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Volume 5, Issue 48, April 17, 2023
 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

The Chamber's Advocacy Principles

The Chamber's Business Issues Agenda

Contact: Scott Rogers, VP Governmental Affairs



Last chance to register...

Eggs & Issues: "State of the City - Altoona" 

Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt, City Administrator Mike Golat, and members of the City's leadership team will lead a presentation highlighting the accomplishments of the City of Altoona during the past year and its priorities, challenges, and opportunities for the rest of 2023. They'll not only provide the details, but discuss the principles by which they approach their work and why that's important. Join us for this annual opportunity at Altoona's own River Prairie Center.

 • Friday, Apr 21, 7:00-8:30 a.m., River Prairie Center

    Click here for details and to register


Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber

 • Friday, May 19, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for details and to register

In this issue: 

 • Chamber, community leaders testify for UWEC Science Building at JFC hearing

 • Listening sessions on homelessness for landlords (Mon), businesses (Wed)

 • EC City Council: Approves Cannery Park construction, London Rd apartments

 • Applicants sought for EC District 1 City Council vacancy

 • New app for downtown EC parking now live

 • Evers, Petryk talk workforce initiatives in Dem and GOP radio addresses

 • US Chamber seeks permitting reform

 • 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 "+"


Chamber, community leaders testify for UWEC Science Building

Written budget comments still being accepted

   Representatives of the Chamber spoke at last Tuesday's Joint Finance Committee (JFC) budget hearing in Eau Claire, advocating for completion funding for the UWEC Science and Health Sciences Building. Chamber Board Chair Scott Hoffman of WIN Technology, Executive Committee Member and former Board Chair Mark Faanes, CEO Dave Minor, and VP Governmental Affairs Scott Rogers asserted the need for a replacement for outdated Phillips Science Hall, and the broader economic impact of the project. 

   “Like me, it’s time for that building to be retired and to make the investment in a new building on campus,” said Faanes, who is the retired Partner in Charge for Wipfli's area office in Eau Claire.

   Also speaking was Melissa Janssen, Program Director of Community Relations for Royal Credit Union. 

   "Funding of the UW-Eau Claire Science and Health Sciences Building will allow the university to continue to produce the STEM and health sciences graduates regional industries need," she said. "The research and education that will be conducted in this facility will provide regional economic and healthcare benefits far beyond the boarders of the campus."

   The JFC is the next step in completion of the 2023-25 State Budget, working towards making a recommendation to both houses of the Legislature. The building includes partnerships with Mayo Clinic Health System and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and was included in the UW Board of Regents budget request and the proposed capital budget from Governor Tony Evers.

   The Science Building is the Chamber's #1 public policy issue this spring because it has such a far-reaching impact on the future of the university and the economy of our city and region. 

   JFC members also heard testimony throughout the day from hundreds of individuals and organizations regarding various priorities for the biennial state budget. Representatives from UW-Stout and Menomonie spoke in favor of funding the proposed Heritage Hall renovation, and others talked about workforce, childcare, shared revenue, local city and school funding issues, and more.

More information:

Chancellor encourages completion funding for new Science and Health Sciences Building during JFC hearing (UWEC)

UW campuses urge Joint Finance Committee to fund new academic buildings (Leader-Telegram $)

Health care, caregiving top priorities for citizens at public hearing on Evers' budget (WPR)

Fact Sheet and bullet points UWEC Science Building (UWEC)

Project site - Science & Health Sciences Building (UWEC)

News release - Chamber, legislators applaud Science Building in capital budget (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

2023 Business Issues Agenda (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Students lobby at state capitol for Science and Health Sciences Building funding (The Spectator)

Local legislators discuss budget at Chamber Eggs & Issues breakfast (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

Local legislators continue to push for new UW-Eau Claire science building (Leader-Telegram $)


Written budget comments being accepted through April 25

    The JFC is also welcoming written testimony on state budget priorities in addition to its four scheduled public hearings. Three have already been held in Waukesha, Eau Claire, and Wisconsin Dells, with the fourth on April 26 in Minocqua. 

More information:

Joint Committee on Finance (Wisconsin Legislature)

How to submit written testimony

All testimony shared by any of the means below will automatically be shared with all 16 members of the Joint Finance Committee. Deadline is April 25, but earlier is better. Details:

E-mail: budget.comments@legis.wisconsin.gov

(You can send an email message or a PDF attachment on letterhead)

Web form:


US Mail:

Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702


"Ending homelessness in Eau Claire: An opportunity for landlords and businesses to be heard"

Listening sessions Monday for landlords, Wednesday for businesses

   Candid input is being sought from local landlords, property owners, and businesses regarding their experiences, concerns, ideas for solutions in regard to unhoused community members in Eau Claire. Meetings are being offered on Monday evening for landlords and Wednesday evening for businesses. An email from Downtown Eau Claire, Inc., (DECI) announcing the Wednesday event describes it as "an opportunity to reinvigorate passion and commitment to collaboration and partnership, transparency, and respect."

