Thursday . December 2 . 2021     |      Search
30

Madison, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A new grant program that is part of federal COVID-19 relief is aimed at helping foster workforce development for various industries across Wisconsin. The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB) serves Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland and Rock counties. Through the grant program, the workforce development board was allocated $1.61 million to serve 296 participants, according to SWWDB Chief Executive Officer Rhonda Suda.

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28

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

The Second Annual Black Business Week expo held Saturday afternoon at Community Action Inc. The event, held in partnership between Rock County Jumpstart and Black Women in Business Beloit, featured Santa Claus, kids’ activities, an ugly sweater contest and 35 vendors selling all types of items.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette     

Chris and Anita Lloyd are new to retail, but the couple says they’ve been trying to open a hardware store in Janesville off and on since 2007. Two years later, they started pursuing the build out of this new True Value franchise on a West Court Street lot next door to the Daniels Foods supermarket.

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21

(Janesville, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

A multimillion dollar federal grant will help fund repairs to key railroad bridges in Rock County, according to the office of Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin. Baldwin’s office announced it helped secure $6.7 million from a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to fund a project in Rock County to repair and replace components of five railroad bridges.

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19

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

City of Janesville officials say they’re in discussions with Des Moines, Iowa-based supermarket chain Hy-Vee about a plan to buy and renovate the former Shopko and convert it into a full-service grocery and liquor store.

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18

(Rock County, WI) Gazette Staff

Rock County Parks is buying Camp Indian Trails from the Boy Scouts of America Glacier’s Edge Council for $3.4 million, according to a statement released Wednesday. Camp Indian Trails is a 178-acre property comprised of three parcels northwest of Janesville on the eastern bank of the Rock River just off North River Road.

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17

(Janesville, WI) Governor Tony Evers joined Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) officials and community leaders today in Janesville to commemorate the completion of the 45-mile Interstate 39/90 project in Dane and Rock counties. Improvements were completed on time and under budget.

“It’s exciting to see the incredible improvements made to this corridor,” Governor Evers said. “I-39/90 serves as a gateway to Wisconsin creating a vital link for tourism and the transport of goods and commerce to and from the state. I congratulate the entire team for this major accomplishment, and I’m pleased to celebrate its completion. I look forward to the economic growth spurred by this expanded Interstate and updated infrastructure.”

“It was clear that I-39/90 improvements would drive economic growth and vitality to Wisconsin,” WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson said. “I want to thank the leadership from the communities that worked cooperatively with us throughout this project. Their input and support helped make this project a success.”  

What community leaders are saying about the I-39/90 project completion: 

  • “Beloit is the gateway to Wisconsin. It is exciting to have this massive project complete. Beloit has had extraordinary growth, especially over the past couple of years. This infrastructure project is going to provide the capacity we need to support even more growth in the future.” - Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther
  • “This interstate project provides a safe and efficient way for visitors to enter the state. This project showcases the power of transportation in Wisconsin.” - Visit Beloit CEO Celestino Ruffini
  • “This is a just a long-term project and we're seeing completion. And so, that's a victory for Janesville, for Rock County and certainly the state. This interstate is the gateway to Wisconsin and it happens right here in Rock County.” - Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag
  • “You've got the assurance of safety, and you've got reliability in the road system; it certainly helps with business decisions being made. What a great project; we're thrilled it's done.” - Forward Janesville Vice President Dan Cunningham
  • “Everything throughout the project was unparalleled partnership and coordination between the DOT and all levels of the first responder community from South Beloit to Madison. It really has been a great success.” - Edgerton Fire Department Chief Randy Pickering

Project details

Originally constructed in the 1960s, this section of interstate was experiencing significant traffic delays due to high-traffic volumes, especially during peak travel times. The combination resulted in poor traffic flow and increased safety problems. The interchanges located along the corridor had outdated design and safety features.

Some advance construction activities occurred earlier than 2015, including improving alternate routes adjacent to the interstate and the reconstruction of the I-39/90 and WIS 11/Racine Street interchange (Exit 175) in Janesville.

