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Volume 6, Issue 17, Sep 11, 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...
Making a Difference: Your Voice in Local Government
   Actions at every level of government can impact your business and the economy. So how do you make sure your voice is heard when decisions are made at your municipal hall, the county courthouse, the State Capitol, or by the Federal Government? Our “Making a Difference” series is designed to help you answer that question. Make plans now to attend our first program, “Making a difference: Your voice in local government.”
   At this fast-paced, informative workshop, you’ll get the lowdown on how area local governments in Eau Claire County work. Learn about how city, county, and school districts are organized; how decisions get made; and how you can get involved. This event is co-sponsored with the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association, the Realtors Association of Northwest Wisconsin, and Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley.
 • Thursday, Sep 14, 3:30-5:30 p.m., Chamber offices, WNB Conf Room
Click here for details and to register

Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast
   With the 2023-25 state budget now enacted, but with many key state issues still pending, we've invited members of the State Assembly and Senate who represent the Chippewa Valley to join us for an update and to answer questions submitted by participants. We'll get a recap and perspective on how key regional economic priorities fared in the budget, and discuss still-pending issues like childcare, potential tax cuts, etc.  
 • Friday, Sep 29, 7:00-9:00 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register

Local Candidate Training Workshop
   If you've ever considered running for a local elected office, or just wondered what's involved, make plans now to attend this workshop. You'll learn which offices will be on the ballot in the Spring 2024 election and the basic details of filing and running for office. You'll also have a chance to hear what it's really like to run and to serve from a panel of current and former city council, school board, and county board members. 
 • Wednesday, Oct 11, 8:30-11:30 a.m., REALTORS® Assn of NW Wisconsin
    Click here for details and to register

Also for your calendar:
 • Thursday Sep 21, Bravo to Business Awards

Chamber Business Hours: Mon-Thu 7:30a-5p, Friday 8a-2p
Lobby Hours: Mon-Thu 9a-3p, Friday 9a-Noon

In this issue:
 • EC City Council approves Mt. Washington project
 • City of Eau Claire backs off downtown paid street parking
 • Eau Claire County Board: No change in administration
 • Chamber "Bravo to Business" Awards next week
 • State and regional news
 • National and economic stories
 • 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 "+"


EC City Council: Light agenda, no Monday public hearings
   The Eau Claire City Council meets this week with a relatively light agenda, with no Monday Public Hearing meeting because none of its items require one.
   The Tuesday agenda includes a technical amendment to the City's floodplain ordinance to be consistent with updated flood insurance studies and rate maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (see pages 52-65 of the Sep 12 Agenda Packet linked below).
   After the meeting, the Council will meet in closed session to conduct the six-month performance evaluation for City Manager Stephanie Hirsch.
Mt. Washington approved with bus, pedestrian connections
A request to amend the City's Comprehensive Plan for a new project involving the former Mt. Washington Residence was approved by the Council at its August 22 Legislative Session, with amendments requiring the developer to provide a bus shelter and sidewalk connection to Cleveland Street and stipulating that the developer save what trees they can as part of the project and create certain natural vegetative buffers.
   The plan change was needed to move the property's land use designation from residential to mixed use. Altitude Capital Partners, the new owner of the nine-acre property at 1930 Cleveland St., is planning a three phase project. The first phase would include a new 4-story, 22,900 square foot building on the west side of the property with 87 units totaling 122 bedrooms. The second phase would be a remodel of the existing 18,745 square foot building for 53 units totaling 60 bedrooms, plus 5,000 square feet of commercial space. Phase three would include a new 15,825 square foot building with 60 units totaling 86 bedrooms. The application includes a letter of support from the Shawtown Neighborhood Association. (See pages 5-37 of the Aug 22 Agenda Packet linked below for project details, and pages 12-13 of the Sep 12 Agenda Packet linked below for minutes of the Aug 22 meeting).
  The August 22 Legislative Session also included approval of updated affordable housing scoring criteria proposed by the Housing Opportunities Commission (see pages 69-91 of the Aug 22 Agenda Packet linked below), approval of the final plat for Woodland Park Twin Homes on the City's southeast side near Old Town Hall Rd (see pages 92-98), an amendment to the Development and Purchase Agreement with the owners of Country Jam to retain ownership of three outlots rather than sell them to the City (see pages 99-103), and a development agreement with Hope Gospel Mission for street and utility improvements related to its recently-approved Hope Gospel Mission School (see pages 104-120).
More information:
Eau Claire City Council
 • Monday, Sep 11, Public Hearing (Canceled)
 • Tuesday, Sep 12, 4 p.m. Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (78 pages)
 • Tuesday, Aug 22, Legislative Session, Agenda Packet (112 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)
Site plan shows new vision for Mt. Washington building (WQOW News 18)
New apartments coming to Eau Claire (WEAU 13 News)
EC Event District to retain parcels it planned to sell to city (Leader-Telegram $)
Eau Claire Council considers amendments to floodplains ordinance (Leader-Telegram $)

