Program Goal:

The goal of the Idle Sites Redevelopment Program is to incent community redevelopment in the state of Wisconsin.

This program primarily supports the following WEDC Strategic Pillar and Focus Area:

Community and Economic Opportunity: Community Development

Program Description:

The Idle Sites Redevelopment Program offers grants of up to $500,000 to Wisconsin communities for the redevelopment of sites that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for a period of at least five years. Blighted properties may be perceived as eyesores that can lead to decreased property tax revenue for a community. The Idle Sites Redevelopment Program provides incentives to help rejuvenate abandoned blighted sites and assistance in elevating local economies. Approved projects can use funds for demolition, environmental remediation, infrastructure, or site-specific improvements to advance the site to shovel ready status or enhance the site’s market attractiveness.

Eligibility Requirements:


“Designated Rural County” means a county with a population density of less than 155 residents per square mile.

The Applicant:

  • Any city, village, town, government entity, or tribal entity that has one of the following:
    • An officially approved redevelopment agreement that describes the project and its goals, anticipated outcomes, project timeline, and actions, obligations and investments to be made by each party; or
    • An officially approved redevelopment plan that describes the project and its goals, anticipated outcomes, project timeline, and actions, obligations and investments necessary to achieve redevelopment

The Project Site:

  • May be:
    • One or more contiguous industrial parcels that exceed five acres and had long-term (more than 25 years) industrial usage; or
    • One or more contiguous commercial parcels that exceed 10 acres and had long-term (more than 25 years) commercial usage; for projects in Designated Rural Counties, parcels need to exceed 5 acres; or
    • One or more contiguous institutional parcels that exceed 5 acres and had long-term (more than 25 years) institutional usage
  • Applicants must own the targeted site or demonstrate the legal ability to access the property and perform the work proposed in the application.

Eligible Costs:

  • Grant funds can be used for demolition, environmental remediation, rehabilitation or infrastructure improvements.
  • WEDC funds cannot exceed 30 percent of eligible project costs.

Activities ineligible for grant assistance or match include, but are not limited to:

  • Past costs
  • In-kind contributions
  • Costs of new construction
  • Indirect construction costs (aka “soft” costs)
  • Environmental work occurring on properties in which the current owner is also a causer who possessed or controlled the contaminant(s) on the site

Applicants must provide a signed resolution by the governing elected body authorizing the submittal of an application to the ISR Program and an approved development agreement or redevelopment plan demonstrating committed local and private investment that will likely provide for economic benefits such as increased generation of property taxes, reduced urban sprawl, use of existing infrastructure, reduction of environmental risk, and the creation of full-time permanent jobs.

WEDC will take the following into account when considering an ISR Grant:

  • The potential of the project to promote economic and community development in the area
  • A written financial commitment by a lending institution and/or government entity to the applicant enabling the project to reach fruition
  • The adequacy and completeness of the site investigation and remediation effort
  • The extent to which costs are budgeted and itemized by qualified parties
  • The size of the property and the site’s relationship to economic centers
  • The economic distress of the community encompassing the project site
  • Feasibility and readiness of the proposed project

Incentives and Available Funding (FY19) $1,500,000

The incentives in this program are grants of up to $500,000 for redevelopment of idle sites of 5 acres or larger. Applicants may receive one award per fiscal year.

Activities and Expected Outcomes

Assist four communities and achieve a 20:1 leverage of other investment.

Performance Reporting:

Recipients will be required to annually submit a performance report documenting capital investment and assessed taxable property values, as well as any other contract deliverable. WEDC may impose additional reporting requirements to evaluate project performance and to ensure compliance with contract deliverables.

Application and Awards Process:

The ISR Program has a continuous application process. Applicants for an ISR Grant should complete an application through a regional economic development director. The completed application will be assigned to an underwriter and will go through the award review process.

For more information on application review, internal process and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.