In 2015, crews began reconstruction to expand the interstate from four to six lanes along most of the corridor and from four lanes to eight lanes through the Janesville area. The project also:

  • Reconfigured 11 interchanges, with three featuring the Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) design and three with roundabouts
  • Built new flyover ramps creating a free-flow transition of traffic between I-39/90 and I-43 in Beloit
  • Replaced and raised the Rock River bridges in Edgerton
  • Replaced 104 bridges and box culverts
  • Expanded truck parking at the Janesville and Beloit rest areas
  • Added new park and ride lots in Edgerton and Janesville

“There was a lot of innovation incorporated into the design and construction of the I-39/90 project, including the state’s first DDI at WIS 11/Avalon Road in Janesville,” Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Glenn Fulkerson explained. “We have seen DDIs incorporated throughout the nation. They are effective at increasing safety and mobility when there is a high volume of left turn movements onto a major highway.”

Some remaining work at the I-39/90 and I-43/WIS 81 interchange in Beloit will be finished in early December 2021. Restoration work, including bridge staining, polymer overlays and permanent pavement markings, will occur in spring 2022. 

More information about the I-39/90 Expansion Project watch this video clip summarizing the project and/or visit this online link, which provides a comprehensive overview of the entire project.

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17

(Janesville, WI) Scott Froehlich, Gazette

Starting next spring, students in the fire protection and emergency medical services programs at Blackhawk Technical College will have access to the state-of-the-art facility located at the college’s Public Safety and Transportation Center on County G between Janesville and Beloit.

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15

(Beloit, WI) Josh Flickinger, Beloit Daily News     

The baseball team formerly known as the Beloit Snappers finally has a new identity. After a year of speculation, a name submission contest and much social media banter regarding the team's new identity, Beloit baseball executives announced Monday that the team will be called the Beloit Sky Carp

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10

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

One of the flyover ramps connecting Interstate 39/90 and Interstate 43 in Beloit is set to open on Wednesday, Nov. 10 as the final stages of construction begin to wrap up for the multiyear project.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

New details have emerged regarding the plan to develop a 56-acre property in Beloit’s Gateway Business Park following a land sale approved by the Beloit City Council.

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08

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

As the Janesville Farmers Market finishes its first season after moving from North Main Street to the Janesville’s downtown riverfront town square, a Janesville Farmers Market official said vendors and customers consider the market’s new home a hit.

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03

(Madison, WI) The Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) is pleased to announce their MadREP Broadband Speed Test initiative. Madison Region residents should test their internet speed at: madisonregion.org/broadband.

The tool will show participants what their current internet speeds are while collecting necessary data for the Madison Region to pursue better broadband infrastructure in the areas identified as underserved. Residents are encouraged to complete speed tests both at home and at work.

The speed test tool will enable MadREP to provide more detail than is currently available on existing maps, some of which only show internet speeds by census blocks. This can be misleading, as a high-speed connection for one address may be applied to a large area even though other nearby addresses may have poor connections.

MadREP is asking their partners in municipalities, community organizations, business groups, chambers of commerce, education advocates, health care organizations and trade groups to promote this initiative widely in their networks so the Region can obtain the support necessary to help expand opportunities for residents.

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01

(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

Chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A has announced its location at 2627 Humes Road on Janesville’s east side opens Wednesday.

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28

(Rock County, WI) The Janesville-Beloit MSA economy posted another strong quarter, even in the midst of turbulent global and domestic conditions. A summary of this economic report is highlighted in today’s release of the Q3 2021 Rock Ready Index.

The area’s average unemployment rate continued to move incrementally down one-or-two tenths of a percentage point; and the same was true for the state and national levels too. While this slow-to-moderate decline has been constant throughout all three quarters of YR 2021, some forecasts suggest this trend might shift in Q4. Meanwhile, regional job postings settled into one of their lowest quarterly marks during the last three years. According to job openings and turnover data released by the federal government, job posting figures were down during the month of August for WI and all of its neighboring states – and the same was the case half of the nation, as well. During this same period, the rate of voluntary employment separations (i.e. known as the quit rate), peaked in the U.S. Whether it’s because of job posting fatigue or due to the prevalence of the great resignation, the need to staff-up remains a top priority. Locally, the hiring appetite didn’t slow down during Q3 – as the number of postings on www.JobsInRockCounty.com remained around the 475 mark on a weekly basis. Compared to the previous quarter, the Q3 2021 postings were about 12% higher.

