Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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Arts center funding headed back to state budget plan

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MADISON -- The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee was poised Wednesday to approve $15 million in bonding in the 2015-17 state budget for a million non-state agency grant to help fund a community arts center in downtown Eau Claire as part of the Confluence Project, state Rep. Warren Petryk, R-Eleva, said.

The announcement was made at a presession press conference by the joint chairmen of the committee, Petryk said.

The committee earlier deleted the request from Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed two-year state budget. 

The state funding still must be approved by the full Legislature and the state Building Commission, and it must be included in the final budget as signed by Walker.

“We fought hard to secure this funding, and I’m very happy to report we were successful,” Petryk said. “I’m pleased as punch that it happened.”

One of the conditions in the agreement is that the state funds must be matched from other sources. City and county taxpayers have committed $8.5 million to the project, and private fundraising efforts have surpassed $8 million. 

According to a press release issued by the Community for Confluence group, the total funding package involves:

- $5 million city of Eau Claire

- $3.5 million Eau Claire County

- $13.5 million philanthropy ($9 million currently pledged)

- $3 million New Market Tax Credits

- $15 million state of Wisconsin non-state agency grant

The proposed $40 million arts center is a joint venture of UW-Eau Claire, private interests and local government.

For much more on this story, see Thursday’s Leader-Telegram.

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