More information:

Landlords listening session

 • Monday, April 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand

Businesses listening session

 • Wednesday, April 19, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand

For more information: robin.adams@wdeoc.org or carrie.poser@wibos.org 


EC City Council: Approves bus pass proposal, Cannery Park construction contract, London Road apartments

Organizational meeting Tuesday with new City Council President

Applicants sought for District 1 Council Member vacancy

   At its Legislative Session last Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council approved a rezoning for a multi-family project on London Road, a construction contract for Cannery Park, and providing matching funds for bus vouchers for individuals experiencing homelessness.  

   Approved was a rezoning for a multi-family apartment project at 4600 London Road. It includes 3.81 acres on vacant property for four apartment buildings, to be called Peter Park, by Rocket Construction. The builder plans two 12-unit buildings and two 26 unit buildings, with a total of 94 bedrooms across 76 total units. (See pages 5-25 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below.) The Council also approved a proposal to devote $12,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to match private donations to provide bus vouchers to connect unhoused residents to services (pages 33-34), and a $2.69 million construction contract for Cannery Park along the Chippewa River east and north of Oxford, Maple, and 1st Streets (see pages 24-28 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below). The park will feature shelters, restrooms, play areas, a sledding hill, pollinator gardens, an ice skate trail, a canoe/kayak ramp, half court basketball, a hammock grove, picnic tables and grills, and more. 

Council votes to appoint District 1 Council vacancy, seeks applicants

   The Council voted to seek applicants for appointment to fill a vacancy for the District 1 seat on the Eau Claire City Council. There is one year left on the 3-year term, which has become open because current District 1 Council Member Emily Berge was elected City Council President at the Spring election.

   An applicant must be a current resident of District 1, which covers the northeast area of the City: click here for the district map. The deadline to apply is May 4. Eligible applicants will be invited to an interview with Council on May 10 or 11, and asked to make a brief presentation at the City Council meeting on Monday, May 22, at 7:00 p.m.  The Council will consider the appointment at its Legislative Session on Tuesday, May 23, at 4:00 p.m.
Click here for full details on requirements and how to apply

High Bridge discussed as potential site for July 4th fireworks

   On Monday, the Council held a study session regarding a suggestion from the Community Services Department to consider moving the launch site for July 4th fireworks to the high bridge (see page 41) for safety, logistical, and cost reasons. A decision is expected at a later meeting. The traditional site is Carson Park, which the Eau Claire Express baseball team has urged be retained.

Organizational meeting on Tuesday, April 18

   The Council will meet this Tuesday for an organizational meeting to install Emily Berge as the newly elected City Council President, and to determine Council Members to be appointed to various boards, committees, and commissions.

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Tuesday, April 18, 4 p.m. Organizational meeting

 • Monday, Apr 10, Public Hearing Agenda Packet (43 pages)

 • Tuesday, Apr 11, Legislative Session Agenda Packet (142 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 ponders location change for July 4 fireworks (Leader-Telegram $)

Our View: Fireworks move is a close call (Leader-Telegram Editorial $)

Eau Claire City Council seeks north sider to fill vacancy (Leader-Telegram $)

Who Wants to Be a City Council Member? In Eau Claire, It Could Be You (Volume One)


Also meeting this week:


Eau Claire Board of Education

• Monday, April 17, 7 p.m. Agenda Packet

Board of Education members and information


Altoona City Council

 • Tuesday, April 18, 6 p.m., Organizational Meeting, Agenda


Eau Claire Redevelopment Authority

 • Wednesday, Apr 19, 7:30 a.m. Agenda Packet


City app-based Passport Parking System going live

Ramps, Water St. rates to stay at 50 cents/hr, Barstow & Grand "four corners lot" goes to $1/hr

   The City of Eau Claire was scheduled to implement the new Passport Parking System in the Gibson and North Barstow parking ramps, as well as the Water Street and Four Corners (corner of S. Barstow and E. Grand) surface lots on April 15.

   Users are able to download an app to their Apple or Android smartphones to pay for their parking. Parkers must use the app to pay at the surface lots. The ramps have pay kiosks installed where users can pay via card or coin if they choose. City officials hope the new system will make parking quicker and easier, eliminating the parking ramp paper tickets and exit payment system that often led to long lines on busy days or during system malfunctions. 

