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Certified In Wisconsin Program now open for new applications

May 8, 2024
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Image of people with shovels at ground breaking ceremony.

The Certified In Wisconsin Program—which designates commercial development sites as being shovel-ready, making them attractive to developers and valuable to communities—will accept new applications through May 31, 2024.

“The program provides assurance for site selectors, expanding companies, and other attraction prospects that these properties and their communities are ready for new development,” says WEDC Business Attraction Manager Sarah Bownds. “It provides the key reviews, documents, and assessments that offer certainty to developers.”

WEDC’s program, offered in partnership with the Site Selection Group (SSG), partially subsidizes the cost to communities of obtaining site certification. The program’s goals including gauging the potential for corporate investment at the site, making recommendations for the community to consider, and gathering detailed site information to effectively market the property.

For site selectors and developers, Certified Site designation is a pre-qualification, indicating that a property’s title is clear, that it possesses sufficient utilities and other infrastructure for industrial use, that it is properly zoned, and that it has adequate transportation access for industrial use, among other criteria. The certification makes sites more attractive to developers by removing many of the ambiguities, pitfalls, and delays that can crop up during the siting and planning process.

The application process kicks off a with an informational webinar on May 15 at 11 a.m.

WEDC and SSG are seeking a diverse pool of applicants with respect to regions statewide, including both rural and urban sites, as well as sites located within established industrial parks and those that are not.

To be eligible for the program, a site must consist of a minimum of 20 contiguous, developable acres that are available for sale or lease to prospective industrial buyers. Both privately and publicly owned properties are eligible.

Preparing a site to attract commercial development can take more than a year, says Bownds: “Planning for economic growth includes preparing parcels to attract new or expanding businesses, and the Certified In Wisconsin Program provides powerful insights and experiences to local teams. We encourage all communities with promising sites to learn more about the program’s value.”

Applicants must submit a letter of interest with supporting documents, including a parcel map, by May 31. Successful applicants will be notified on June 7 with an invitation to proceed; they will have until July 10 to submit their response to a subsequent request for further information. Site visits will begin during the weeks of July 29 or Aug. 5.

For more information about the program or the application process, contact Sarah Bownds at or 608.210.6769.

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