

   Click here for details and to register

One of our region's post-pandemic success stories is how local tourism came roaring back, with 2021 room tax revenues exceeding the previous record year of 2019. At this edition of Eggs & Issues, we'll look at the latest numbers, what's on the horizon, and what policy issues might affect tourism's future.


Other upcoming Eggs & Issues breakfasts:

 •  Post-Election Analysis - Marquette Poll's Charles Franklin - Thursday, Nov 17

 •  Holiday Legislative Breakfast - Friday, Dec 16


Election Education:


Rescheduled date

Candidates Energy Forum

 • Monday, Oct 3, 10:00-11:30 a.m., The Florian Gardens

   Click here for details

A discussion about energy issues with the area's state legislative candidates. Organized by Eau Claire Energy Cooperative and co-sponsored by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation, and Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association. 


Meet the Candidate Event
State Senator Brad Pfaff, Candidate for 3rd District Congress
Wednesday, October 5, 3:30-5:00 p.m., CVTC Health Education Center
   Click here for details and to register

This is an opportunity for Chamber investors to meet the Democratic candidate for 3rd District Congress to discuss his position on issues important to the business community. The Chamber does not endorse candidates for elective office, but provides education to help investors make informed decisions.

   We have also invited Republican candidate Derrick Van Orden to participate in a separate event. We are working with his campaign staff to schedule it and hope to announce the date and location soon. 


Referendum Forum: City of Eau Claire and EC School District

 • Monday, Oct 17, 10:00-11:30 a.m., Pablo Center at the Confluence

   Click here for details and to register

Tax levy referendums are on the fall election ballot for both the City of Eau Claire and the Eau Claire Area School District. We've invited City Council President Terry Weld, City Manager Stephanie Hirsch, School Board President Tim Nordin, School Superintendent Mike Johnson and other key officials to provide information and answer questions about what's on the ballot, tax implications for property owners, and how the additional revenue would be used. 


Pints and Politics: What's at stake in the November 8 election

 • Tuesday, Oct 25, 4:00-5:00 p.m., Chamber office, WNB Conference Room
   Click here for details and to register


More Chamber election education to come

As the election gets closer, the Chamber will be providing additional opportunities for investors to learn more about the what's on the ballot and the positions of candidates on business-related issues. (The Chamber does not endorse candidates.) 

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

In this issue: 

 • City Council to take up 2023 Capital Improvement Plan

 • RDA looking to next areas of emphasis

 • County Board commits ARPA funds, won't borrow for capital in 2023

 • Eggs & Issues: McCoshen sees toss-up in race for Governor

 • Evers calls Oct 4 Special Session to seek abortion referendum 

 • 4 local products nominated for "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin"

 • Fed hikes interest rates again

 Over 500 leaders and organizations support bipartisan disaster resilience bill

 • 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 "+"


Eau Claire City Council: 2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan, Comprehensive Plan amendment related to Orchard Hills

Plan Commission approves Country Jam, Prairie Heights site plans

   The 2023-27 Capital Improvement Plan is on the Eau Claire City Council's Agenda this week, with a Public Hearing on Monday evening, and a vote scheduled for Tuesday's Legislative Session. 

   According to the City Manager Stephanie Hirsch's summary of the plan, it includes a total five-year cost of $219 million, $40.8 million of it in 2023. Over 32% of the 2023 proposed expenditure is for the water utility at $13.3 million.

   The Council's Business Agenda items also includes two annexations: A request by Clear Water Brand, Inc., to annex 31 acres on the west side of Black Ave. near the intersection of US 53 and North Crossing, and 90 acres consisting of the City-owned Kyes Park along Deerfield Road/County II south of the City. 

   An agenda item apprears in the Agenda Packet related to a Comprehensive Plan amendment for residential and mixed use planned land uses related to the proposed Orchard Hills development and annexation. The application was withdrawn by the developer. The Plan Commission rejected the amendment at its meeting last week, citing lack of specificity. The developer is expected to revise the plan to bring it back later, so City staff has recommended the Council postpone the item indefinitely. See the Plan Commission draft minutes on pages 85-88 of the City Council Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below.

