UPDATE: Downtown businesses will pay 36% of S. Barstow St. - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Downtown businesses will pay 36% of S. Barstow St. construction cost

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The Eau Claire City Council gives the green light for a bill to downtown businesses.

This summer, South Barstow Street will be reconstructed.  The last major work done on South Barstow was more than 40 years ago.  Monday night, the council approved assessments for property owners along the street.  They'll have to pay 36 percent of the $1.7 million project. On Monday night, some business owners told the city council that was too much.  One city council member agreed, and opposed the assessments.

"In this case, I feel like our whole city benefits, to the extent that our whole city ought to be a little more involved in sharing the cost with the businesses that are downtown," says Eau Claire City Council Member Andrew Werthmann.

Other city council members say the business owners would be getting a bigger benefit from the reconstruction, which is why they'll have to pay a larger portion than what a homeowner would have to pay for a typical residential street project.

"This project brings together many complicated elements, it's in a really important part of our city, so it's not typical, but downtown's not a typical area of our city," says council president Kerry Kincaid.

Construction could begin after Memorial Day. One portion of South Barstow won't be touched for now because of the uncertainty surrounding the Confluence Project.  That part may be redone in 2014.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Reconstruction of a downtown street was a hot topic at a local meeting Monday night.

Business owners along South Barstow Street in Eau Claire are being charged assessment fees for the work to be done this summer. Monday night, a public forum was held at the city council meeting. Several property owners expressed concern over the cost of the additions, which some find excessive.

"Beyond my six and a half foot of sidewalk that I'm agreeable to pay, I think the city ought to pay some of that other six and a half foot of fancy sidewalk, benches and lighting," Tim Russell, a South Barstow Street property owner.

Business owners will be charged based on how much of their property adjoins with the sidewalk. For example: one shop owner told us his bill would be $15,000. The council will vote on the formula for the assessments at Tuesday night's meeting.

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