WEDC investment to help fill gap in public access to riverfront  

MADISON, WI. JULY 14, 2020 – The City of Beloit is receiving a $250,000 state grant to assist in the development of the Beloit Riverwalk near the Beloit Powerhouse.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the development of the Riverwalk immediately adjacent to the Beloit Powerhouse, a combined student and community center. The center, located in a decommissioned Alliant Energy power plant, is being revitalized by Beloit College.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

“A vibrant downtown is critical to any community’s overall economic health and its quality of life, which is why one of WEDC’s top priorities is to support cities throughout Wisconsin as they invest in revitalizing their downtowns and enhancing their business districts,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s leading economic development organization. “I commend the City of Beloit for taking steps to complete the Riverwalk and provide more opportunities for future growth.”

The project will also bring over $3.6 million in capital investment into the area. With support from the community, Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources, the new Riverwalk section will fill an 850-foot gap in public access to the riverfront. This includes access to Beloit College, Main Street, the Ironworks Hotel, ABC Supply Corporate Headquarters, Hotel Goodwin, the Ironworks Campus and the soon-to-be-constructed downtown Riverbend Stadium. Other contributors in this public-private partnership include the City of Beloit, Beloit College, Beloit 200, Alliant Energy, and Kerry Ingredients.

“The completion of this unique Riverwalk project would not be possible without the support of WEDC and other partners,” said Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther. “Upon completion, the Riverwalk will provide a crucial path for pedestrians from downtown Beloit and Beloit College to Riverside Park, the Eclipse Center and beyond. This walking and biking path will be available for the use of all residents for recreation or for alternative transportation.”

This project will provide pedestrian and bicyclist connections from the northern 2.5-mile loop of pathways on both the east and west sides of the Rock River to a half-mile stretch of the Beloit College Powerhouse site, which links to the Main Street area of downtown Beloit. It will transform a sidewalk next to Highway 51 into a well-lit concrete path and bridge structure along the edge of the Rock River.

“This is an exciting time for downtown Beloit. The Riverwalk will provide a safe connection between Beloit College and the exciting transformation of downtown,” said state Senator Janis Ringhand. “I am happy the state is joining this partnership to develop the Riverwalk. It’s good for Beloit and good for Wisconsin.”

“I am proud to see the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation investing in Beloit through a Community Development Investment Grant,” said Rep. Mark Spreitzer. “The Beloit Riverwalk project is an exciting addition to the Beloit Powerhouse. This partnership between the state of Wisconsin, city of Beloit, and Beloit College will benefit residents, visitors, and local businesses for years to come.”

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $30 million in Community Development Investment Grants to over 100 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.