Eau Claire had just a six percent chance, but was able to beat the odds in receiving a $5 million federal grant for a new bus transfer center in Eau Claire.
"This makes the replacement of our 32 year bus transfer center a reality," said Eau Claire City Manager Dale Peters.
The federal grant is a match grant, meaning the city will need to contribute $1.25 million. The city said much of the remaining cost for the roughly $23 million project would be covered by a public-private partnership.
The grant money will help build a new 7-story complex at the site of the current bus transfer center, as well as provide funds for four new city buses. The project would include the transfer center, underground and above-level parking, as well as four-levels of housing and commercial space.
Peters told News 18 that without the grant, the city would have been forced to go back to the drawing board.
"Without the grant, we would not have been able to proceed as we had hoped and planned -- and would have had to look at alternate ways to replace and upgrade the bus transfer center," said Peters.
Peters said now that the city has been awarded the grant, their focus will now shift to finishing the site plan. If all goes well, construction would begin in 2019.
Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Eau Claire's city bus system was the big winner Wednesday, after the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the city a $5 million grant.
The money will help pay for a new $23 million transit center and multi-purpose building in downtown Eau Claire.
As News 18 reported last fall, the city is looking to work with a private industry partner to build the seven-story building. It would include two levels of parking, plus apartments or condos on the upper floors. It will be built at the site of the current transfer station.
"Our booming downtown and growing city looks forward to the addition of a new transfer center in downtown," said city manager Dale Peters. "The city is very excited to receive this grant, which will allow us to improve the public transportation system for those who rely on the service in Eau Claire."
Representative Ron Kind (D-WI-03), who announced the grant Wednesday, said: "Eau Claire's busy and constantly expanding downtown is a magnet for small businesses, tourism and outdoor recreation."
So far, there is no word on where the additional money will come from or when construction might begin.