City of EC backs off on paid on-street parking
   A potential City of Eau Claire plan to include paid on-street parking downtown in its 2024 budget has been withdrawn. The proposal drew concern from many downtown businesses, including leaders of the South Barstow and North Barstow Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). 
   City officials said they will continue to engage with businesses on parking issues over the coming months.
   While the City has long had a two-hour free parking limit on downtown streets, it has recently moved to a new "block face" enforcement using license plate recognition, allowing cars to be parked for two hours once per day per block. Businesses have been dealing with street closures and restrictions related to construction that has created parking challenges during recent months, including the construction of a new transit center that will include additional parking. Many say they want any decisions on paid street parking to wait until the there is experience with the new two-hour enforcement mechanism, and after some of the current construction projects are completed.
   WEAU reported this past week that Eau Claire Transit is expecting to move into the new transit center on Barstow Street next August. That structure also includes parking. While the transit and parking levels are nearing completion, construction is expected to start soon on the housing project above the center.
More information:
Eau Claire pulls paid parking plan for 2024 (Leader-Telegram $)

Downtown parking fee proposal pulled by city of Eau Claire for now (WQOW News 18)
Eau Claire Transit to move services to new transfer center in August 2024 (WEAU 13 News)
Our View: City made the right decision, but shouldn't have been forced to (Leader-Telegram editorial $)

EC County ends DHS deliberations, no change in administration
   The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors met in closed session on September 5 in its final special session to discuss issues related to the cost overruns in Department of Health Services budget in 2019. At the conclusion, the board reconvened in open session and approved a motion to take no further action. That means County Administrator Kathryn Schauf will remain in her position. On July 12, the Board voted to remove Supervisor Nick Smiar as County Board Chair, later electing Supervisor Nancy Coffey to serve in that position through next April.
More information:
Eau Claire Co. administrator stays, marking end of special meetings on DHS 2019 budget (WEAU 13 News)
Schauf comments on conclusion of DHS investigation (Leader-Telegram $)
No action taken on Eau Claire County administrator leadership (WQOW News 18)
County Administrator Schauf releases statement following County Board special meeting (WEAU 13 News)
Our View: County needs officials to show leadership now (Leader-Telegram editorial $)

Meeting this week...

Eau Claire Board of Education
 • Monday, Sep 11, 7 p.m. Board information and agenda
High school graduation rates and governing policies report to be presented to school board (Leader-Telegram $)

More local stories:

Royal Credit Union, WESTconsin Land on Forbes List of Nation’s Top Small Employers
(Volume One)

Menomonie Market Food Co-op announces October opening date
(WQOW News 18)
Menomonie Market Food Co-op announces fall opening date (Leader-Telegram $)
Menomonie Market Co-op expanded Eau Claire location opening date October 11 (News Release, Menomonie Market Co-op)

Oktoberfest Celebrates 20 Years in the Valley with Beer, Food, Music, and More
(Volume One)
Oktoberfest reaches 20-year milestone this week (Leader-Telegram $)

Questioning the Locals: Allyson Wisniewski, Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce (Volume One)

VFW Post 305: Ready for next 100 years (Leader-Telegram $)

New Route of the Day: Sun Country between Eau Claire and Las Vegas (Air Service One)

Volume One offers trolley tours of Eau Claire
(WEAU 13 News)

Chippewa River Trolley Co. Ready to Carry Passengers on the Road to Fun
(Volume One)

Rising COVID-19 levels found in Eau Claire wastewater
(WEAU 13 News)


