EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- It’s been long and winding road with plenty of ups and downs for Eau Claire's Confluence Arts Center.
After a public referendum, state budget meetings and countless city council meetings, the project cleared the final hurdle at the city level Tuesday night.
City leaders unanimously approved of a general development plan for the $45-million performing arts building. The approval allows stakeholders to begin work at the site, but leaders say there is still work to be done before ground is broken.
City council president Kerry Kincaid had a small celebration of her own following the vote.
“It’s been exhilarating and exhausting. There are so many people I need to thank I can't even name them all,” Kincaid said.
While the process has been exhausting for some, stakeholders of the project including Ben Richgruber of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council says there is work still to be done.
“There are a lot of moving parts. Right now all of the architects are working hard on the drawings,” Richgruber explained.
Leaders unveiled concept renderings to the public in February. Architects still need to make detailed blueprint plans mapping out where each and every window, door and power outlet will be placed in the building.
“It's a fluid process. The only constant is change and we have had to adapt to a lot of things as far as funding changes and design,” Richgruber said.
Richgruber says another main focus is fundraising. Right now leaders have raised over $12.5 of the $15.5-million dollars needed.
In addition to continuing to reach their philanthropic goals, project leaders say they are working to ensure the sustainability of funding the building after its open.
Project stakeholders say the plan is to break ground on the project in late summer, with opening of the building planned for 2018.