Eau Claire (WQOW) - News 18 got a first look at what Eau Claire's new $23 million bus transfer center could look like.
This rendering was included in the Transit Division's submission for a $6.25 million federal grant Monday.
As we've previously reported, the money would be used to help build a new seven-story bus transfer center, as well as the purchase of four new buses. The city reported that much of the remaining $16 million needed for the project would be covered by a private-public partnership.
The project would include the transfer center, underground and above-level parking, as well as four-levels of housing and commercial space. If the grant is approved, the city estimates that construction would begin in 2019.
Eau Claire Transit Manager Tom Wagener told News 18 he has his fingers crossed, but only roughly six percent of applicants receive the grant. He said the US DOT should be done reviewing all of the applications, in four to five months.
Posted: Oct. 6, 2017
Eau Claire (WQOW) -- The Eau Claire City Council gave the green light for the city to apply for a $6.25 million federal grant.
The money would be used to help build a new seven-story bus transfer center, as well as the purchase of four new buses. The city reported that much of the remaining $16 million needed for the project would be covered by a private-public partnership.
The project would include the transfer center, underground and above-level parking, as well as housing. If the grant is approved, the city estimates that construction would begin in 2019.
Posted: Oct. 6, 2017
Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Out with the old and in with the new, sort of. Eau Claire city officials have a multi-million dollar plan for a brand new bus transfer center, but they're not totally starting from scratch.
Instead of building a new bus transfer center in downtown Eau Claire, city officials are hoping to renovate the current site. And they've come up with a $23 million plan on how to improve the space.
"If we revitalize the existing site, we can add all the features that were requested as part of the transit center study on the current site, and the location that we feel is one of the best locations in town," city manager Dave Solberg told News 18. "It's more central to downtown. It's on the right side of Farwell Street, as far as crossing it, it's one less busy street to cross."
Solberg said the proposed renovations will bring more public parking downtown, with an underground lot below the new transfer station and two levels of parking above it. And above that, there would be four levels of housing and commercial space.
Officials said the transfer center was originally built as a temporary site in the 1980's. Now, 34 years later, it would get a much-needed upgrade, bringing the bathrooms indoors, adding as employee lounge and making sure the building is finally ADA accessible.
"The current site was built before the Americans with Disabilities Act and so that wasn't taken into consideration at that time," Tom Wagener, Eau Claire's transit manager, said. "So now this new site will make it accessible to everyone at all the locations, everywhere."
Wagener said the city is in desperate need of a new facility and a few new buses.
"We have a fleet now that is aging," he said. "Fourteen of the 22 buses in our fleet are beyond their useful life, in miles and in years."
The finished project is expected to cost about $23.53 million dollars, but about $17 million, for the housing and upper-lever parking, would be covered by a public-private partnership. Eau Claire officials hope a $5 million federal grant will pay for most of the underground parking, transfer center and four new buses.
Meaning the city would only have to cover a fraction of the cost.
"If we can take $1.25 million worth of city funds and end up with a $20-plus million development in downtown that satisfies all of the needs that we're trying to accommodate, we think it's a win win all the way around," Solberg said.
The clock is ticking of the federal grant money, though. Applications for the $5 million are due on October 16th. The Eau Claire City Council will vote on whether or not to apply for the grant on Tuesday.
City officials told News 18 if everything goes as planned, and they get the federal grant money, work on the new transfer station could begin as soon as 2019 and be done by early 2020.
They said if they don't get the grant, they'll be disappointed and the project will have to be significantly scaled back to fit their budget.