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Community 2018-02-08T18:43:49+00:00

PEOPLE BUILDING PLACES

Thriving communities fuel creativity and ambition. In Wisconsin, we invest in our communities to help both people and businesses grow, develop and contribute to our state’s economic vitality. From our industrial city centers to the tree-lined streets of our town squares, WEDC’s comprehensive community development programs and funding initiatives empower local officials to develop sustainable economic development strategies that increase prosperity while redevelopment programs provide financial assistance for activities that revitalize commercial districts. By providing community and business leaders access to this knowledge and support, we’ve helped them create stronger community cornerstones and build vibrant economic epicenters throughout Wisconsin.

WEDC PROGRAMS

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WEDC SUCCESS STORIES

WEDC contributed $2,400 toward the $25,000 planning effort to preserve and find a viable use for the only known Frank Lloyd Wright-designed warehouse structure. Since the plan, a group of citizens has formed a nonprofit to purchase the building and is raising funds to refurbish it. The building is now open for public tours and to host events, and has a first floor gift shop.

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Since joining Connect Communities in the program’s inaugural year in 2013, this village of 1,500 has made significant strides to reverse a rise in vacancies that followed the decline of the pottery craze that had sparked a retail and property boom in the 1990s. In the past three years, the community has welcomed 21 new businesses and $1.8 million in private investment in the downtown area. Activity has included the conversion of a shuttered candy factory into a riverfront senior living complex, expansion of the library and community center (complete with a wifi plaza), and many new programs and events such as a community branding initiative, pop-up art markets, a girls’ night out series and entrepreneur meet-ups. In additional, the community has created a building improvement program to help renovate front- and rear-facing facades to make empty spaces appealing to new businesses.

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The Broadway District sits on the west bank of the Fox River in Green Bay. As a riverfront location, the area has long been a center of commerce, whether for the fur trade, lumber, paper or, today, as a hive for small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, this transition was not without difficulty, as the 1980s saw the district become a high-crime area defined by disrepair and vacancy. In 1995, a group of persistent local merchants, neighbors and community leaders launched a Main Street organization to reclaim the street. Some early triumphs included a new streetscape, a partnership with local police, and creation of a supportive small business and live-work environment. As of 2009, the district had already achieved success, with the renovation of 91 properties and development of four new infill projects. Progress has continued since that time, with the addition of new residential opportunities and further reduction in storefront vacancies. The most notable change is the conversion of a former train depot and later an adjacent vegetable processing facility into the Titletown Brewery, restaurant, tap room and event center. Over its entire tenure, the district has had a net gain of 171 new businesses that employ more than 1,600 individuals, and has attracted just shy of $69 million in private investment to improve 167 buildings. With 45 statewide awards, the district is the ‘winningest’ community in the state, and is well-known for innovative adaptive reuse projects and regionally significant marketing and event initiatives that bring thousands to shop, dine and stroll during annual events such as the Winter Wine Walk and Wednesday and Saturday farmers’ markets.

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WEDC contributed $336,815 toward a $17 million project to clean and redevelop a 4.6-acre site in Grafton. A former lumberyard, printing company and auto repair site had resulted in various types of contamination including PAH, PCB, arsenic and PCE, requiring a mix of disposal and capping. The village worked for a decade to assemble the 13 properties and address remediation needs for the entire corridor. Following cleanup and an RFP, the village transferred property to a developer for 72 apartments and 10,000 square feet of commercial space. Anticipated future phases include additional retail, office and market-rate residential.

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INDIVIDUALS ATTENDED WEDC COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TRAINING
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VOLUNTEER HOURS BY WEDC COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PARTICIPANTS
$0
BUILDING FACADE RENDERINGS COMPLETED FREE-OF-CHARGE
0
BUILDINGS IMPROVED IN MAIN STREET AND CONNECT COMMUNITIES
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PEOPLE ATTENDED 617 EVENTS HOSTED BY MAIN STREET AND CONNECT COMMUNITIES
Source: WEDC FY17 Annual Report on Economic Development

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Information, tools, programs and partners fuel growth and new market opportunities.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Our passion is supporting yours—through funding solutions, workspaces, mentoring and more.

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Revitalizing commercial districts and preserving our state’s history enriches public spaces and helps encourage business activity.

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INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT

Public-private partnerships investing in “Centers of Excellence” that drive research, startups and business attraction to advance Wisconsin’s competitive advantage.

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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Experts here and abroad that help Wisconsin companies navigate exporting logistics to successfully expand their global reach.

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WEDC NEWS

What’s happening in Wisconsin? A lot. Check out the latest.

Cultivating a business-friendly community

February 19, 2018|0 Comments

What does it mean to be business-friendly? If your community believes that it has a culture of saying yes to small businesses, what has been done to verify and credibly promote this culture? Read on to see how you can test this in your community. Read More

International Mold and Production relocating operations from Illinois to Wisconsin

February 16, 2018|0 Comments

International Mold and Production (IMAP), a leading supplier of custom plastic injection molds and parts, is relocating its operations from Illinois to Kenosha, and plans to create 25 jobs at its new headquarters. Read More

19 Milwaukee-area companies plan to create nearly 15,000 jobs

February 15, 2018|0 Comments

Nineteen companies in the seven-county metropolitan Milwaukee area are expected to create nearly 15,000 jobs after signing agreements with WEDC in 2017 to expand their operations or build new facilities in the region. Read More

“This is one of the best new programs (Certified Sites) that the state has started through WEDC. This is a big step for the step to help the Village of Howard move forward with its economic development strategy.”

PAUL EVERETT • VILLAGE ADMINISTRATOR, VILLAGE OF HOWARD

“Because of the funding from WEDC through the CDI Grant, this grocery store and hardware store will help attract and retain homeowners and businesses, bring jobs, and spur further economic development projects that will revitalize this area.”

KELLY KLEIN • COORDINATOR, IRON COUNTY DEVELOPMENT ZONE

“On behalf of the City of La Crosse, we are very excited and honored by the recognition from WEDC for our local Main Street program,” said Mayor Tim Kabat. “Downtown Mainstreet Inc., its members and our community partners have helped to create a downtown that we are all proud of and we look forward to collaborating with WEDC and the state of Wisconsin to raise historic downtown La Crosse to new heights.”

TIM KABAT • MAYOR, CITY OF LACROSSE