{{CFirstName}}, you are receiving this e-newsletter because you have shown interest in public policy issues. Contact us if you don't want to receive future issues.

Volume 6, Issue 14, Aug 21, 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


Chamber & CVTC Business Community Breakfast
   Honoring our past & celebrating our future. Join us at CVTC's Business Education Center to engage in insightful discussions and hear from President Sunem Beaton Garcia as she shares an update from the college. Explore how CVTC’s programs prioritize student success. Then tour the Health Education Center and discover how CVTC's health programs are evolving and growing to match the needs of our community and the workforce.

 • Tuesday, Sep 12, 7:00-8:30 a.m., CVTC Business Education Center
    Click here for details and to register (Registration deadline Sept. 7)

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 and the Realtors Association of Northwest Wisconsin.
 • 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

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

Chamber Business Hours:
Mon-Thu 7:30a-4:30p, Friday 8a-Noon
Lobby Hours: Mon-Thu 9a-3p, Friday 9a-Noon

In this issue:
 • UWEC, Mayo leaders talk Science Building, partnerships
 • EC City Council to consider Mt. Washington project
 • Potential paid downtown street parking draws business concerns
 • 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 "+"


UWEC, Mayo leaders discuss the impact of UWEC’s Science & Health Sciences Building and community partnerships
  Area business leaders gathered at last Friday's Eggs & Issues breakfast to learn about the next steps and opportunities created by the partnership between UWEC and Mayo Clinic Health System and the long-sought construction of the UWEC Science & Health Sciences Building.  
 The guest panel included James Schmidt, Chancellor, UWEC; Dr. Richard Helmers, Regional Vice President, Mayo Clinic Health System – Northwest Wisconsin; Dr. Tim Nelson, Regional Director of Research and Innovation, Mayo Clinic Health System; Mike Carney, Assistant Chancellor for Strategic Partnerships and Program Development, UWEC; and Carmen Manning, Dean, College of Education and Human Sciences, UWEC. 
   The partnership with Mayo actually began more than five years ago and was recently renewed for another ten. Schmidt and Nelson noted that significant benefits have already been realized from specific undergraduate research projects. Along with other partners, UWEC and Mayo also received a $9.4 million Workforce Innovation Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that will have a significant impact on regional rural healthcare. The County Materials Complex now under construction on West Menomonie Street is also a major project underway driven by key partnerships.
   The Science and Health Sciences Building was among the top policy priorities of the Chamber in this year's legislative session, where completion funding was received in the capital budget, along with funding for UW-Stout's Heritage Hall renovation. In a recent Op-Ed in the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, the leaders of the three Chippewa Valley Chambers of Commerce noted the far-reaching impact of the projects. 
   "The inclusion of two local UW System building projects in the recently enacted state budget – UW-Stout’s Heritage Hall renovation and UW-Eau Claire’s new Sciences and Health Sciences Building – is great news because both projects are set to deliver benefits to our region and Wisconsin that will far exceed their cost. The public investment in each of these projects will strengthen our regional economy, address workforce shortages, accelerate productive partnerships with businesses, and even help secure the very future of the universities themselves," said the column, signed by Ashley DeMuth, Chief Executive Officer, Menomonie Area Chamber & Visitor Center; David Minor, President & CEO, Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce; and Allyson Wisniewski, President, Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
   The narrative expressed appreciation for "the tenacity of our bipartisan Chippewa Valley legislative delegation, working in both of their party caucuses to secure inclusion of funding for the projects through the Joint Finance Committee, passage by the Assembly and Senate, and the signature of Governor Tony Evers."
   Friday's Eggs & Issues was attended by some of those legislators, including State Senator Jesse James (R-Altoona), Representatives Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) and Warren Petryk (R-Town of Washington), and former Republican State Senator Kathy Bernier.
   Thank you to our panel, attendees, and Chippewa Valley Technical College for serving as our host venue for this informative event.
More information:
Leaders discuss new UWEC science and health sciences building after budget approval (WEAU 13 News)
It Seems to Me: Local UW projects will have far reaching impact (Chippewa Valley Chambers, Leader-Telegram)
Workforce Innovation Grant (UWEC)
UWEC Science & Health Sciences Building (UWEC)
County Materials Complex (UWEC)
UWEC Facilities Projects (UWEC)
Princeton Review honors UWEC, River Falls (Leader-Telegram $)

EC City Council to act on Mt. Washington Project
   A request to amend the City's Comprehensive Plan for a new project involving the former Mt. Washington Residence is on the Eau Claire City Council's agenda this week, with a public hearing on Monday and action on Tuesday. 
   The change would move its 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. The Plan Commission last Monday unanimously recommended approval of the change (See pages 5-37 of the Monday Agenda Packet linked below).
   The Council will meet in closed session after Monday's meeting to "Update and receive negotiating direction regarding potential development opportunities for a City owned property at 915 Menomonie Street," which is the Hobbs Ice Arena (See page 53 of the Monday Agenda packet).
  Tuesday's Legislative Session also includes approval of updated affordable housing scoring criteria proposed by the Housing Opportunities Commission (see pages 69-91 of the Tuesday 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, Aug 21, 7 p.m. Public Hearing, Agenda Packet (41 pages)
 • Tuesday, Aug 22, 4 p.m. 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)

