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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

BROWNFIELDS GRANT PROGRAM

Grants to local governments, businesses, nonprofits and individuals for developing commercial and industrial sites that have been adversely affected by environmental contamination.

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BROWNFIELDS SITE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM

Grant funds for approved projects to assist local governments with conducting initial environmental assessment and demolition activities on an eligible abandoned, idle or underutilized industrial or commercial site.

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CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS

Grants to assist local and regional economic development groups to create an advanced economic development network within the state.

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT GRANT PROGRAM

Financial support for shovel-ready projects, with emphasis on downtown community efforts that deliver measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values, and/or leveraged investment by local and private partners.

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CONNECT COMMUNITIES

Resources, technical assistance and networking to support communities’ efforts to revitalize downtown districts.

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HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT

State income tax credit for 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures for eligible buildings.

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IDLE SITES REDEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Program for Wisconsin communities to support redevelopment plans for large sites that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for at least five years.

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MINORITY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Includes revolving loan funds offered through minority business associations and an annual conference that is the state’s premier event for minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses.

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WISCONSIN MAIN STREET PROGRAM

Program recognizes a commitment to preserving and revitalizing historic downtowns, and supporting these efforts with technical support, training and networking opportunities.

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WEDC SUCCESS STORIES

Royster-Clark, Madison

WEDC provided $534,000 toward the redevelopment of the 27-acre Royster-Clark site. The site was developed by Ruedebusch Development in partnership with Stonehouse Development, with new development including apartments aimed at low-income and disabled residents, commercial development and the construction of a library. Veridian Homes is also looking at developing 57 lots of single-family housing as a second phase of the project. Read More

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Clock Tower and Masonic Temple, Omro

WEDC contributed $13,000 toward the $100,000 project to restore two iconic properties in downtown Omro: the Clock Tower and Masonic Temple. The project has created space for a historical museum and visitor center for the community, which is working to expand tourism efforts associated with Fox River traffic. Read More

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Sheboygan Falls

The Sheboygan Falls Main Street Program began in December 1988, when it was named one of the first five pilot Main Street programs in the state of Wisconsin. At this time, only three buildings in downtown Sheboygan Falls had been renovated, and many stood vacant. However, the actual push for downtown revitalization had begun nearly 15 years earlier, when a few passionate individuals formed a Sheboygan Falls historic preservation group out of the Sheboygan County Landmarks Association. Two separate historic districts were created as a result of this effort. The community effort to launch the program resulted in significant private sector investment, as local property improvements totaled more than $3.6 million in the program’s fifth year after steady year-over-year improvements. Early successes included the Brickner Woolen Mill Apartments, which was a successful $3.3 million adaptive reuse project to create affordable housing units along the river downtown. Projects like this, along with many individual business examples, paved the way for the Brickner Square project and 1878 Broadway redevelopment, which both resulted from local investors pooling funds to purchase and restore long-vacant properties. Bemis Manufacturing was an early investor, leading by example through renovations of a downtown showroom facility, but also providing $15,000 in seed funding toward a revolving loan pool for other downtown property owners. Early activities also set the stage for community-oriented and family-friendly events such as the Ducktona 500, which has grown to attract 8,000 annual attendees. Today, Sheboygan Falls is one of Wisconsin’s successful Chamber-Main Street organizations, a model made possible when the larger business community recognizes that the health of the downtown center is a reflection of overall economic opportunity. Sheboygan Falls has won more than 40 statewide Main Street awards in virtually every category offered. The program is especially recognized for its well-preserved historic architecture and successful community-wide partnerships designed to engage the City, business community, civic organizations and residents to preserve and promote a strong and vibrant local community while retaining its quintessential small-town charm. Read More

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La Crosse

Created by a public-private partnership in 1990, Downtown Mainstreet Inc. of La Crosse spearheaded the creation of the city’s first comprehensive master plan for its downtown in order to address perceived economic deterioration of the city’s historic district. Today, La Crosse is one of the largest National Register Commercial Historic Districts in Wisconsin, containing 96 contributing buildings. Early preservation efforts led to the completion of a $2.9 million river levee project to protect downtown from Mississippi River flooding. In addition to serving a critical purpose, the project features a riverwalk, recreational boat docking facility, wayfinding signage and downtown streetscaping initiatives. In its first 12 years as a program, downtown gained 170 new residential units. More than 100 building and storefront façade restorations have been undertaken, resulting in an increase of $40 million in assessed property values. With the recruitment of major high-tech corporations such as Firstlogic and CenturyTel’s Midwest regional headquarters, employment is now at an all-time high, even surpassing employment at the height of the prosperous retail years. Today, downtown La Crosse is known for its arts scene (including a strong public art program and state-of-the-art Weber Center for the Performing Arts), as well as a commitment to downtown residential development (the Tour of Upper Living regularly sells out). Last year the downtown welcomed $12 million in private investment. This pales in comparison to the $191 million in projects currently under way, which are expected to add nearly 400 new hotel rooms, 246 residential units, and 145,000 new square feet of commercial space and generate more than $22 million in additional consumer activity. Read More