Housing prices and transactions during Q3 2021 set a new benchmark; and these figures were about three percent and 15% higher than a year ago, respectively. While average median sale prices cooled somewhat from the red-hot pace set during the previous quarter, average quarterly sales volumes where 23% higher. In comparison to statewide and national averages, YoY sales figures for Q3 2021 in the Janesville-Beloit MSA were higher. While pricing remained aggressive throughout the local market, these figures were about half-to-one-third of the average prices recorded at the state and national level, respectively. Despite the presence of home buyer bidding wars and the persistent materials / supplies shortages, there are plenty of buyers and renters. Case in point: the vast majority of the new multi-family units in the Janesville-Beloit MSA are generally pre-leased prior to market deliver; and permitting volumes for new single-family homes are trending roughly two times greater than compared to a year ago. Nevertheless, home buyers and renters are encouraged to keep their patience, flexibility and financial meters well-stocked.

The County’s sales and use tax collections for Q3 ($4.71 million) established a new record, posting nearly a 10% gain when compared to the same quarter a year ago. While slightly below the all-time (quarterly) collections recorded in Q2 2021, July and September’s figures remained strong despite lagging consumer confidence and supply chain considerations nationally. That said, retailers are attempting to brace for a year-end buying frenzy because consumers have already signaled their intentions to leverage existing purchasing power by ordering early – and in bulk too – to avoid price spikes and goods shortages. Even if consumer goods from the Pacific Rim eventually make their way from the ports into the heartland, there still needs to be a labor supply routing these items into stores and homes.

Overall, the economic development pipeline for Q3 followed the same general trend for YR 2021. For example, prospective investments increased in size and value each quarter. As a matter of fact, the total square footage (SF) represented in this quarter is the second highest figure recorded for the third quarter during the last decade. While the number of logistics-related investments are lower than anticipated, there was strong representation from the manufacturing sector – particularly those activities associated with the energy sector. In addition, food-related processing – as well as equipment and packaging – were well represented too. Historically, the food and beverage industry has been a solid investment play for the area, region and state. According to the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), the Q3 2021 average rating level was 60.16; and a PMI rating greater than 50 serves as an industrial expansion indicator. However, pent-up demand and opportunities aside, the decision making miles stones for investors during YR 2021 have been impacted by construction materials / supplies shortages and pricing. Consequently, a number of anticipated projects have been delayed.

Rounding out the economic report for the third quarter is a feature on one of Janesville’s multi-family projects: The Glade Residences. By leveraging timely support from the public sector, Hovde Properties has out-performed its original forecasts. As a result, the development will be wrap-up two years ahead of schedule. While the focal point of the article is geared toward celebrating the accelerated delivery of more than 230 market-rate units in the city, the salient point is this: these types of investments are successful because of strategic public/private partnerships.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter. For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson

The city of Janesville is laying the groundwork for a potential $4.5 million industrial land expansion along its south-side business corridor. If a deal comes to full fruition, the city would secure 129 acres of farmland off County G that the city’s top economic development official said is ready to develop for future industrial use. The site is just south of the Dollar General distribution facility.

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26

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson

It will likely take upward of a year of work, but the Janesville City Council’s 5-2 vote to move the proposed indoor sports and convention center at Uptown Janesville into its design phase is being viewed as the kick-start for a $25 million to $28 million proposal officials are calling “transformative.”

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25

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Four Beloit Memorial High School students were offered youth apprenticeships with Frito-Lay with an official start date of Oct. 5.

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21

(Rock County, WI) Blackhawk Technical College is excited to host Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) in-person this year. The annual event has been a continued success, shining a spotlight on local employers, education pathways, and career opportunities. 

