Governor Walker: I Support the Confluence Project
During a June 23 visit to Eau Claire, Gov. Scott Walker made his most definitive comments yet in support of the Confluence Project. “You’ve got a great partnership with the private sector and the public sector coming together, so I’m here today to tell you I support going forward with this project,” Walker said at a luncheon hosted by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, WAYY-AM reported on its website. The Leader-Telegram reported that Walker told the crowd of 230 that “We want to be a player in that going forward,” while WQOW-TV quoted Walker as saying, “We think that’s an important project not just for Eau Claire and not just for UW-Eau Claire, but for this entire region.”
In the past, Walker has expressed interest in the partnership model seen in the proposed downtown Eau Claire, saying at a press event on June 5, 2013, “We’re very interested in it. What I like about this particular project in Eau Claire is it’s leveraging public and private dollars.” Walker’s latest statements were immediately hailed on social media by several Chippewa Valley leaders and institutions, including UWEC Chancellor James Schmidt, Eau Claire City Councilwoman Catherine Emmanuelle, and Downtown Eau Claire Inc.
The Confluence Project, a collaborative effort among UWEC, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, and Commonweal Development, would include a roughly $50 million shared performing arts center and a privately funded $20 million-plus complex including student housing and commercial space. The UW System Board of Regents will consider its $25 million share of the project in August; after that, the funding still must make it through the state budget process next year.