Country Jam, Prairie Heights, airport parking site plans approved

   At last Monday's Plan Commission meeting, it approved site plans for Country Jam's new location on County T (see pages 23-51 of the Plan Commission Agenda Packet linked below), plans by the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport to expand its long-term parking capacity to accommodate Sun Country flights to begin in December (pages 52-59), the planned 60-unit Prairie Heights workforce housing development at the northeast corner of Birch, Galloway, and River Prairie Drive (pages 60-81), and four 20-unit apartment buildings by SC Swiderski LLC on six acres at Ashton Circle, south of North Crossing west of Kane Rd. (pages 82-104).

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, Sep 26, 7 p.m. Public Hearing Agenda Packet (40 pages)

 • Tuesday, Sep 27, 4 p.m., Legislative Session Agenda Packet (88 pages)

    2023-27 Proposed Capital Improvement Plan (279 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)

Eau Claire Plan Commission

 •  Monday, Sep 19, Agenda Packet (113 pages); Draft Plan Commission

      minutes: Pages 85-88, City Council Tuesday Agenda Packet

CVRA plans more parking to handle additional passengers from Sun Country flights (Leader-Telegram $)

City seeks dismissal of town’s lawsuit (Leader-Telegram $)

Orchard Hills pulls back after bad reception at Plan Commission (Leader-Telegram $)


RDA considering new areas for development work

   At its meeting last Wednesday, the Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority (RDA) began discussions regarding where to concentrate its future work as current sites fill up. 

   With recent agreements for the Menomonie Food Co-op and two apartment projects along Barstow St, the RDA has now committed all of its properties in its North Barstow area, and properties in the Cannery District west of the Chippewa River are also filling up. At the meeting, City Economic Development Director Aaron White brought up two areas of potential interest: An area on the east side of Barstow Street north of Galloway and south of the new Royal Credit Union branch on Madison St., and an area north of Madison St including areas further north on Barstow St, east of Forest, and south of Huyessen St. (see pages 9-12 of the Agenda Packet linked below). 

   Also at its meeting, the RDA approved a 90-day MOU with Ambient Inks related to its proposed site immediately north of the Brewing Projekt, and a 90-day extension of the MOU with Silver Creek Equity for its potential senior housing project along First St near the High Bridge.

More information:

Redevelopment Authority

 •  Wednesday, Sep 21, Agenda Packet

City of Eau Claire Redevelopment areas (City of Eau Claire)

Eau Claire RDA begins talks of future spots to redevelop (Leader-Telegram $)


EC County Board creates Opioid Task Force, funds internal projects with ARPA funds, won't borrow for capital

   At its meeting last Tuesday Tuesday, the Eau Claire County Board approved a resolution to allocate $3.7 million of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for a series of internal county projects, including addressing a backlog in criminal trials, several technology and radio equipment upgrades, and funds for the Fairchild Senior Living facility and equipment for Meals on Wheels (see page 55 of the Agenda Packet linked below). Overall, the County received $20.5 million in federal ARPA funds. It previously allocated $2 million to broadband and $2.3 million for non-profits and small businesses.

   The Board also voted 23-4 to pay for 2023 capital projects from a combination of $1.9 million in general funds and $7.3 million in unassigned ARPA funds. That decision came after the Board voted 17-10 in favor of a motion to bond $9.5 million for capital projects, but which was short of the 2/3 vote required. 

   On Tuesday the Board also approved resolutions to extend its special committee on rural broadband, to create an Eau Claire County Opioid Task Force, and to contribute $3,000 to the Chippewa-St. Croix Rail Commission's along with other member jurisdictions for expenses as it works to establish passenger rail service to the region.