This year’s MFG Day will take place on Tuesday, October 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Blackhawk’s state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) facility in Milton, WI. The event will host approximately 300 high school students from 12 school districts in Rock and Green County. In addition, approximately 20 manufacturing partners from the newly created Stateline Manufacturing Alliance (SMA) will be participating.

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20

(Edgerton, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette      

A public-private housing project could convert an aging downtown storefront in Edgerton to apartments geared specially for military veterans at risk of homelessness, city officials said.

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19

(Rock County, WI) In response to the ongoing economic challenges caused by the pandemic, particularly for small businesses and non-profits that may have experienced obstacles as it concerns securing critical financial and technical assistance, the County of Rock has created a COVID-19 Small Business and Non-Profit Grant Program (CGP).

The CGP, which is funded through a portion of the County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation, will provide a grant equal to the amount of documented losses incurred by an applicant in YR 2020 (i.e. up to a maximum of $10,000 per applicant). In addition to providing this direct funding, the CGP also has a technical assistance provision that’s affiliated with the UW Small Business Development Center(s) and the Arrowhead Library System. These technical assistance services will be provided free of charge.

An added feature of the CGP is a provision that reimburses professional third-party service provider and/or advisors – including but limited to accountants, attorneys, bankers, chambers of commerce / EDO’s, business consultants, etc. – for their assistance and/or expertise with regards to helping client’s/member’s apply to the CGP. To receive this stipend, the provider / advisor business must be registered; and the application submittal must reference both the assistance and the provider / advisor.

All CGP awards, including the provider / advisor stipends, will be disbursed via the bill.com platform – an automated clearing house (ACH) vendor. Since the CGP is well capitalized, the application window will remain open and funds will be disbursed until the ARPA allocation has been exhausted. For additional information, visit www.rcbizgrants.org

 

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18

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

The future is bright for five locally-grown and innovative business startups that will be participating in the fall 2021 gBETA Beloit accelerator cohort, according to Mason Cook, gBETA Beloit Director at gener8tor.

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15

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Ask Beloit economic development officials and local politicians and they will tell you that Beloit’s Gateway Business Park put the city “on the map.” On Thursday, the business park’s two decades of success was celebrated.

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06

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Economic development officials in Rock County agree: Supporting regional growth by fostering cooperation between municipalities, coupled with sound private commercial and residential development strategies, are central to the county’s growth into the future.

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05

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit residents and visitors may see activity on the future site of the Ho-Chunk Nation’s casino-resort entertainment complex with preliminary work related to the project’s final design set to start soon.

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01

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Plans recently OK’d by Janesville’s plan commission would allow LKQ’s Janesville location—already one of the five busiest salvage operations of the publicly traded company’s 70-some salvage yards—to further ramp up its salvage and parts distributorship.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Blackhawk Technical College is excited to announce its partnership with the Stateline Manufacturing Alliance (SMA)

Established in February 2021, the SMA is the result of regional manufacturers, economic/workforce development organizations, and K-12 education providers coming together to address common challenges and opportunities. As a regional catalyst for recruitment and development in the fields of advanced manufacturing, SMA members actively share information and data. In addition, SMA members are poised to strategically collaborate with each other on activities, initiatives, and programming to develop the youth and adult talent pipeline by creating increased job and career exposure, engagement, and interest. 

“These types of partnerships create opportunities to share best practices, as well as leverage scarce in-kind and fiscal resources, regarding various employee recruitment/retention strategies,” said Colleen Koerth, Manager of Workforce Development at Blackhawk Technical College.

For example, Blackhawk is pleased to partner with the SMA at the upcoming, countywide Manufacturing Days event – scheduled for October 26, 2021. The event is part of a national effort to inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing. 

To date, nearly 40 regional manufacturers are participating in the SMA. A sampling of these participants include: ANGI Energy Systems, Baker Manufacturing, Ball Corporation, Bell Laboratories, BlueScope Buildings, Charter Next Generation, Coextruded Plastic Technologies, DeLong Company, Edgerton Gear, Freedom Graphic Systems, Fairbanks Morse Defense, Frito Lay, GOEX, Hormel Foods, Husco, IKI Manufacturing, Ingersoll Machine Tools, Jones Dairy Farm, Lyons Magnus, Morgan Corporation, Novares, NAPCO, Nestle Purina, Panoramic, Prent, Scot Forge, Seneca Foods, Serta Simmons Bedding, SSI Sintered, SSI Technologies, Stoughton Trailers, The Morse Group, Tigre, United Alloy, Versa Tool & Die and Western Container. 

