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Volume 5 , Issue 4, June 13, 2022
 Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce


Business Advocate Past Issues

Public Meetings Calendar

Chamber Events Calendar

Advocacy Blog


Chamber supports Niagara Waters development agreement

Input to City Council members encouraged before Tuesday's meeting

   As a Chamber investor, you're encouraged to provide comments to the Eau Claire City Council before it votes Tuesday afternoon regarding the development agreement for the proposed Niagara Waters plant in the Gateway Industrial Park.  Niagara plans to build a facility on 30 acres that would employ 58 positions with salaries starting at $50,000 and averaging $59,000.

   The Chamber supports its approval as a desirable and responsible project that will provide significant economic and employment benefits, increase the tax base, and create high-paying jobs. We are satisfied that the City staff has taken care to ensure that there is sufficient water capacity to provide for a successful project, and that safeguards are in place in case of future unforeseen circumstances.

   Unfortunately, opponents have generated a lot of negative comments through misleading information that has stoked unreasonable fears about the city's water supply. Others have raised environmental objections to bottled water as a business. According to FAQs provided by City staff regarding the project, the peak usage by Niagara would be only one third to one half of the production of one of the City's 15 wells. 


How to submit comments

Agenda Item Online Comment Form

   Include on the form under "Meeting information:" Meeting date (June 14), Agenda Item Number (32), Comment Regarding (Purple Rain Niagara Development Agreement). Click here to comment.  

Click here to see the full June 14 Agenda Packet (see pages 220-233)


Other ways to comment:

You can contact individual Council Members directly at this link.


More background information:

EauClaireWI.gov/Niagara (City of Eau Claire web page with more detail)

Chamber support letter (Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce)

It Seems to Me: Setting the record straight (Scott Rogers, Eau Claire Chamber, column in the Leader-Telegram)

It Seems to Me: Project's positives outweigh negatives (Stephanie Hirsch, EC City Manager, column in the Leader-Telegram $)

Our View: City seems to have data to back proposal (Leader-Telegram Editorial $)


Also on this week's City Council Agenda: The Orchard Hills annexation (which the Chamber supports), plans for the new Cannery Park, and a discussion of the City's allocation of its $13.5 million in federal ARPA funding. Continue reading this newsletter below for more details...


Eggs & Issues: Our Energy Future

Friday, Jun 17, 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 Thursday, Jun 16

   Join us at this edition of Eggs & Issues as we look at the questions that drive our future energy generation and use. How realistic are long term carbon neutral goals of utilities, governments, and businesses? What's the future of renewable energy sources, electric vehicles, and the infrastructure and education needed to support them? What policy issues will impact the business community, energy availability, and conservation? You'll hear from Karl Hoesly, Regional Vice President Rates & Regulatory, Xcel Energy; Monica Obrycki, CEO, Eau Claire Energy Cooperative; John Carr, Vice President Strategic Growth, Dairyland Power Cooperative; Ned Noel, Senior Planner, City of Eau Claire; Tyrel Zich, Manager Pricing & Planning, Xcel Energy; and Adam Wehling - Dean of Agriculture, Energy & Transportation, Chippewa Valley Technical College.  

In this issue:

 • City Council to vote on annexation, Niagara Waters on June 14

 • Monday Council discussions: Cannery Park plan, ARPA funds

 • CVTC, UWEC, UW-Stout, and UW-River Falls announce partnership

 • State and regional news

 • National and economic news

 • 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 "+"


Annexation, Niagara Waters decisions

on Tuesday's City Council agenda

Cannery Park plan and ARPA funds on Monday agenda

   The Eau Claire City Council has a packed agenda at its Monday Public Hearing and Tuesday Legislative Session this week, with Tuesday votes that could have far-reaching impact on future economic growth for the City.

   Among the items on Monday's Public Hearing agenda are the rezoning and site plan for the proposed Cannery Park along the west side of the Chippewa River, along with related improvements to Oxford Ave., and Maple St. The plan comes after extensive public outreach to determine the uses and design of the six-acres to be encompassed by the new park (see pages 7-35 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below), with a Council vote scheduled for Tuesday. City Manager Stephanie Hirsch will also lead a public discussion regarding the potential allocation of the $13.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds the City is receiving (see pages 43-46 of the Monday Agenda Packet). The Council has scheduled a work session following Tuesday's meeting to discuss the allocations further.

