State Awards $5.1 Million to Communities to Help Redevelop Idle Sites

Madison – Governor Scott Walker announced today that six communities will receive $5.1 million in grants under a new state program that will help spur redevelopment on abandoned industrial sites throughout Wisconsin.

Beloit, Milwaukee, Port Edwards, and Wausau each will receive $1 million under the Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program.  Waterloo will receive $584,000 and Madison was granted $534,000 under the program, which is administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Among the sites is a 20-acre parcel that is part of the Century City redevelopment project on Milwaukee’s north side.  That property, which was once home to Tower Automotive and A.O. Smith Corp., is part of the area targeted by Governor Walker’s Transform Milwaukee initiative, a public-private partnership focusing on restoring economic prosperity to the city’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor.  Milwaukee officials say the $1 million grant will provide the final piece of funding needed to get the site ready for development by mid-2014.

“These grants will help stimulate investment and job creation on manufacturing sites that have been idle or underutilized for years,” Governor Walker said. “This will help make those sites more attractive to developers, site selectors and businesses, and should not only bring more jobs to these areas, but also boost investment throughout the community.”

“The six sites all are located in prime locations and have the potential to become the cornerstones of their respective communities,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “However, because of their size and other complexities, the sites cannot be redeveloped solely by the private sector. This program provides these communities with the resources to help get these sites shovel-ready.”

In addition to the Milwaukee parcel, other sites included in the program are:

  • Beloit: The 16-acre former Beloit Iron Works site. A portion of the existing Ironworks building will be razed to create two buildings that will have the capacity for 1,400 employees.
  • Madison: A 28-acre site that once housed the Royster-Clark fertilizer manufacturing plant. The site is part of a 60-acre proposed development that calls for homes, apartments, and commercial and retail space.
  • Port Edwards: A 193-acre site that was a mill owned by Domtar Corp. City officials are planning a research and business park on the site.
  • Waterloo: A 20-acre site along the Maunesha River in the heart of the historic downtown of this Jefferson County community. The city plans to work with public and private partners to renovate an existing office building, construct apartments and create a riverfront park.
  • Wausau: A 21-acre site along the Wisconsin River that the city plans to revitalize as part of its $82 million East Riverfront Redevelopment effort.

The marks the first year of the Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program, which offers grants of up to $1 million to communities for the implementation of redevelopment plans for sites of 10 acres or more that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for at least five years. The sites must have had at least 25 years of prior commercial or industrial usage to qualify.

The funds can be used for demolition, environmental remediation, or site-specific improvements defined in a redevelopment plan.

The state Department of Natural Resources assisted WEDC is selecting the six grant recipients from the 16 communities that applied.

“These grants are a real catalyst for significant environmental and economic benefits,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “I commend WEDC for making this issue a priority.”