The SMA is actively seeking additional members to join its collective efforts in building and sustaining a regional pipeline of skilled and qualified employees. To learn more about becoming a member, visit www.statelinemfg.org or contact Colleen Koerth at (608) 743-4597 or ckoerth@blackhawk.edu.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes in Beloit is once again celebrating major milestones as the company heralded the completion of major projects and hosted a groundbreaking on Thursday for the next step in the company’s vision for the future.

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21

(Milwaukee, WI) Zilber Property GroupSM (“Zilber”) is pleased to announce the acquisition of an approximately 525,000 square feet, four building industrial portfolio located along the I-90/I-39 corridor in Janesville, Wisconsin. Ranging in size from approximately 45,000 square feet up to 250,000 square feet, the buildings are fully-occupied by long-standing tenants: Cummins, Inc., Pepsi, National Food Distributors and Panoramic.

“Supplementing our I-90/I-39 corridor development activities, Zilber is committed to seeking out strategic investment opportunities in the Rock County market,” stated Chad Navis, Director of Industrial Investments, Zilber Property Group.  “This four building portfolio complements our other area industrial buildings while also providing diversity in size, location and use.” 

The buildings are located at: 101 W. Venture Drive, 505 S. Wuthering Hills Drive, 1700 E. Delavan Drive and 525 E. Conde Street.

Since 2017, Zilber has developed and acquired over 1.67 million square feet of industrial space, including two speculative industrial projects, which are currently under construction.

In proximity to other Zilber portfolio buildings at the corner of Beloit Avenue and W. Venture Drive, the two newly-constructed, institutional-quality projects will be 179,220 square feet respectively and available for lease to users in the market this fall. 

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For additional information, please contact Rachel Agba, Director of Industrial Acquisitions – Zilber Property Group at Rachel.Agba@Zilber.com or 815-341-8158.

For leasing opportunities, please contact Michael Kleber, Director of Industrial Leasing – Zilber Property Group at Michael.Kleber@Zilber.com or 414-274-2628.

For media inquiries, please contact Chelsea Couette, Business Development Manager – Zilber Property Group at Chelsea.Couette@Zilber.com or 414-274-2641.

About Zilber Property GroupSM

Zilber Property GroupSM (www.zilberpropertygroup.com) is the trade name under which Zilber Ltd. markets its commercial real estate investment activities.  Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Zilber is a privately-held diversified real estate company known for its multidisciplinary capabilities – investing, building and managing real estate throughout the continental United States and Hawaiian Islands for over 70 years.

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16

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette     

If the proposed indoor ice arena and sports complex at Uptown Janesville comes to fruition, it likely will be named after Woodman’s Food Market, a group of stakeholders who are raising private funds for the project has announced. The Friends of the Indoor Sports Complex made known this week that they have secured $3.75 million in private donations. That includes a $2 million donation from the Janesville-based supermarket chain.

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14

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Commercial real estate broker the Future of Real Estate has listed the collective 250 acres as a “rare industrial infill development opportunity” in an auction “event” that’s being managed by Future of Real Estate brokers and Janesville broker Coldwell Banker McGuire-Mears & Associates.

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13

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit College has been ranked in the top 10 for most innovative liberal arts colleges in the country, according to new rankings by U.S. News and World Report.

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08

(Janesville, WI) Scott Froehlich, Gazette

Janesville is going through a facelift of sorts as several artists descend upon downtown for the city’s 10th annual Art Infusion week currently underway. From chalk art to large murals, there will be a variety of eye-catching pieces on display. Five artists are spending the next few days painting murals on the sides of buildings throughout Janesville, leaving their mark for all to see.

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08

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN                   

The Beloit College Powerhouse redevelopment project was recognized with a statewide energy efficiency award presented by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers Wednesday.