Tuesday: Niagara Waters agreement, Orchard Hills annexation

   At Tuesday's Legislative Session, the Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed annexation of 438 acres south of the City currently in the Town of Washington, described in its application "to allow a future residential development to have sanitary sewer and water main services when the City makes the services available."  The annexation would be the first in a multi-step process leading to housing development. It will still require rezoning, a development plan, platting, and other approvals. The proposal includes annexing part of the current Lowes Creek County Park, which would remain in that current use. To be approved, the annexation requires 8 of the 11 members to approve (see pages 234-241 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below).

Chamber supports annexation

   The Eau Claire Chamber is supporting the annexation as an important move to help address the community's critical housing shortage. As is often the case with new developments, a number of neighbors spoke at the Public Hearing opposing it. The Chamber has provided a letter to the City Council which notes: "Among the most significant current challenges for our local economy are workforce development and housing supply. These issues are closely tied together because housing supply impacts the ability to meet the needs of a growing population, as well as affordability for all individuals and families. This annexation is a first step towards the development of additional housing supply in our community. This will help address the housing shortage while providing benefits for everyone towards attainability and affordability."

Annexation comments encouraged

   If you wish to comment before Tuesday's vote, you can use the Council's

Online Comment Form. Include on the form under "Meeting information:" Meeting date (June 14), Agenda Item Number (33), Comment Regarding (Annexation).

Niagara Waters

   See the beginning of this newsletter above for information on the Niagara Waters development agreement that is also scheduled for a vote on Tuesday (see pages 220-233 of the Tuesday Agenda Packet linked below).

More information:

Eau Claire City Council

 • Monday, June 13, 7 pm., Public Hearing (Agenda Packet, 48 pages)

 • Tuesday, June 14, 4 p.m., Legislative Session (Agenda Packet, 270 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)

City staff annexation FAQs

City staff presentation on annexation

Chamber annexation support letter (Eau Claire Chamber)

Water talk draws crowd in Eau Claire (Leader-Telegram $)

Eau Claire holds informational meeting on proposed bottling plant (WEAU 13 News)

Eau Claire City Council to vote Tuesday on controversial annexation (Leader-Telegram $)


CVTC, UWEC, UW-Stout, and UW-River Falls partnership 

Associate of Arts degree and transfer agreements approved 

   Chippewa Valley Technical College, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Stout are pleased to announce a new partnership to further enhance their commitment to serving students and supporting their success. 

   On Friday, June 10, the UW System Board of Regents made the final approval allowing CVTC to offer an Associate of Arts degree. The Wisconsin Technical College System approval to offer the degree was granted on May 17.  

   “We are pleased to provide this remarkable opportunity for students across the district,” said CVTC College President Sunem Beaton-Garcia, Ph.D. “The partnership with our UW institutions is of great importance, and I am grateful for their continued collaboration to provide seamless transfer for students.” 

   This effort was the result of close collaboration with all three UW institutions in the region as commitments to seamless transfer were reaffirmed between the participating higher education institutions earlier this spring. This collaboration will support the transfer of students to the institution that best suits their interests and support the needs of students throughout northwest Wisconsin and beyond. 

   UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank, Ph.D. said she recognizes the significant variance in the educational journey of each individual.  

   “It is our responsibility to meet students where they are and provide them with the quality educational experience they aspire to achieve by removing barriers that may deter their success,” she said.

   “While each institution has a distinct mission, we are deeply committed to our students and stronger transfer outcomes throughout the region,” stated UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Jim Schmidt, Ph.D. “Our shared goal is to provide educational options across our institutions that will help students meet their career and life goals no matter where they start or complete their degrees.” 

   Students enrolling in the Associate of Arts degree at CVTC will benefit from close collaboration with all three university partners. Guidance relative to students’ desired pathways for areas of study and transfer institution will be provided by a dedicated advisor on CVTC campuses, supported by UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Stout. 

   In addition to seamless transfer agreements and embedded advising, UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo, Ph.D., expressed the importance of joint professional development and shared messaging for prospective and existing students.  

   “While keeping with our shared principles and practices, we have built strong, collaborative teams across our institutions to develop, support and maintain the partnership work to provide the most effective and efficient options for learners, regardless of their current situation or desired pathway,” she said. 