Potential paid downtown street parking draws business concerns
   The potential that revenue from paid downtown street parking may be included in the City of Eau Claire's 2024 budget has drawn concern from many downtown businesses, including leaders of the South Barstow and North Barstow Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). 
   In an August 14 email to members of the City Council, Deputy City Manager Dave Solberg said that, as part of creation of a City division to handle parking management, "the funding source for the downtown parking enforcement and operation is proposed to come from the fees collected by paid on-street parking in the downtown district currently operating as 2-hour parking. Because the city manager is assembling her budget currently and needs to know what revenue she can include in her 2024 budget, she has requested staff engage with the business regarding paid on-street parking on a parallel path with the 2024 operating budget."
   To be included in the budget, the email notes, the Council would need to act on a proposal by October 10. Solberg said, "Staff is listening to businesses and giving serious consideration to all comments," and that it is his "goal to present a factual compilation of concerns with viewpoints on both sides of the issue for the council to consider."
   While the City has long had a two-hour free parking limit on downtown streets, the new "block face" enforcement using license plate recognition has not yet been fully implemented. Businesses have been dealing with street closures and restrictions related to construction that have 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. Several of them have started a petition drive objecting to paid street parking. North Barstow BID Chair Julia Johnson of Pablo Group said she is writing a letter to the Council expressing its board's objections. 
   The Chamber will continue to closely follow this issue. 
More information:
Downtown business district objects to paid parking proposal (Leader-Telegram $)
Businesses petition against paid street parking in downtown Eau Claire (WQOW News 18)
What the Heck is ‘Block Face Parking’? Here’s What You Need to Know (Volume One)

More local stories:

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)

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)

Community surveys and input:

2024 Eau Claire County Budget
County 2024 budget website
Eau Claire County Seeks Budget Response From Community Via Survey (Volume One)
Online survey: 2024 EC County Budget

Community Health Survey
This is a three-county partnership with healthcare, United Way, and local health departments used to develop the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) which provides direct guidance on the priorities of Eau Claire Health Alliance.  The survey helps action teams develop strategies to address prioritized issues, taking input and guidance from our community members.
Chippewa Valley Community Health Survey (Community Health Assessment Partnership)


State and regional stories:

Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin; 8th annual contest kicks off
(Fox 6)

New Democrat on Wisconsin’s budget committee calls for transparency
(The Cap Times)

Wisconsin Elections Commission backs administrator, takes no action on attending nomination hearing
(Wisconsin State Journal +)

Wisconsin elections administrator's role still murky after another procedural wrinkle

Lawmakers are working to overhaul Wisconsin's alcohol industry. Here's where the changes stand
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Wedding barn owners still worried alcohol law rewrite will kill their business
(Wisconsin Examiner)

How has Wisconsin changed since the Inflation Reduction Act?

Wisconsin has seen strong labor force growth this year, but the jobs picture is murky

1 in 10 schoolchildren are not up-to-date on vaccines in Wisconsin, amid drop in childhood immunization rates
(Journal-Sentinel +)

Evers visits Stanley-Boyd to kick off the start of the school year
(Leader-Telegram $)

Gov. Tony Evers to Lead Trade Mission to Europe in September

Declining interest, revenue ended UW-Madison farm training course. Now lawmakers are pushing to fund it at UW-River Falls.

Mental health of teenage girls has declined twice as much as boys

Wisconsin projected to lead US cranberry production for 29th year
(Greater Madison In Business)

Milwaukee County Expects First Budget Surplus in Two Decades
(Urban Milwaukee)

Utilities hope to break ground on Superior gas plant next spring despite regulatory hurdles and opposition

Gov. Evers, Minnesota Gov. Walz Apply for Federal Grant to Rebuild Critical Duluth-Superior Bridge
(Office of the Governor)

Willmar, MN, Joins Other Cities Across the U.S. in Repealing Parking Minimums
(Strong Towns)

Opinion: One thing not up for debate in Milwaukee: Joe Biden won Wisconsin in 2020
(Former Congressman Reid Ribble and former State Senator Kathy Bernier, Journal-Sentinel $)

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


National and economic stories:

Retail sales increased 0.7% in July, better than expected as consumer spending is holding up

Prices Rose 3.2% Annually in July
(US Chamber of Commerce)

Home prices will rise in 2023 as affordability crisis worsens, Goldman says
(Fox Business)

The GOP presidential debate puts a spotlight on Wisconsin, one of the few remaining swing states

Trump, 18 others indicted by Atlanta grand jury in election interference probe

Attorney general appoints a special counsel in Hunter Biden probe, deepening investigation

Chair of House ag committee joins Rep. Van Orden for farm listening session in La Crosse

2 Democrats to challenge US Rep. Bryan Steil for newly-competitive seat

Video - Rep. Mike Gallagher: Americans are unwittingly funding China’s People’s Liberation Army
(CNBC, 6:58)

Tiny houses for the homeless: What 2 nonprofits have learned to date
(Smart Cities Dive)

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

Food for thought:

Fixing the Local News Crisis (The Dispatch)

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

Mark your calendar:

Chamber & CVTC Business Community Breakfast
 • Tuesday, Sep 12

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

This email was sent on behalf of {{TCDisplayName}} located at {{TCADDRAddress1}}{{TCADDRAddress2}}{{TCADDRCity}}{{TCADDRStateProvince}} {{TCADDRPostalCode}}To unsubscribe click here. If you have questions or comments concerning this email contact {{TCDisplayName}} at {{TCEmailAddress}}.