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07

(Beloit, WI) Debra Jensen-De Hart, BDN

Kimberly Dailey and Courtney Kozlowski became enamored with the art of dance at an early age and still love the art form. That has led the two to open the Prestige Dance Company at 1970 Sutler Ave., Beloit.

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30

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes is continuing to grow in Beloit, with the company on the receiving end of a massive influx of federal funding to aid expanding its production capabilities.

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27

(Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

After growing up together in Beloit, childhood friends Tim Champion, Jerrick Hakim and Matt Nemetz have drawn on their own unique strengths to launch a combined business venture. Boppr, a modern digital business card and social networking tool, launched on Aug. 2. 

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24

(Milton, WI) Sara Myers, Gazette

Mark and Lori Warren of Milton threw a massive party Friday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their business, American Awards & Promotions.

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20

(Beloit, WI) Amanda Reseburg, Beloit Daily News

In tiny Mono, Ontario, Canada there’s a non-descript motel called The Hockley. Leagues of visitors descend on the area every year to capture a little TV magic for themselves. Nancy Clark-Mather hopes to bring that same notoriety and magic to Beloit through her new business, Beloit FilmWorks.

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20

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Impact Seven plans to build an approximately 100-unit, six-story “workforce” apartment building, along with 10,000 square feet of anchor tenant space on the ground floor that could house retail space or commercial offices.

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19

(Orfordville,WI) The Village of Orfordville is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help redevelop a vacant lot located downtown. Project plans include construction of 11 apartments and a 1,300-square-foot storefront on the building’s first level, with completion expected in March 2022. Residential units will include two one-bedroom apartments, seven two-bedroom apartments and two three-bedroom apartments.

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19

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

In a joint announcement Wednesday at the Lincoln-Tallman Restorations, Blackhawk Community Credit Union officials and the Rock County Historical Society unveiled a new museum concept that is still in its planning stages: Rock County Legacies.

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17

(Town of Beloit) Brad Allen, BDN

A group of students from UW-Milwaukee will work with township officials and interview residents this fall to research possibilities for a town center development.

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16

(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

The Rock Aqua Jays won their 21st national title Sunday at the 46th Indmar Show National Championships held at Traxler Park.

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12

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit-area hotels are seeing a return to pre-pandemic revenue and guest numbers, as tourism officials say they are optimistic that visitors will continue to travel to the Stateline Area as the COVID-19 delta variant spread could force a backslide in traveler confidence.

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11

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A demolition crew on Wednesday was tearing down the former Perkins restaurant at the center of Janesville’s busy Highways 26/14 retail corridor.

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08

(Janesville, WI) Frank Schultz, Gazette

SHINE Medical Technologies continues to make progress toward becoming a fully functioning manufacturer. Friday, it hosted Janesville leaders to a grand opening of its corporate headquarters on its campus on the city’s south side.

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04

(Madison, WI) Businesses and nonprofits considering moving into a vacant Wisconsin commercial space may be eligible for a $10,000 Wisconsin Tomorrow – Main Street Bounceback Grant through a newly created program.

“These grants are designed to give entrepreneurs a helping hand in establishing their physical storefronts and reward small business owners for investing in empty commercial properties across the state,” said Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) secretary and CEO. “The businesses that move into these spaces become integral parts of our communities, offering not only goods and services but spaces to gather and celebrate.”

In April, Governor Tony Evers announced the state would dedicate $50 million toward helping small business owners open physical locations and helping communities fill vacant storefronts. The funds for the Wisconsin Tomorrow – Main Street Bounceback Grant Program come from the state’s share of federal American Recovery Plan Act aid.

To be eligible, businesses or nonprofits must be moving into a vacant commercial space in Wisconsin. The business or nonprofit must not be closing another Wisconsin location in order to make this move.

The grant funding can be used for rent or mortgage payments, operating expenses, building repairs and improvements, and more.

Businesses or nonprofits that would use the new location for storage, to hold for investment purposes or to rent out as residential housing are not eligible. National and regional chains are also ineligible unless owned by an independent franchisee.