Read Story

WEDC provided $534,000 toward the redevelopment of the 27-acre Royster-Clark site. The site was developed by Ruedebusch Development in partnership with Stonehouse Development, with new development including apartments aimed at low-income and disabled residents, commercial development and the construction of a library. Veridian Homes is also looking at developing 57 lots of single-family housing as a second phase of the project. Read More

Read Story

WEDC contributed $13,000 toward the $100,000 project to restore two iconic properties in downtown Omro: the Clock Tower and Masonic Temple. The project has created space for a historical museum and visitor center for the community, which is working to expand tourism efforts associated with Fox River traffic. Read More

Read Story

The Sheboygan Falls Main Street Program began in December 1988, when it was named one of the first five pilot Main Street programs in the state of Wisconsin. At this time, only three buildings in downtown Sheboygan Falls had been renovated, and many stood vacant. However, the actual push for downtown revitalization had begun nearly 15 years earlier, when a few passionate individuals formed a Sheboygan Falls historic preservation group out of the Sheboygan County Landmarks Association. Two separate historic districts were created as a result of this effort. The community effort to launch the program resulted in significant private sector investment, as local property improvements totaled more than $3.6 million in the program’s fifth year after steady year-over-year improvements. Early successes included the Brickner Woolen Mill Apartments, which was a successful $3.3 million adaptive reuse project to create affordable housing units along the river downtown. Projects like this, along with many individual business examples, paved the way for the Brickner Square project and 1878 Broadway redevelopment, which both resulted from local investors pooling funds to purchase and restore long-vacant properties. Bemis Manufacturing was an early investor, leading by example through renovations of a downtown showroom facility, but also providing $15,000 in seed funding toward a revolving loan pool for other downtown property owners. Early activities also set the stage for community-oriented and family-friendly events such as the Ducktona 500, which has grown to attract 8,000 annual attendees. Today, Sheboygan Falls is one of Wisconsin’s successful Chamber-Main Street organizations, a model made possible when the larger business community recognizes that the health of the downtown center is a reflection of overall economic opportunity. Sheboygan Falls has won more than 40 statewide Main Street awards in virtually every category offered. The program is especially recognized for its well-preserved historic architecture and successful community-wide partnerships designed to engage the City, business community, civic organizations and residents to preserve and promote a strong and vibrant local community while retaining its quintessential small-town charm. Read More

Read Story

Created by a public-private partnership in 1990, Downtown Mainstreet Inc. of La Crosse spearheaded the creation of the city’s first comprehensive master plan for its downtown in order to address perceived economic deterioration of the city’s historic district. Today, La Crosse is one of the largest National Register Commercial Historic Districts in Wisconsin, containing 96 contributing buildings. Early preservation efforts led to the completion of a $2.9 million river levee project to protect downtown from Mississippi River flooding. In addition to serving a critical purpose, the project features a riverwalk, recreational boat docking facility, wayfinding signage and downtown streetscaping initiatives. In its first 12 years as a program, downtown gained 170 new residential units. More than 100 building and storefront façade restorations have been undertaken, resulting in an increase of $40 million in assessed property values. With the recruitment of major high-tech corporations such as Firstlogic and CenturyTel’s Midwest regional headquarters, employment is now at an all-time high, even surpassing employment at the height of the prosperous retail years. Today, downtown La Crosse is known for its arts scene (including a strong public art program and state-of-the-art Weber Center for the Performing Arts), as well as a commitment to downtown residential development (the Tour of Upper Living regularly sells out). Last year the downtown welcomed $12 million in private investment. This pales in comparison to the $191 million in projects currently under way, which are expected to add nearly 400 new hotel rooms, 246 residential units, and 145,000 new square feet of commercial space and generate more than $22 million in additional consumer activity. Read More

Read Story
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GRANTS AWARDED
$
MILLION IN TOTAL AWARDS
$
LEVERAGED FOR EVERY $1 WEDC INVESTED

Source: WEDC FY19 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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“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