   Users of the app will receive a notification when their park time is close to expiring and can add more time from their phone if necessary. Rates in ramps and the Water Street Lot will remain the same at $0.50/hr. The Four Corners Lot will change from 2-hour parking to a rate of $1.00/hr. 

More information:

Downtown Parking Explainer

DECI Parking Page

Passport Parking App

App Guide


Seth Sundeen named Merchants Bank Market President

   Seth Sundeen has been named Market President for Merchants Bank in Eau Claire, according to Dan Massett, Regional President. Sundeen succeeds Larry Accola, who retired on April14.

   “I’m grateful for Larry’s leadership and commitment to our clients over the last eight years. I am also excited that we’re able to fill this strategically important position with a proven, local banking leader like Seth,” said Massett. “He has a strong background in both management and commercial banking and will continue moving us forward in this market as we help business and families in the Chippewa Valley meet their financial goals.”

   Sundeen has over 20 years of banking experience, serving mainly in leadership and commercial banking roles. He was most recently Vice President of Commercial Banking for Nicolet Bank (formerly Charter Bank) and also previously worked for Dairy State Bank in Menomonie.

   “I’m excited to join the Merchants Bank team, a Bank steep with history and that’s focused on the communities it serves,” said Sundeen. “Over the years it’s been an honor to help business owners grow their businesses and realize their dreams through my role as a banker. I look forward to continuing to do my part to help create a vibrant Chippewa Valley – a place that I’m proud to call home.”


More local stories:


Funeral held for fallen officers in Cameron (WEAU 13 news)


Breidenbach, Scheel honored as heroes (Leader-Telegram $)


Gov. Evers visits UW-Eau Claire, meets with health care students (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire Co. spends $350K on outside experts for DHS probe (Leader-Telegram $)


Crossing the Bridge event held in downtown EC for NCUR (WEAU 13 News)



Episode 15: Business Matters Podcast

Young Professionals Director, Kelsy Schultz and Hannah Connor with Chippewa Valley Technical College, discuss the mission and impact that the Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley has on our business community.

Click here to listen (17:30)


Workforce initiatives highlighted in Democratic, Republican Radio Addresses

Petryk talks about Reemployment Assistance Act

   The weekly Democratic and Republican radio addresses at the end of last week each asserted proposals to address the state's workforce: 


   In the Democratic address, Governor Tony Evers highlighted his budget plans to invest in clean energy to build Wisconsin's future workforce and incentivize teachers and health care staff to stay in the state. He said he will continue to fund workforce innovation grants to address worker's needs and propose initiatives to help working families.

   "We must make additional key investments to maintain our economy's momentum, bolster our workforce, and prepare our state for the 21st century" 

Democratic Radio Address: Transcript & Audio (1 min, 59 sec)


   In the Republican address, state Rep. Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington) stressed that his Reemployment Assistance Act, also sponsored by Sen. Romaine Quinn (R-Cameron), would alter the unemployment assistance program to provide training, counseling, and assistance in finding jobs. 

   "Voters in the most recent election overwhelmingly supported ensuring that our state continues to focus on assisting people to find work," Petryk said. "That is why my Republican colleagues and I are reintroducing our workforce reform bills to enable people to start their careers sooner in our wonderful state."

Republican Radio Address: Transcript & Audio (1 min, 45 sec)


WMC provides access to School Locator Tool
"Schoolahoop" Now Available on WMC's Website

   Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) has announced a new resource to help employers, workers and prospective employees find the best educational options in their area. The school locator tool, Schoolahoop, lists all education institutions in the state, broad information about each and links to their corresponding website.

   As Wisconsin struggles with a severe labor shortage and looks to both attract and retain workers, Schoolahoop will provide families with a single source to learn about the educational options available to their children.

   “We see this as a great tool for Wisconsin employers and employees,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt R. Bauer. “When families are making decisions about where to work, educational options play a big role in that choice.”

   To use Schoolahoop, families simply type in their zip code to see what educational opportunities are in their community. The tool allows users to filter results based on location, class size, religious affiliation, test scores and more.

   “Not only will this give employers a recruiting tool to share with prospective employees, it will also help with talent retention by giving more information to parents across the state,” added Bauer. “We see this as way for employers to show off all the schooling opportunities available to Wisconsinites.”

   Schoolahoop is available in Wisconsin through Lincoln Studio and is funded by a grant from the Bradley Foundation.

