Justin Vernon, Zach Halmstad leading fundraising effort for Confluence Project

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Justin Vernon and Zach Halmstad. Two people on different paths in life, united in one vision, making downtown Eau Claire a destination for the arts and new businesses.

Zach Halmstad, whose company Jamf Software is building a large new headquarters downtown, announced six months ago the company would be donating $500,000 to the project. A down payment on re-inventing downtown.

"When we heard about this and the vision downtown can be, we want to be part of it," he said.

Now he, along with Vernon, hope others see that vision and open up their pocket books, too. They are going to take their case to potential donors first-hand.

"I think maybe with Zach and I's public scope, people for whatever weird reason know who we are and things, we can be visible in the community," he said. "And people that are sitting on money that could be going toward creating something bigger than us, any of us individuals."

But there are still some concerns about the project. Eau Claire City Council Member Dave Duax told us by phone on Thursday he is hearing opinions from constituents on both sides.

"There is a big concern about that, I think taxes are a key issue on people's minds and there is a lot of resistance toward resisting that," he said.

The other side of the coin he says - we need new businesses to come to town to build up the tax base and bring in new jobs. He says we need private investment to help make projects like this work.

"We need to have private investment, whether that private investment is in terms of philanthropy or someone building an office building or apartment that brings in property taxes, all of that makes the engine work," he said.

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