U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week approved the 120 Economic Opportunity Zone designations Gov. Scott Walker had proposed for Wisconsin, including three in Eau Claire.
These zones cover more than 40 counties in rural, urban, and tribal areas and present an opportunity for private, tax-free investment into areas of economic need, benefiting residents living in the zones and private investors. The zones were created in the 2017 tax reform law.
The potential Eau Claire Opportunity Zones would be in the central downtown business district, an area encompassing the Randall Park neighborhood and the portion of Menomonie Street where the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex is planned, and the North Riverfront neighborhood along the east side of the Chippewa River plus an area along Madison and Birch streets, according to Mike Schatz, the city’s economic development administrator.
Other regional zones that made the preliminary list include one in Chippewa Falls, one in Menomonie, two in Rice Lake, one in River Falls and one in Ladysmith.