Confluence Project report unveiled - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Report breaks down operating budget of proposed community arts center

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Exactly one year ago, the concept of the Confluence Project was unveiled. Now, that concept takes one more step toward reality.

Wednesday, we're taking the first look at the results of a long awaited report, breaking down the operating budget of the proposed community arts center. 

Project Developer, Dan Clumpner, says, "This is an important step in the process and it really allows us to start those negotiations, if you would, with our stakeholders."

On Wednesday, project developers revealed the results of the VenuWorks study that were originally supposed to come out last fall.

Clumpner says, "It gets to be fairly technical and it just takes awhile to get an operating model that fits our unique situation."

The VenuWorks study breaks down the financials and operating structure of the proposed community arts center.

What's complicated is there are so many stakeholders: the art center would be co-owned by the city, the state and a non-profit, for example, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center.  It would be run by a condo owners association, UW-Eau Claire, local arts and a separate manager.

"There are a lot of parties involved in that process, a lot of requirements that have been proposed by the different stakeholders including the state," says Clumpner.

Earlier in the process the state requested a backstop, or someone who would be responsible if things don't work out.  Developers are asking the city to do that, only after all other options, like philanthropy and grants, are exhausted.

Clumpner says, "The purpose of the report really was to validate the operational model and to say that this can be run fiscally responsible, that it isn't a drain on the taxpayer, that there is a business model that makes sense."

According to the report, there would be an excess of about $100,000 in the first year, after operating expenses are paid for and a $100,000 deposit is made into a reserve account. 

Results from the study are driven by events held at the arts center... Which they expect will be more than 180 in the first year.

State Theatre Executive Director, Ben Richgruber, says, "The bare bones of the operating structure, are based entirely on what we already do, but there is some growth built in because there is a lot of opportunity that we just aren't able to grab right now."

Project developers say they're taking a few weeks for people to take a look at the study and ask questions. They say the next step is to get support from the city.

To read the full report click here.

Click here to view past Confluence Project stories on a special Confluence Project page.

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