State grants will boost downtown redevelopment projects

MADISON, WI. May 19, 2016–The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded Community Development Investment (CDI) Grants to six Wisconsin communities to support community development and redevelopment efforts.

“Vibrant downtowns and thriving commercial centers are critical to the vitality of the communities in which they are located,” said WEDC secretary and CEO Mark Hogan. “That is why WEDC makes strategic investments in community development projects designed to establish a firm foundation for the economic growth of an area.”

CDI awards support community redevelopment efforts by providing financial incentives for shovel-ready projects with emphasis on, but not limited to, downtown community-driven efforts. Funded activities must lead to measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values and/or a 3:1 leveraged investment match by local and private partners. This year’s projects are expected to achieve a 10:1 match from local and private sources.

Projects are awarded through a competitive application process. WEDC expects to announce additional CDI awards prior to the end of June.

City of Fort Atkinson
The City of Fort Atkinson has been awarded a $250,000 grant to assist in the revitalization and redevelopment of additional retail, restaurant and office space in what is locally known as the Creamery Building Complex in the heart of Fort Atkinson. The funds will support renovation of a combined 38,000 square feet of space consisting of the second and third floors of the complex and build-out of a section known as the North Building, all adjacent to the Glacial Heritage Trail on the west side of the building. The grant project will be a critical part of a larger $5 million redevelopment program for the site, a long underutilized anchor of downtown Fort Atkinson.

City of Hurley
The City of Hurley has been awarded a $250,000 grant to assist in the redevelopment and revitalization of the 10th Avenue commercial district. The proposed project is to establish a 25,000-square-foot full-service grocery store and a 5,000-square-foot hardware store. This 30,000-square-foot building currently lies vacant and was falling into disrepair, becoming a blighting influence on the commercial district and thwarting the city in its efforts to revitalize the commercial district.

Village of Menomonee Falls
The Village of Menomonee Falls has been awarded a $250,000 grant to assist in building improvements to the historic fire station constructed in 1929 and located in downtown Menomonee Falls. This is an iconic building known for its unique architecture, and was the location for the Village Hall, followed by use as a fire station until the summer of 2015, when two new fire stations were constructed to accommodate the village’s growth and to share resources with the neighboring community of Lannon. The reuse of the fire station will create a unique destination within the downtown that is supported by numerous business owners, community leaders and village officials.

City of Neenah
The City of Neenah and the Community Development Authority (CDA) have been awarded a $250,000 grant to assist in a redevelopment project of a blighted site. Specifically, this project is located at 228 & 232 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Neenah. This project is a strong public/private partnership that will continue efforts to transform the city from a former manufacturing and industrial hub into a vibrant downtown with a mix of uses and higher-density development accented with pedestrian amenities, public open space, and improved connectivity and accessibility to local assets like the Fox River. Specifically, this project will attract additional employers and employees to the downtown area. The project includes the construction of a five story, 60,000-square-foot, multi-tenant office building downtown. Along with the development of the office building, an additional 44 on-site and 150 off-site parking stalls will be constructed.

City of Plymouth
The City of Plymouth has been awarded a $100,000 grant to assist in a project to renovate a historic building in downtown Plymouth. The building, built in 1875, is located at 133 E. Mill Street. Cheesemaking has long been a part of Plymouth history. The project will consist of bringing the building back to its historic form. A cheese-themed store and heritage center will be established on the first floor of the building, and apartments on the second floor. The heritage center will include interactive activities modelled after technology exhibits in the Port Exploreum project in Port Washington. This project is one of three key physical improvement projects for the downtown area of Plymouth.

City of Superior
The City of Superior has been awarded a $250,000 grant to assist in the rehabilitation, renovation and historic preservation of the historic Lurye building, originally the Empire Block, into a mixed-use facility. The Empire Block building, located at 1202-1208 Tower Avenue, Superior, will be used for four commercial spaces on the street level, and the upper two floors will have 14 market-rate apartment living spaces. The Empire Block is designated as a pivotal structure with architectural and historical significance in the Tower Avenue Commercial District. The project is estimated to create 15 to 40 full time positions from the three to four retail or professional service businesses that it will house.


About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive economy. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.