More information:

Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors

 • Tuesday, Sep 20, Agenda Packet (100 pages)

County Board District Maps
County Board District Representatives

Link to County Board agendas and video recordings

Opioid task force approved by County Board, will not borrow for capital projects (Leader-Telegram $)


August home sales report: Prices still high, inventory low

   The Wisconsin Realtors Association's monthly home sales report showed a 10.5% decline in home sales for May through August, as prices continue high, inventory short, and other factors affect affordability. Sales volume was down 10.4% in Eau Claire County and 10.7% in western Wisconsin. Statewide, the median price rose to $271,000 in August 2022, which is an increase of 8.4% compared to August 2021.

   "While there are still motivated buyers in the market and homes continue to move at a brisk pace, the limited supply and declining affordability have constrained home sales this summer. Unfortunately, we expect these tight supply conditions to continue through the remainder of the year," said Brad Lois, 2022 Chairman of WRA's Board of Directors.

More information:

August 2022 Home Sales Report (Wisconsin Realtors Association)

Chippewa Valley has slower busy season for home sales (Leader-Telegram $)


More local stories:


Survey results show majority of EC students consider schools equitable (Leader-Telegram $)


Library Grand Opening events Sep 26-Oct 1 (LE Phillips Memorial Public Library)

Eau Claire library holding grand reopening events this week (Leader-Telegram $)


Registration now open

Chamber & CVTC Business Community Breakfast

 • Tuesday, Oct 11, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Transportation Education Center

    Click here for details and registration

CVTC and the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce invite you to register to attend the 2022 Business Community Breakfast and explore how CVTC’s programs are driven by student success and geared up to support workforce needs.


McCoshen says Governor's race a toss up

   Political expert Bill McCoshen spoke at the Chamber's Eggs & Issues breakfast this past Thursday, calling the current state of the Governor's race a toss up between incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Republican candidate Tim Michels. McCoshen also rated the current state of races for US Senate, 3rd District Congress, and the state legislature. Click here to continue reading...


Fall General Election

•  Tuesday, November 8, polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   Offices: US Senate, US Congress, Wisconsin Governor/Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer; State Senate (odd # districts), State Assembly, Eau Claire County Sheriff, Clerk of Courts

   Referendums: City of Eau Claire, Eau Claire Area School District

More information:

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

MyVoteWisconsin (Register, find your polling place, what's on your ballot)

Wisconsin Legislative and Congressional District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


More election news:


Governors races in Wisconsin, other states taking on new prominence, with higher stakes (AP)


Republicans hammer crime in key Wisconsin races; Democrats say they want to distract from abortion (ABC)


Ron Johnson touts universal school choice as the remedy for rising crime (Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin U.S. Senate election updates: Mandela Barnes agrees to second televised debate (Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin Elections Commission launches 'Elections 101' educational video series (La Crosse Tribune +)


Evers calls special session for ballot initiative on abortion

   Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers last week called a Special Session of the Legislature on Oct 4 for a proposal to have a ballot initiative regarding the state's abortion laws. 

   Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) called the move "a political stunt."

   In the past, Special Sessions called by Evers and rejected by Republicans have been gaveled into session and then immediately adjourned. Such as scenario may be likely again.

More information:

Gov. Evers Calls Special Session of the Legislature to Create a Pathway for Wisconsinites to Repeal 1849-era Criminal Abortion Ban (Office of the Governor)

Evers calls for constitutional amendment to repeal Wisconsin's abortion ban (WPR)

GOP leaders dismiss Evers special session call (WisPolitics.com)

Michels: Would sign abortion ban with rape/incest exceptions (AP)


Four local nominees for "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin"

Voting open: Round 1 ends Tuesday, Sep 27

   Four local products have been nominated in the first round of voting for the annual "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin" contest sponsored by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). Nearly one million votes have been cast over the last six years as the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest has become an extremely popular program that highlights the state’s top industry. Manufacturing employs one in six workers in Wisconsin and has a direct economic impact north of $60 billion each year. This contest is meant to showcase both the cool things manufactured in Wisconsin, and the rewarding careers making those cool things.

