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Community 2018-04-25T14:09:32+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

Beloit, another of Wisconsin’s inaugural Main Street communities, has sustained commitment to downtown progress for more than two and a half decades. A former factory town blessed with the presence of a river and downtown campus (Beloit College), Beloit has channeled the passion of its residents into a successfully reimagined community on the riverfront. As with all Great American Main Street Award winners, Downtown Beloit has established strong local partnerships. Housed together with the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation, Visit Beloit and the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, the organization has generated regional support for its numerous public art initiatives and innovative incentive strategies, which, in turn have resulted in quality renovations and numerous small business success stories. Moving from 19 percent vacancy in 1988 to 7 percent in 2011, and then to a waiting list of prospective businesses in 2015, Beloit is a downtown success story by any measure. Community pride led directly to the successful community-initiated development project, which created the Beloit Inn, a luxury downtown hotel project. Other community-driven initiatives and partnerships include the conversion of a former Woolworth store into a local foods grocery, creation of the Beloit Fine Arts Incubator, and selection of a downtown location for the Beloit College bookstore. Cumulative private investments of $70 million have created appealing spaces for entrepreneurs, tech companies and civic organizations alike, leading to a 192 percent increase in property values over the past 20 years and rehabilitation of more than 286 buildings. The adaptive reuse of the 750,000-square-foot former Ironworks building, begun in 2014, is the next phase of this activity. Already home to numerous software and technology-based firms, the building is also slated to become home to the regional YMCA, with a proposed pedestrian bridge across the Rock River providing additional connectivity. Moving forward, the organization continues to focus on residential development, including upper floor conversion and infill units designed to meet the needs of a growing workforce and Baby Boomer market; recruitment of additional restaurants to complement a growing food cluster; and expansion of an already active public art scene. The Downtown Beloit Association is responsible for more than 40 days of events each year, including an award-winning farmers’ market and month-long winter holiday celebration.

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WEDC contributed $1 million toward the $35 million redevelopment of the former Beloit Corp. facility into the Ironworks office/tech park. The project began in 2002, and includes the conversion of multiple plant buildings into high-tech office space as well as site improvements such as creation of a spine road, pedestrian bridge across the river and public art projects.

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WEDC provided $250,000 toward the downtown gateway initiative, part of a $2.3 million plan to address floodplain issues and improve the gateway to downtown. The completion of this project has already resulted in $7.7 million in additional investment, including the development of the Cobblestone Hotel, SEH Headquarters office building, Chamber of Commerce offices, welcome center and a new brewery within one block of the riverfront. An additional local property owner is exploring a $2.2 million renovation of an adjacent property.

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WEDC contributed $249,455 toward a $3.2 million project to renovate and preserve the historic Al Ringling Theatre in downtown Baraboo. The project, completed in time for the theater’s 100th birthday, restored many of the building’s original fixtures, while also adding modern conveniences like updated restrooms and a bar. The theater regularly draws visitors from Madison and Milwaukee, and is responsible for driving foot traffic in the downtown area to support additional businesses. Other funding partners included the City of Baraboo, Jeffris Family Foundation and private contributions. The theater is in the process of expanding its staff by five to accommodate increased volume of activities and tours as a result of the project

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GRANTS AWARDED
$0
MILLION
IN TOTAL AWARDS
$0
MILLION
IN LEVERAGED INVESTMENT GENERATED
$0
LEVERAGED FOR EVERY $1 WEDC INVESTED
0
KEY STRATEGIC PARTNERS FUNDED
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

Eagle River site earns Certified In Wisconsin designation

April 24, 2018|0 Comments

A 21-acre parcel of land in Eagle River has been designated by the WEDC as a Certified In Wisconsin® development-ready site, a move aimed at attracting corporate development projects to the city. Read More

City of Evansville receives $250,000 state grant to support downtown project

April 24, 2018|0 Comments

The City of Evansville is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help finance construction of a new downtown building that will replace a tavern destroyed by fire in 2016. Read More

Four state agencies poised to launch new marketing initiative as legislation authorizing $6.8 million for effort is signed into law

April 16, 2018|0 Comments

WEDC and three other state agencies are moving forward with plans for a $6.8 million marketing campaign aimed at attracting talent to Wisconsin after Governor Scott Walker today signed legislation authorizing funding for the initiative. 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