Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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Arts center, UW-EC plans reach City Council

Hearings Monday, votes on Tuesday

  • Eau-Claire-City-Hall-August-2014-jpg

    Eau Claire City Hall on July 15, 2010.

    Dan Reiland

Designs for a downtown community arts center and turning a road into plazas and pathways on the UW-Eau Claire campus both are seeking city approval this week.

Almost four years after the Confluence Project’s arts center that will be jointly used by the university and community was first announced, plans for the 130,000-square-foot building are up for a final vote from the City Council.

Slated for land along the 100 block of Graham Avenue along the Chippewa River, the arts center’s main 1,200-seat theater would replace the nearby State Theatre and provide a much larger stage to accommodate bigger productions. A second theater with 400 seats would be flexible enough to accommodate different types of performances.

Other parts of the new building would accommodate UW-Eau Claire classes tied to the performing arts and offices for community arts groups.  Visit Eau Claire also would relocate its offices to the arts center and open a visitor’s center in one corner of the first floor.

The building also will have an art gallery, rehearsal rooms, production shops, studios and a recording studio. 

Construction is slated to begin in late summer and take more than 1½ years with an opening in 2018.

The building plans already won approval from the city’s Plan Commission and Waterways & Parks Commission in recent weeks on their way to the council for a definitive vote.

A public hearing on the project’s designs will be held during Monday night’s meeting, followed by the council’s vote on Tuesday afternoon.

The city has a financial stake in the $45 million building through a $5 million contribution to its construction and a $200,000 annual allocation of Eau Claire’s hotel taxes going toward its operation. A neighboring Confluence Project mixed-use building with first-floor commercial space and five stories of apartments intended for students also got $5.9 million in city support. Other Confluence Project support is coming from private backers, community donors, $15 million from the state, $3.5 million from the county government and $3 million in new market tax credits.

Garfield corridor

University plans to convert a road through lower campus into a network of pedestrian and bicycle pathways connected to plazas and an outdoor classroom are set for a vote this week.

UW-Eau Claire’s project that would revamp Garfield Avenue along the Chippewa River already won approval of two city commissions on the way to the council.

Following Monday night’s public hearing and a Tuesday council vote, the $12.4 million project still needs approval from the UW System Board of Regents and the State Building Commission.

Food trucks

Eau Claire approved a city law that created a license for food trucks to operate in a few public parks, but is now looking to expand that so vendors can sell streetside.

A draft ordinance scheduled for a Monday public hearing and Tuesday vote would allow food trucks to use on-street parking spots to sell to passersby on sidewalks.


Eau Claire City Council: Meets at 7 p.m. Monday and 4 p.m. Tuesday in the council chamber at City Hall, 203 S. Farwell St.

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