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EC City Council Roundup: Underground parking, new eye clinic and more approved

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Here is a recap of what happened at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Underground Parking

The Eau Claire City Council has voted to amend a downtown TIF district to bring underground parking to the Block 7 area.

The change opens up $3 million for construction. 

According to the proposal, the city's desire to create a denser urban development makes the underground parking plan necessary. 

City officials say the plan will make the area more attractive to potential developers.

Now that the city council is on board, the joint review board made up of representatives from city and county governments, as well as public and technical college representatives will take up the measure at its February 5 meeting. 

Affordable Housing Commission

The council also approved establishing a new commission focused on developing more affordable housing in Eau Claire.

Data shows there's a need. The United Way's ALICE Report showed 42 percent of families in Eau Claire County are struggling to fund their day-to-day expenses.

The 11-member housing opportunity commission will be made up of a number of stakeholders - including people with backgrounds in social services and property management.  The commission will work on policy centered around affordable housing and expanding housing diversity and provide advice to the council. 

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic

Also approved was a plan to rebuild and expand the eye clinic destroyed in a fire.

The blaze caused nearly $4.5 million in damage and the site was demolished last Thursday.. Prior to the fire, the Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic had filed a request to expand the business on Damon Street.

With the city council on board, the clinic is free to begin rebuilding.

While they wait to rebuild the eye clinic is operating out of a temporary location on Oakridge Drive.

Little Red School

Also getting approval for an overhaul is the former Little Red school. Plumbers and Steamfitters Union 434 bought the old schoolhouse and 12 surrounding acres from the school district.

Tuesday, the council approved a plan to allow them to establish their training center at the facility. Among the projects ahead - construction of a welding lab, rigging structure and classroom areas.

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