Chamber "Bravo to Business" winners to be named next week
Recipients to be announced at September 21 event   
   The Chamber's annual "Bravo to Business" Awards event next week recognizes and celebrates exceptional achievements in the local business community, highlighting businesses that have demonstrated excellence, innovation, and a commitment to the growth and prosperity of Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley.
   The finalists for the Bravo to Business Awards represent a diverse range of industries and sectors, each making a significant impact on the economic landscape of Eau Claire. These businesses have been selected based on their outstanding performance, community involvement, and commitment to ethical business practices.
The 2023 Bravo to Business finalists are the following:
Business of the Year:  50+ employees
 • Minnesota Wire & Cable
 • Royal Credit Union
Small Business of the Year: 1 – 50 employees
 • Atmosphere Commercial Interiors
 • Bauman Associates Ltd.
 • Cowboy Jack’s
 • Ferguson’s Orchards
 • Natural Health and Allergy
Emerging Business of the Year
 • Green Fleet
 • Natural Health & Allergy
 • Wisconsin Makers Market
Resilient Business of the Year
 • Eau Claire Energy Cooperative
 • REACH – Regional Enterprises for Adults & Children
Young Professionals Best Place to Work
 • Ayres Associates
 • Bauman Associates Ltd.
 • Chippewa Valley Technical College
   The selection process involved a rigorous evaluation by a panel of judges from diverse professional backgrounds. These judges carefully reviewed the nominations and conducted thorough assessments to determine the finalists in each category.
   The winners of the 2023 Bravo to Business Awards will be unveiled during the awards ceremony on September 21st, where attendees will have the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of these outstanding businesses and connect with fellow business professionals. The event promises to be a memorable evening of networking, inspiration, and community support.
Bravo to Business Awards
  Thursday, Sep 21, 5:00-9:00 p.m., The Florian Gardens
     Click here for details and to register

State and regional stories:

Republican proposes returning much of state surplus to taxpayers

Lawmakers advance GOP-backed income tax cut, but Evers promises to veto

5 Republican child care bills aim to improve daycare shortage by loosening some restrictions on providers

Republicans say bills would help fix Wisconsin's child care crisis; Democrats quickly pan them
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

A Republican plan to ease the child care crisis got a hearing. Here is what providers and others had to say
(Journal-Sentinel $)

AI, childhood obesity and chronic student absenteeism will be focus of new legislative task forces

GOP threat to impeach a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice is driven by fear of losing legislative edge

Wisconsin GOP threatens to impeach justice over donations, but conservatives also took party cash

Can the Wisconsin Supreme Court overcome its fractured relations? Observers fear a point of no return
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wisconsin Supreme Court, in public hearing, weighs eviction records
(The Cap Times)

DSPS licensing times down, number of approvals up, Evers says
(The Daily Reporter +)

Republican Rep. Dave Murphy questions whether UW-Madison complying with affirmative action admissions ban

Wisconsin's suicide numbers have reached historically high levels for the 2nd year in a row
(Journal-Sentinel $)

Yet another outstate company is moving its headquarters to Milwaukee: Regal Rexnord
(Journal-Sentinel $)

Milwaukee streetcar lakefront line to begin service on Oct. 29

Milwaukee leaders celebrate Couture’s progress, workforce development

Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce: July economic trends report for metro Milwaukee

"Homeless to Harvard" - Liz Murray to keynote WMC Business Day on Oct 19


National and economic stories:

Payrolls rose 315,000 in August as companies keep hiring

Former La Crosse County Board Chair joins Democratic field in highly-watched congressional race

Former La Crosse Co. chair Johnson announces candidacy for Congress
(Leader-Telegram $)

Biden Administration Moves to Block Oil Drilling on Millions of Acres of Alaskan Wilderness
(Wall Street Journal $)

Biden faces balancing act at G20 in warding off China
(The Hill)

Blinken visits Kyiv and makes clear the Biden administration is working to support Ukraine for the long haul

Love your credit card points? A bill that may change them is still on the table
(The Hill)

Charter and Disney aren’t budging in their blackout fight as NFL season kicks off

America’s school day starts too early. That’s starting to change
(The Economist +)

America remembers 9/11, more than two decades later

New Zealand’s Legalization of Incremental Housing Is Bearing Fruit
(Strong Towns)

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

Food for thought:

What Is a Residential Neighborhood, Anyway?
(Daniel Herriges, Strong Towns)

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

Mark your calendar:

Making a Difference: Your Voice in Local Government
 • Thursday, Sep 14

Bravo to Business
 • Thursday, Sep 21

Eggs & Issues: Legislative Breakfast
 • Friday, Sep 29

Local Candidate Training Workshop
• Wednesday, Oct 11

Workforce Solutions Summit
 • Wednesday, Nov 15

Eau What A Night: The Chamber's 109th Annual Meeting
 • Wednesday, January 24, 2024

30th Annual Chippewa Valley Rally
 • Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

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 G
overnmental Affairs, at 715-858-0616 or rogers@eauclairechamber.org

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