Gov. Walker issues statement supporting Confluence Project - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gov. Walker issues statement supporting Confluence Project

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A big name backs a major project proposed for downtown Eau Claire.

In April, voters showed support for Eau Claire’s Confluence Project by approving a county referendum and rejecting a city charter ordinance. Earlier Monday, Governor Scott Walker publicly backed the plan.

"With this project you've got a great partnership with the private sector, the public sector coming together. So I'm here today to tell you that I support going forward with this project," said Gov. Scott Walker.

Some are calling it a big boost for downtown Eau Claire. The proposed confluence project, an $80 million development, can now boast a new supporter. Governor Walker made the announcement at the chamber of commerce luncheon Monday.

"Well the project is really dependent on state funding, so having the Governor say his support for the project is just critical to make this project continue to move forward," said Russ Van Gompel, Eau Claire City Manager.

Thomas Metcalfe has been in business in downtown Eau Claire for twenty five years. He says he and others along South Barstow have been hoping for this type of announcement.

"We've got to move into the next century here in Eau Claire. There are so many cities around the state that have nice venues. Appleton has a nice venue; La Crosse has a nice venue. Even smaller cities than Eau Claire have nice venues. And I think it would really enhance the look of downtown Eau Claire," said Thomas Metcalfe, Clancy’s Owner.

Project developers are seeking $25 million from the state for the arts center. UW-Eau Claire's request for capital funding will go before the board of regents in August.

"We wanted to send a bit of a green light up there for the developers and construction and others who want to get moving on this. We think that's an important project not just for Eau Claire and not just for UW-Eau Claire, but for this entire region," Walker added.

The board of regents meeting will be hosted by UW-Oshkosh. In the meantime supporters of the confluence are continuing to raising money. At last check, they had about $10 million left to meet a philanthropy goal. Some buildings along South Barstow are set to be demolished to make way for the project.

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Governor Walker voiced his support for the Confluence Project Monday afternoon during a visit to Eau Claire.

"We wanted to send a bit of a green light up there for the developers and construction and others who want to get moving on this," said Governor Walker, talking about the Confluence Project. "And get the other fundraising and components there to say that we want to be a player in that going forward. We think that's an important project not just for Eau Claire and not just for UW-Eau Claire, but for this entire region."

Aarik Woods will have more on the governor's visit to Eau Claire tonight on WQOW News 18.

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