City Funded Economic Development Hindered
Written By: The ECJ Staff | Posted: Friday, November 4th, 2011
Since the closing of the Uniroyal tire plant in the eighties, the City of Eau Claire has used taxpayer's money in an attempt to spur economic growth in the region. One such example is the Gateway Industrial Park Corporation. Gateway Park was started by the City and Xcel Energy and loaned $880,000 from each. Its goal was to purchase and develop property with the hopes of selling the land to potential commercial and industrial companies in order to encourage growth and also to pay back what Xcel Energy and the taxpayers of Eau Claire loaned them.
The final payment of $550,000 was due this year but due to Gateway Park purchasing more land than was originally planned and a failure to sell enough properties and make enough revenue, a five year extension was granted by the City Council last month. According to Mike Schatz, Eau Claire's Economic Development Administrator, "the Gateway Park is only partially developed, there are still many acres that could be developed when the economy does pick up. There just hasn't been as many expansions."
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