   The first round of voting for the contest goes through Tuesday, Sept. 27. The 16 nominees receiving the most votes in the first round will move on to Manufacturing Madness – a bracket-style tournament that features head-to-head matchups of the top Wisconsin-made products. The ultimate winner will be announced at WMC’s Business Day in Madison event on Oct. 19.

   Local nominees include products from Veritas Steel, Silvermine Stone Co., Realityworks, and J&D Manufacturing.

More information:

Voting Begins for Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin (WMC)

Local nominees:

Veritas Steel

Silvermine Stone Company


J&D Manufacturing

Click here to vote


Business Day in Madison

 • Wednesday, Oct 19, Monona Terrace, Madison 

    Click here for details and to register (earlybird registration deadline Sep 30)

Presentations on leadership, the economy, elections, policy, and announcement of the "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin" winner.


More state and regional stories:


Estimates show continued enrollment declines at most UW System campuses (WPR)


Wisconsin banks saw continued loan growth in second quarter (BizTimes)


Wisconsin EV charging plan approval clears way for $78M in federal funds (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Gov. Evers Announces Nearly $8 million in Grants, Loans for Wisconsin’s Freight Railroad Assistance Program (Office of the Governor)


Bureaucracy is a barrier as Wisconsin cities try to curb deadly driving on urban highways (Wisconsin Watch)


Fed hikes interest rates again, inflation higher

than expected in August

   The Federal Reserve last week increased interest rates by .75 percent in response to continuing inflation concerns. The August inflation report showed Core CPI, which excludes more volatile commodities like food and gas, was measured 6.3% in August, higher than expected.

More information:

Fed raises rates by another three-quarters of a percentage point, pledges more hikes to fight inflation (CNBC)

American inflation rose more than expected in August (CNN Business)


Over 500 leaders and organizations support for federal

bipartisan disaster resilience bill

EC Chamber signs on, US Chamber urges action

   As natural disasters such as floods and wildfires grow in frequency and intensity across the U.S., so does the urgency to better prepare for these events. A bipartisan bill to do just that—the National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (NCARS)—is drawing broad support from throughout the country. On Sept. 14, a wide-ranging group that includes climate adaptation experts, elected officials, chambers of commerce, faith-based organizations, school boards, conservation organizations, and community development groups spanning all 50 states and the District of Columbia signed a letter stating their support for the legislation.

   Introduced by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA) and Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), the bill would establish a chief resiliency officer in the White House and a national adaptation strategy to ensure that federal agencies take a more streamlined and efficient approach to supporting state, local, and Tribal governments, the private sector, and other nonfederal partners in preparing for natural disasters.

   "The U.S. Chamber has long made building smart, modern, resilient infrastructure a priority," said Chuck Chaitovitz, Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Our resilience principles call for a comprehensive and strategic approach that allows us all to plan ahead, reduce climate risks, and be prepared for future crises."

More information:

Support letter: National Climate Adaptation and Resilience Strategy Act (NCARS) 

More Than 500 Local Leaders and Organizations Show Support for Bipartisan Disaster Resilience Bill (Pew Charitable Trusts)

US Chamber resilience principles (US Chamber of Commerce)

Resilience Should Be on the Climate Agenda (US Chamber of Commerce)


COVID-19 Updates 


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:


Candidates Energy Forum

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

 • Monday, October 3, 9:30-11:30 a.m., The Florian Gardens


Chamber & CVTC Business Community Breakfast

 • Tuesday, Oct 11, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Transportation Education Center


Business Day in Madison

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce

 • Wednesday, October 19, Monona Terrace


Eggs & Issues: The Economic Impact of Tourism

 • Thursday, October 20, Pablo Center at the Confluence


General Election

• Tuesday, November 8, Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

   The Chamber's Guide to the Election


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center at the Confluence


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

 • Thursday, November 17, Pablo Center at the Confluence


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


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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