Eau Claire City Hall

Eau Claire City Hall, 203 S. Farwell St.

A state grant is being sought to pay for the demolition of a defunct discount store to make way for a new grocery store in Eau Claire.

On Tuesday the City Council will consider applying to a Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. program for up to $500,000 in grant money to help raze the former Kmart, 2424 E. Clairemont Ave.

The building has been vacant since the retailer shut it down in 2015. Hy-Vee purchased the property late last year to build one of its grocery stores there.

As the property has sat unused for five years, it now qualifies for submittal to WEDC’s Idle Sites grant, a program that helps pay for the demolition and remediation of sites slated for redevelopment.

Though the city would be applying for the grant, money from it would be passed onto the project developer to pay for costs for preparing the land for a new building.

Guidelines for the Idle Sites program on WEDC’s website state that the state grants can only account for up to 30% of the costs of making the site shovel-ready, with remaining costs coming from the developer or other sources.

A development agreement signed by Hy-Vee executives states that the former Kmart would be demolished before the end of 2021. The grocery store chain has not yet announced a construction timeframe for the 95,000-square-foot store it intends to build on the site.

Eau Claire previously made use of a $500,000 WEDC Idle Sites grant in 2017 to clear land along Menomonie Street for the planned Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex.

Other business

Also during this week’s City Council meetings:

• After several weeks of council discussions on the five-year plan for spending on public projects, the 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Plan is nearing final approval. There will be a public hearing on the proposed plan Monday night, followed by a vote during Tuesday’s meeting.

• Plans for expanding L.E. Phillips Senior Center, 1616 Bellinger St., will be subject to a public hearing Monday night before the council is slated to vote Tuesday afternoon on a rezoning request needed for the project to advance.

• A public discussion on the city’s Safe Routes to Parks plan will held during Monday night’s meeting prior to a vote to adopt the document on Tuesday afternoon.

• The city may sell the Mount Washington ski jump, 1805 Menomonie St., to Flying Eagles Ski Club for $1. The ski club has long leased the 4.2-acre property from the city, but transferring ownership to the group has been discussed as a possibility since 2010.

• Buying 80 acres of farmland adjacent to Gateway Industrial Park for $1.88 million will be discussed by the council on Tuesday. The property would be used to attract new industrial businesses and could become part of a new joint industrial park with Chippewa County.

• Emergency powers granted to the city manager may be continued to Aug. 25 under an extended declaration the council will vote on Tuesday afternoon. The city has been under an emergency declaration since March 17 at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Contact: 715-833-9204, andrew.dowd@ecpc.com, @ADowd_LT on Twitter