More information: 

Schoolahoop tool (WMC)


More state and regional stories:


Van Orden reflects on first 100 days in office (Leader-Telegram $)


Baldwin announces reelection, visits CVTC campus (Leader-Telegram $)


Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin launches run for 3rd term (AP)


Wisconsin voters showed much less support for school district referendums this April (Journal-Sentinel +)


Wisconsin Republicans revive bill to require biannual BadgerCare eligibility checks (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Wisconsin has regained almost all the population it lost since 2020, but rebounds have been uneven (WPR)


New wind farm comes online in rural Wisconsin, generating enough energy to power 50K homes (WPR)


'Wait-and-see mode': Wisconsin businesses hesitant to lay people off, despite likely 'mild recession' (WPR)


Marshfield Clinic to end required masking (Marshfield Clinic)


The clock is ticking on Wisconsin's K-12 COVID relief funds. How are schools spending the money? (Wisconsin State Journal +)


Conservation groups, farmers voice support for updates to farmland preservation program (WPR)


Dem, GOP convention picks show Midwest’s political influence (AP)


Political Spotlight to Shine on Midwest in 2024 With DNC, RNC Headed to Chicago, Milwaukee (NBC 5 Chicago)


Cardinal Stritch to shut down at end of spring semester (BizTimes)


Froedtert Health, ThedaCare announce plans to merge (BizTimes)


US Chamber seeks federal permitting reform

   To meet our growing challenges – like updating crumbling roads and bridges, addressing water quality, expanding broadband access, combatting climate change, and strengthening our energy security – the permitting process must be improved.

   Why it matters: As Marty Durbin, Chamber Senior Vice President for Policy, explains, it takes too long to build things in America. It now takes an average of 4.5 years for a project to obtain a federal permit. For roads or bridges, projects take an average of 7.4 years.
‌   Even projects to connect renewable energy to the grid by building electricity transmission infrastructure are subject to delays, with some projects taking a decade or more. The Chamber says we can and must conduct environmental reviews and provide meaningful community input. But it shouldn’t take longer to get a decision about a permit than it does to construct a project.
‌   The Chamber is leading a coalition of nearly 350 organizations from across the economy and around the country urging Congress to Permit America to Build. Our goal is simple: to spur action on permitting reform in Congress by the end of the summer. The coalition is pushing these four principles in permitting reform:

‌   1. Predictability: Project developers and financers must have an appropriate level of certainty regarding the scope and timeline for project reviews, including any related judicial review.

   2. Efficiency: Interagency coordination must be improved to optimize public and private resources while driving better environmental and community outcomes.

   3. Transparency: Project sponsors and the public must have visibility into the project permitting milestones and schedule.

   4. Stakeholder Input: All relevant stakeholders must be adequately informed and have the opportunity to provide input within a reasonable and consistent timeframe.

‌   Bottom line: Providing greater certainty in the permitting process could unleash private sector investment to build the infrastructure, and the economy, of the future.

More information:

Permit America to Build (US Chamber of Commerce)

U.S. Chamber Applauds Passage of H.R. 1, Calls for Senate Action on Permitting Reform (US Chamber of Commerce)

Chamber of Commerce leads letter urging permitting reform action this year (The Hill)


To learn more about permitting reform and other important federal issues, join us at our May policy breakfast with John Kirchner from the US Chamber:

Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber

 • Friday, May 19, 7:00 a.m. CVTC Business Education Center

    Click here for details and to register


More national and economic news:


Job growth totals 236,000 in March, near expectations as hiring pace slows (CNBC)


US wholesale inflation pressures eased sharply last month (AP)


JPMorgan Calls Managing Directors to Office Five Days a Week (Bloomberg +)


Economic Viewpoints - current key indicators (US Chamber of Commerce)


The Flip Side: Collection of Right and Left viewpoints on national issues


COVID-19 Updates 

End of the Covid national emergency: Compliance and employee benefits (M3 Insurance)


COVID-19 Resources

Eau Claire County COVID-19 Information Hub (Eau Claire City-County Health Department)


Mark your calendar:


Annual Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Business Community Breakfast

• Wednesday, Apr 19, UWEC Davies Center


Eggs & Issues: State of the City - Altoona

 • Friday, April 21, River Prairie Center


Working Mothers Luncheon

 • Wednesday, May 10, The Florian Gardens


Chamber Royale

 • Thursday, May 18, Eau Claire Golf & Country Club


Eggs & Issues: Washington Update with the US Chamber

 • Friday, May 19, CVTC Business Education Center


The Chamber's Golf Day in Eau Claire

 • 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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