Many voices chime in for Confluence conversation at city hall - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Many voices chime in for Confluence conversation at city hall

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- A crowd packed into city hall Monday night and settled in for a long discussion on the future of Eau Claire's Confluence Project. 

The council will vote on making a $5 million pledge for the project, specifically for the community arts center.

The council is voting on the pledge Tuesday. The city says many other pieces of the puzzle have to come together before it contributes.   On Monday night college students, life-long Eau Claire residents, former city council members and even a Grammy winner weighed in. Many urged the city to move forward with financial support for the Confluence, citing job creation and the need for a new arts venue in the city.  But, big concerns were also brought to the table. Some taxpayers say they worry about liability and operational shortfalls. Others feel a chunk of the city's history is on the chopping block.

"Under no condition should the city council pledge or give money to the Confluence Project," said one Eau Claire resident.  "If you're in favor of the project where is your pride in preserving the history and heritage of Eau Claire? Past councils have done too much damage to the city in giving their OK to tearing down historical buildings."

"Right now there is no appropriate place for my band to play in this town," said Bon Iver front man, Justin Vernon.  "And we tried, we played Zorn... it was just no good. I think this is a tremendous opportunity for the council to lead. I think that Eau Claire is very special and I think it's the time to act and time to take a risk."

The council also discussed a possible referendum on the Confluence Project. Monday's public hearing wrapped up just after 11 p.m.

 

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