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.
WEDC contributed $6,500 toward a $25,000 feasibility study to jumpstart the renovation of the 40,000-square-foot former courthouse facility in the center of Green Lake. Following the completion of the study, the nonprofit ownership group invested in upgrades to the facility, which is now home to 23 local tenants, including several entrepreneurs who make use of the certified commercial kitchen. In addition, the center hosts a number of community- and youth-oriented educational programs.
WEDC provided $205,000 toward a $1.4 million project to completely renovate a vacant downtown property to help an existing business, The Coffee House at Chestnut & Pine, expand, while also adding space for a new bakery, a meeting space/event venue and a commercial kitchen, with a combined 10 additional employees. The renovated building has become an anchor for the growing downtown revitalization effort, spurring developer interest in a long-vacant parcel on the same block for an $800,000 investment to create co-working space. The coffeehouse itself is now the top ranked business in the City of Burlington and has been featured in multiple publications, driving additional tourism activity.
Welcomed into the Connect Communities program in 2014, La Farge has already made strides to formalize its downtown revitalization effort. Beginning with a strategic planning effort facilitated by the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission, the community has also created a dedicated nonprofit entity (La Farge Area Progress Association); introduced streetscape elements including banners, holiday lighting and vacant window displays; created a local business brochure; and jumpstarted recreation planning activities. Located near multiple regional recreation attractions and suffering from an underutilized riverfront area in the wake of floodplain demolition, La Farge created a new 15-acre park, raising funds to install a fishing pier and disc golf course. The community is also leveraging local partnerships to support entrepreneurs, fill downtown vacancies and accommodate resident and visitor shopping and dining interests.