Xcel Energy announces $250,000 donation to Confluence Arts Center

Courtesy: UW-Eau Claire
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Xcel Energy announced Tuesday it would be added to the list of confluence arts center donors, gifting a quarter million dollars to the project.

Ben Fowke, President, CEO and Chairman for Xcel Energy says the $250,000 donation is meant to support the continued downtown redevelopment effort.

“It's just about preparing for the next generation. You look at how beautiful it's going to be. You look around and I’ve just seen over the last couple of years, the energy so to speak that is in the city and we want to be part of it. This is hopefully it helps get this over to the finish line and we get it built and we have more people coming to the city and the city is healthy,” says Fowke.

Fowke says he hopes the business investment helps to retain and attract employees to the Chippewa Valley.

“A revitalized downtown is a great way to do that, particularly with not only millennials but retirees now moving back to the city, too,” says Fowke.

Tom Barland with the Confluence Fundraising Committee says Xcel's donation has put the total amount raised so far just over the $13 million mark.

“It's a big step forward because it's pushing us over that $13 million of privately raised but we still have $2 million to go yet before we can break ground this September,” says Barland.

Barland is still working with businesses to reach that $15 million goal.

“We're going back to some donors who've already given money and asking if they would consider adding support and people are doing that. We have a lot of people that we haven't contacted yet, and we will be getting touch with them to see if they can give us that last minute boost,” says Barland.

Eau Claire's Confluence Arts Center is getting a financial boost from a power company.

Tuesday morning, Xcel Energy announced it will donate $250,000 to the development. Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO Ben Fowke, and Xcel Energy-Wisconsin President and CEO Mark Stoering made the announcement during a check presentation event at The Livery in Eau Claire. They said they want to be a part of the revitalization of downtown Eau Claire. They also want to attract and retain workers in the Chippewa Valley, and they believe the arts center will help with that.

Confluence organizers are now $2,000,000 away from their fund-raising goal of $15,000,000. If they reach that goal, they can break ground at the site of the arts center in September.

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