February 19, 2022
City officials discuss highlights from 2021 and goals for 2022
The Chamber’s February 18th edition of Eggs & Issues featured Eau Claire City Council President Terry Weld and Interim City Manager Dave Solberg and their discussion on the State of the City. Topics of interest included ongoing commitments towards equity and inclusion in all aspects, ongoing and proposed redevelopment projects, and their goals for 2022.
Equity and Inclusion
Solberg starts with the city's continued commitment towards equity, diversity and inclusion. These efforts have included the addition of an EDI coordinator to the city staff, along with the addition of a mental health co-response coordinator for the Eau Claire Police Department staff.
Solberg also mentions how the city has committed to making affordable housing accessible through the use of the Affordable Housing Fund. These funds will “assist with the rising cost of housing, low housing inventories, and inflation.” Further, Weld added that agreements were made for the “largest residential development to date” located in the Cannery District. Weld noted that 20% of the expected 250 units to be affordable to those making 80% less CMI and 10 units being available to those making 60% of CMI.
The city has worked towards making transit more accessible and equitable. Funding has been used to purchase electric buses which are better for the environment, as well as the continued construction of the new Transit Center in Downtown Eau Claire. Weld also noted that the city has implemented a new fare collection system, which increased payment accessibility.
Community and Economic Development
Weld stated that 2021 was the second highest year for new developments in the city. The evaluations for these new developments totaled about $277 million. 2021 also saw the opening of Hy-Vee, which was projected to bring in over 600 jobs for the community. Other community and economic developments including business expansions were completed in both Gateway and Sky Parks, beginning developments in the Cannery District, and the expansion of the LE Phillips Memorial Public Library in Downtown Eau Claire.
Parks and Recreation
Weld noted that the city has been working to make parks more accessible for everybody. Along with updating parks with extensive ADA improvements, he mentioned that the city has worked with multiple groups to create an additional skate park in the city and create outdoor skating rinks in neighborhoods that lacked these amenities. Solberg continued to add that there were about 5,500 new registrants for recreational activities in 2021, and attendance records were set in the first few weeks the pool was open.
The City of Eau Claire will be celebrating its 150th birthday in 2022. Weld and Solberg noted that events will be held throughout the next coming months with help from Visit Eau Claire and Volume One.
Goals for 2022
Weld and Solberg shared many of the goals the city has for the upcoming year which include the reengagement of the Shared Services Committee. The city is also working to decide how to effectively and sustainably help businesses and communities with the use of ARPA funds. They continued to emphasize the importance of affordable housing and collaboration with the county and Altoona to conduct a Regional Housing Study. Other goals included COVID-19 policies and public health programs, discussion of a referendum to meet the community's needs, assistance with the landfill expansion, expansion of the city’s well fields, implementation of the city’s EDI strategic plan, and continued engagement with the community.
Redevelopment in Downtown Eau Claire (City of Eau Claire)
Eau Claire's 150th Birthday | The Sesquicentennial (Visit Eau Claire)
Apartments for 55 and older proposed in Cannery District (Leader Telegram $)
Posted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern