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The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee received $1 million from WEDC’s Idle Sites Redevelopment Program to assist in the redevelopment of Reed Street Yards, approximately 17 acres of vacant land that was formerly a rail yard and truck terminal. Specifically, the redevelopment authority is seeking to attract a water technology subsidiary of Rexnord Corp. from outside of Wisconsin to build a 65,000-square-foot facility, and General Capital is planning to build two 80,000-square-foot multi-tenant buildings marketed toward companies in the water cluster. The construction of these three buildings will have a catalytic impact on the development of the rest of Reed Street Yards and the growth of the water cluster in the greater Milwaukee region. Funding from the Idle Sites Redevelopment Program will be used to offset environmental remediation costs and site preparation costs associated with these three building sites.

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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.

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WEDC contributed $212,000 in site assessment and brownfields funding toward a $7.6 million project to renovate a failed downtown mall into an office and educational campus. The site was formerly home to a dry cleaning facility, which was destroyed by a fire. The site is now home to Mid-State Technical College and office space for 150 workers, and has also helped catalyze additional downtown projects including renovation of a historic theater, construction of a new hotel and improvements at other downtown properties. Additional project funding included CDBG and TIF funds.

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WEDC contributed $147,438 toward a $5 million project to transition a vacant 7.5-acre brownfield into an 88,000-square-foot intergenerational care facility in inner-city Milwaukee. The site, vacant for more than two decades, included 27 separate parcels spanning two city blocks. Brownfields funds helped to contain and cap soils contaminated with PAH and other chemicals. The project also utilized PECFA funds for additional cleanup.

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