EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Monday night a community came out to share its comments and concerns about a project that could change the face of the city.
Tuesday night the Eau Claire City Council will vote on a proposal to pledge $5 million toward the performing arts building of the Confluence Project.
City manager Russ Van Gompel says tomorrow's vote is a major step in moving forward with the project but there are still many details that will come after tomorrow's vote.
“Under no conditions should the city council pledge or give any money to the Confluence Project,” an Eau Claire resident said during public discussion before the Eau Claire City Council Monday night.
“These buildings have the opportunity to be iconic and representative of something special,” Eau Claire native and Grammy Award winning artist Justin Vernon said.
A mix of residents voiced a mix of opinions Monday night for one of the biggest projects on the minds of Eau Claire City Council members
“We still have a lot of work to do, this is just the first step to indicate that the city is interested in moving forward,” Van Gompel said.
The city manager says Monday night the council heard comments on whether or not the city should pledge $5 million dollars to get the ball rolling on a performing arts building. The building is part of the plans for the Confluence Project, but he says that money comes with some conditions.
“There are a lot of conditions to the pledge, specifically we are looking at additional funding from the state of Wisconsin and additional gift giving and those are important factors for this project to move forward,” Van Gompel said.
“It’s at this point that if the council decides to bid their $5 million dollars that we can start figuring out how this is all going to work,” UW-Eau Claire student senate intergovernmental affairs director Jacob Wrasse said.
For students looking to expand their learning options the Confluence is the right place to start, but tax payers at the meeting had a few reservations.
“The dormitories have no place in downtown Eau Claire as does the performance building and they will likely end up being a white elephant in downtown,” a confluence opponent said before the council Monday night.
The city manager says if the council votes in favor of the pledge, further public discussion will follow. If the vote fails he says it will likely mean a large decrease in the amount of time council members spend looking into the project.
The city council will vote Tuesday on the city proposal to pledge $5 million to the Confluence Arts Center at 4 PM in the City Council Chambers of City Hall.