   Students interested in pursuing the Associate of Arts degree may start the program as early as the fall 2022 semester, which begins at the end of August. 

More information: 

Regional Higher Education Partnership Evolves (CVTC)

CVTC partners with UW System, creates Associate of Arts degree (Leader-Telegram $)


More local news:


Wisconsin Tourism Surges in 2021 (Travel Wisconsin)

Visitors flock to region, state as pandemic fears ease (Leader-Telegram $)

Tourism dollars on the rise throughout Wisconsin (WEAU 13 News)


Area mortgage applications hold strong as the national average goes down (WQOW News 18)


Eau Claire school board talks November referendum (Leader-Telegram $)


Regents approve new business major at UW-Eau Claire (UWEC)


UW-Eau Claire hosts 79th Badger Boys State (WEAU 13 News)


Eau Claire County judge reinstates Augusta councilman (Leader-Telegram $)


Eau Claire’s June 18 "Juneteenth" celebration moves to new location (UWEC)


Switch to Hybrid Squad Cars Net Savings for Chippewa Falls PD (Government Technology)


Sun Country Airlines: A vision of things to come? (Leader-Telegram $)


State and regional news:


2 women to lead UW System Board of Regents for the first time (WPR)


Board of Regents approves continued tuition freeze (WisPolitics.com)


Vos appoints GOP attorney Don Millis to serve on Wisconsin Elections Commission (WPR)


Elections Commission rejects challenge to Michels nomination papers (WisPolitics.com)


More than a dozen GOP incumbents face primary challenges (Wispolitics.com)


With Democratic Senate primary up for grabs, voters will have to look beyond policy differences (Wisconsin State Journal +)

Johnson Faces Another Badger State Senate Battle (The Dispatch)


Gov. Evers visits Thorp cheesemaker, touts dairy assistance (Leader-Telegram $)


Milwaukee’s New Mayor Seeks to Rebuild City Plagued by Shootings (Governing)


What's the scoop on the origin of the Culver’s franchise? (WPR)


Minneapolis and St. Paul: Trying Times for Two Leaders (Governing)


Eau Claire Chamber "Business Matters" podcast: Interview with State Senator Kathy Bernier (EC Chamber, 41:26)


National and economic news:


Inflation rose 8.6% in May, highest since 1981 (CNBC)


Senators reach a bipartisan gun safety deal (Axios)


Jan. 6 hearing highlights Capitol riot in new video footage (CNBC)


America Needs More Houses

By Suzanne Clark, US Chamber of Commerce, and Brian Deese, White House National Economic Council, in the Wall Street Journal

   "The shortfall of affordable housing hurts America’s businesses and the broader economy by preventing workers from living in areas with economic opportunities but high housing costs. Employers are forced to operate below their potential because they can’t attract or retain workers. One study estimated that this misallocation could cost up to 2% of gross domestic product, or more than $400 billion a year in lost economic output. Housing costs also play a major role in inflation, making up the largest component of the consumer price index.

   While the two of us don’t agree on every issue, we agree that the shortfall is longstanding and must be addressed. The good news is that there are proven ways that the administration, Congress, state and local governments, and the private sector can work together to build and preserve enough homes to end the housing shortfall in America." Click here to read the full column...


COVID-19 Updates

Wisconsin Supreme Court says business COVID records can be released (AP)

WMC Statement on Supreme Court Ruling (WMC)


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:


Eggs & Issues: Our Energy Future

• Friday, June 17, Pablo Center or live stream on Perigon


Business Day in Madison

 • Wednesday, October 19, Monona Terrace


Workforce Solutions Summit

 • Wednesday, November 16, Pablo Center


"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


Next up on the public calendar


Wisconsin Political Calendar (WisPolitics.com)


Partisan Primary
US Senate (Ron Johnson seat), Congress, State Senate (odd # districts) Assembly, Governor , Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, County Sherriff, County Clerk of Court

 • Wed, Jun 1, Filing deadline for primary (Wisconsin Elections Commission)

 • Tuesday, Aug 9, Primary Election


Congressional & Legislative Maps

Wisconsin Congressional Maps (Dave's Redistricting)

Wisconsin Legislative District Maps (Wisconsin Legislature)


General Election
 • Tuesday, November 8


Public Meetings Calendar

Our Public Meetings Calendar has moved to our website. 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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