Eggs & Issues: Eau Claire's Re-emergence - Economic Development, Tourism, and the Arts
June 25 Eggs & Issues at the Pablo Center for the Confluence, RCU Theatre Stage
The Chamber's first in-person Eggs & Issues breakfast since early last year featured a wide-ranging discussion of the status of the area's economic resurgence following the pandemic.
Hosted on the stage of the Pablo Center's RCU Theatre, Chamber Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Jennifer McHugh of Royal Credit Union, and Governmental Affairs Vice President Scott Rogers, moderated a discussion with Aaron White, City of Eau Claire Economic Development Director; Benny Anderson, Visit Eau Claire Executive Director; and Jason Jon Anderson, Pablo Center at the Confluence Executive Director. More than 70 business and community leaders attended the Friday, June 25, breakfast, catered by Chamber investor company KP Katering.
White referred to the significant number of construction projects underway or planned in the area, especially housing, representing pent-up demand as business recovers from the pandemic and economic activity picks up. He did note that challenges in finding sufficient workforce and increases in the cost of construction materials are threatening to slow activity form what it otherwise might be. White also direct the city's Redevelopment Authority and Downtown Eau Claire, Inc.
Benny Anderson said the area benefitted from its strong line up of outdoor activities, with local tourism recovering more quickly than expected. After room tax revenue dropped by 83% in the spring of 2020, local officials projected a spring this year down 30% from 2019, but has seen stronger activity and is nearing 2019 levels. He noted that a recently-released video about Eau Claire by YouTube vloggers The Excellent Adventure has generated hundreds of positive comments and tens of thousands of views.
Jason Anderson spoke about the situation of performing arts venues being the first to close and last to open threatening their very survival. The Pablo Center took a leadership role in creating state and national independent venue organizations who worked with state and federal political leaders to successfully secure financial assistance. The Pablo Center has now announced its new season, kicking off with membership opportunities now available, ticket sales beginning later in July, and a public open house on its reopening day on September 12. Looking ahead, Anderson looks forward to the creative economy getting back on track to the $12 in economic activity generated by every $1 of ticket sales that studies show, and to plans that are being finalized to launch the Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival in the summer of 2022.
Related news coverage:
Officials: Chippewa Valley poised for economic comeback (Leader-Telegram $)
Across Altoona, many housing projects underway this summer (WEAU 13 News)
YouTube channel The Endless Adventure spotlights art, food, and culture of EC, garners thousands of views (Volume One)
Re-Imagine, Re-Emerge: Pablo Center Announces Season Lineup (Volume One)
Gov. Evers Announces More Than $140 Million for Wisconsin's Tourism and Entertainment Industries (Office of the Governor)
Evers announces $140 million in tourism and entertainment funding (WQOW News 18)
City of Eau Claire Economic Development (City of Eau Claire)
Eau Claire County Economic Development Corp.
City of Altoona
Downtown Eau Claire Inc (DECI)
Visit Eau Claire
Pablo Center at the Confluence
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Posted by Scott Rogers, Vice President Governmental Affairs
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Eau Claire Chamber Partners with Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire to Host Free Wellness Event: Walkabout Eau Claire
Eau Claire, WI: The Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce and Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire is excited to announce the introduction of a new event called “Walkabout Eau Claire.” This event is an extension of the Annual Wellness Walk but with a competitive twist. Every Wednesday, beginning June 30 and ending September 1, participants will have the opportunity to walk a weekly path designed to be quick, fun, and accessible. These suggested walking paths give participants an opportunity to reconnect with their community and hit those summer fitness goals.
There will be two competitions held over the course of the ten weeks, a business competition and an individual competition:
Business Competition: Gather your co-workers and get walking! Members of your business can form a team to compete for a company prize. Each team member will register individually, and there will be a spot to indicate what business you are participating with. For each Walkabout Wednesday path team members walk, your team will earn ten extra points. The winning business will receive a certificate to Eau Claire Cheese and Deli for $500 to go towards a company lunch.
Individual Competition: Register on the Chamber site to receive your tracking sheet to begin tracking your walks! Once you are registered, you will receive an email confirmation containing a tracking sheet. To be eligible for the grand prize drawing, you must have a minimum of 750 points (one minute = one point) recorded. Each weekly Wednesday suggested path you do will earn you ONE EXTRA ENTRY IN THE DRAWING FOR THE GRAND PRIZE.
Prevail Bank Charitable Contributions Provided to Hmong American Leadership and Economic Development
Prevail Bank has recently donated $5,000 to the Hmong American Leadership and Economic Development (HALED) of Eau Claire to boost economic and social opportunities for the Hmong community and other underserved groups in rural Western Wisconsin. With this donation, Prevail Bank is helping to fund different Financial Literacy Seminars in 2021, offering information, interaction and workshops for local entrepreneurs, helping to stimulate our local communities and businesses.
Mai Xiong, Hmong American Leadership and Economic Development President and CEO, states, "These funds will support HALED to provide a series of Culturally Competent Entrepreneur support content to Emerging Entrepreneurs, Existing Business Owners and Farmers. Your generosity will help us reach us our goal of serving over 200 individuals and more throughout the Western Wisconsin Region in 2021.”
Prevail Bank Assists the Community Table in Purchase of New Appliances to Better Serve Community
Prevail Bank has donated $8,520 to The Community Table of Eau Claire to help ensure essential appliances are provided, as part of their Charitable Contributions program. With this donation, Prevail Bank is helping The Community Table purchase a new dishwasher, allowing the organization to continue to provide essential meals to those in need in the Eau Claire region.
TJ Atkins, The Community Table Executive Director, states, "We are incredibly pleased to have started a new partnership with Prevail and their gift of a new dishwasher. This will allow us to continue to serve 30,000+ meals a year to community members in need. In addition, it will help us be more efficient with water and dish soap. We look forward to continuing to work with Prevail to support our community neighbors.”
HSHS hospitals now allow for patients to safely receive more visitors; cafeterias also open to visitors
Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis. – As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across the country have had to restrict or limit visitors to curb the spread of the virus and protect patients and staff. Thanks to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and those who have made the choice to become vaccinated, the pandemic is showing signs of significant decline which now allows our patients to safely receive more visitors.
“We understand how important it is for our patients and their loved ones to be able to connect, and we thank everyone for their understanding during what has been a very challenging time for all,” said Andrew Bagnall, President and CEO of HSHS Wisconsin. “As we move forward in allowing for more visitors, we continue to take every step possible to keep our patients and colleagues safe as COVID-19 still exists in our communities and continue to encourage all eligible to become vaccinated for COVID-19.”
The updated visitor policies, listed below, are now in effect at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls:
Our hospitals are also pleased to now welcome visitors back into our cafeterias, though physical distancing in those areas are still encouraged.
All visitors continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure upon arrival to our hospitals, are required to wear a facemask that covers the nose and mouth and are required to use hand sanitizer regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
“We have a very important job to do in protecting our vulnerable patients and keeping our medical providers as healthy as possible,” said Bagnall. “We thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”
For additional information about these updated visitor policies, please visit our hospital websites at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital and HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital.
Eau Claire Farm Technology Days Sets Guidelines for Grant Distributions of Proceeds
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.