Plans for a sand loading facility in Eau Claire are put on hold - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Plans for a sand loading facility in Eau Claire have been put on hold

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - On Tuesday, entering the development agreement with Muskie Proppant was put on hold, even after the Eau Claire City Council voted 7-3, in favor of the agreement. 

Muskie Proppant is asking the city to enter into a developers agreement, which would allow the company to create a rail spur in. The company wants to bring a sand loading operation to the area, just off Anderson Road and behind Plank Enterprises. About 40 trucks would be traveling from Pierce County each day. The company would pay for the entire project,  and the city would own half of the addition

Eau Claire City Council Member, Bob Von Haden, who voted in favor of the agreement, says,  "A two week delay does not seem to be horrendous but when you live here in Wisconsin and winter is creeping in and cold weather and freezing, it could be the timeline that's needed to get the project completed before it becomes a lot more costly to do."

The reason the project isn't moving forward is, Muskie Proppant plans to give the city $51,000 for road repairs as part of the resolution.  In order to pass that, a two-thirds vote is needed. Because one council member was not in attendance, that wasn't possible

Von Hade says,"The appropriation is very important however, because those were the dollars that they were going to give to the city to improve the roads next to the loading zone there so that our streets would be properly maintained."

At least one city council member questions whether $51,000 will be enough to cover the cost of repairs. "Is $51,000 for sure the amount of money that is going to cover our road developments? You know, this could be operating for 10,15, 20 years, $51,000 isn't even close to what would be needed to repair the roads," says Eau Claire City Council Member, Andrew Werthmann, who voted against the developers agreement.

Although developers did not give a specific number, one thing those in favor of supporting the agreement were concerned with, is jobs.

"Eau Claire is a great community but the one thing we need are good paying jobs, we have a lot of high paying and low paying jobs, but we don't have those good paying middle jobs that help make our economy grow," says, Von Haden.   

About a year ago, the Plan Commission approved a conditional use permit, since then, there has been no public discussion about the project. 

Werthmann says, "Before I would ever say yes to this company, to them building this loading facility, I would want to see all those details. I would also want to hear from neighbors. We didn't have a public hearing on this."

At Tuesdays meeting a representative from Muskie Proppant said they would like to have the project complete by December first.

According to the conditional use permit, they would have the ability to operate 24 hours a day. Tuesday night,  they said they would most likely not be running around the clock. The agreement will be back on the table in two weeks.

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