Area bank offers to match certain Confluence Project pledges

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An area bank says it will match certain financial pledges toward the proposed Confluence Project.

On Monday, Charter Bank made the announcement. The pledges would have to be between $25,000 and $250,000, and would go toward the community arts center. They would also have to be made by March 31.

The bank's President and CEO says the project will revitalize downtown, enhance the arts community, create jobs, and increase the tax base.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (CHARTER BANK NEWS RELEASE) -- Charter Bank announced today it will match, up to a total of $250,000, any new pledges of $25,000 or more made by March 31, 2014 in support of the new community arts center that is part of the proposed Confluence Project in downtown Eau Claire.

The Confluence Project is a proposed revitalization of property commonly referred to as the “Haymarket Site” at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. The community arts center is the centerpiece of the project, a public-private partnership that also seeks to construct a commercial/retail complex and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student housing at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers.

"We are pleased to support a project that will revitalize our downtown, enhance our arts community, create jobs, and increase our tax base" said Paul Kohler, President & CEO of Charter Bank Eau Claire.

Charter Bank's commitment in the form of a challenge will be a draw to additional future supporters of the project because it will increase the impact of their commitments, said Neil Lipinski, chair of Blugold Real Estate LLC, which is part of Confluence Project partner Haymarket Concepts LLC. "We very much appreciate Charter Bank stepping forward with this generous challenge commitment," Lipinski said. "They join a growing number of local businesses — including RCU, U.S. Bank and JAMF Software — who see what an important opportunity the Confluence Project is for this community and understand that through collaboration between the business community, the city, county, state, UW-Eau Claire and generous Chippewa Valley residents, we can make something transformational happen here."

Charter Bank is an independently owned community bank, with one location at 1010 W. Clairemont Avenue. Community banks, like Charter Bank, are characterized by their local headquarters and consequently, local decision-making that benefits the community where the bank does business.

In just over 30 years, the bank has grown to an asset size of over $550 million, which gives Charter Bank the distinction of being the largest bank in the Chippewa Valley. This growth has been accomplished by providing our clients with financial products that exceed expectations and the hard work of our 59 employees. The Eau Claire City Council on Oct. 22 pledged $5 million in city funds toward development of the community arts center. The arts center project also seeks $25 million in state funding and $5 million from Eau Claire County. The remaining arts center construction costs are sought from donations and tax credits. The $26 million commercial/retail and student housing complex will be privately financed. Other members of the Confluence Project public-private partnership are Haymarket Concepts LLC, composed of Market & Johnson Inc., Commonweal Development Corp. and Blugold Real Estate LLC, a subsidiary of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation; the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council; and UW-Eau Claire. For information about making a commitment to the Confluence Project, contact Gary Schuster, development director for the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, at or 715-832-2787.

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