WEDC is working with nine regional economic development organizations to quickly disburse grant funding to eligible businesses and nonprofits in all of the state’s 72 counties. Applications open on Aug. 9 and the program runs through June 30, 2022. Businesses and nonprofits interested in learning more about the grants should go to: wedc.org/mainstreet-bounceback.

Interested individuals who fill out the online form on the site will automatically be directed to the regional partner disbursing grants in their area for more information and next steps.

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03

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Along the concourse at Uptown Janesville there seems to be more shops opening in the small and midsize storefronts left vacant by former chain retailers.

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02

(Town of Fulton) Gazette Staff

Alliant Energy and a partner could start groundwork as soon as this week on a 440-acre solar project in the town of Fulton. The Madison-based electric utility announced it has assumed ownership of parcels for a 50-megawatt, solar array farm called North Rock Solar on fields off County M and West Pomeroy Road.

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27

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

ABC Supply Stadium in downtown Beloit at the banks of the Rock River will help draw hundreds of thousands of more people to Beloit and South Beloit each year, officials say, as the state-of-the-art facility prepares for opening day next week.

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26

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A locally-based family business is poised to start construction on a site in the Gateway Business Park as the move will be the catalyst for employee and operations growth. Matthews Family Trucking LLC, owned by Byron Matthews, bought just over 8.1 acres of land at 3400 Venture Drive and 905 Tubbs Drive in the Gateway area to accommodate the rapid growth of the company that started in June of 2020.

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(Rock County, WI) The Janesville-Beloit MSA economy posted another solid quarter, as strong consumer and investor confidence continued to drive activity throughout the county. These trends are highlighted in today’s release of the Q2 2021 Rock Ready Index.

The trendline for the area’s average unemployment rate remained relatively steady-to-declining, albeit exhibiting incremental shifts of a few tenths of a percentage point. By way of quick history, if this holding pattern continues, the year-end averages will look very similar to those rates from 2015 – where local and federal rates locked in the five-percent range, and the state flirted with a rate of four-percent. What is different from 2015, though, are the number of active job postings that populate the employment boards. During the first half of 2021, the JobsInRockCounty.com site has averaged more than 425 job postings per month. These postings are not just entry-level positions. Furthermore, there’s definitely an uptick in the number of postings for high-skill, in-demand jobs.

According to economists, this trend is caused by the combined impacts of new business processes and operations that were deployed during the pandemic; and because there are fewer folks actively participating in the workforce. While much has been written or opined about the skills gaps and workforce shortages, the solutions to this dilemma are quietly emerging. To scale, as well as to sustain, these multi-faceted solutions properly will most certainly require a collaborative, grassroots strategy that is laser-focused on youth and talent pipeline development activities.

Housing prices continued their upward movement, as Q2 set new, all-time records for both Average Sale ($231,706) and Median Sale ($209,500) prices, respectively. While nationally home sales and permit numbers are beginning to taper down, the local trendlines are moving in the opposite direction. For example, Q2’s new housing starts are about 10% higher and sales are nearly 14% above what was recorded during the same time period a year ago. Although lumber prices are slowly declining – they’re still high. Plus, the costs associated with other building materials and supply chain constraints for fixtures and appliances are causing heartburn for the entire housing industry. Despite these challenges, the 2021 emerging housing markets index released by the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com notes the Janesville-Beloit MSA ranks quite competitively among its 300 MSA peer locations. Depending on the month and methodology applied, that index ranks the area among the Top 50 or Top 100.

The County’s sales and use tax collections for Q2 ($4.89 million) established a new benchmark, posting a 24% increase from Q1 and more than a 47% gain from a year ago. While there’s no debating the impacts of the federal stimulus dollars that flowed directly into taxpayer accounts, consumers have been consistently exercising their local buying power. Case in point: collections during the last decade have been increasing by about five-percent every year. Considering the second half of the year generally outpaces the first half, 2021 is poised to set yet another annual record. How consumers adjust to rising inflationary pressures, though, will ultimately determine their spending patterns – particularly for discretionary goods or services.

The economic development pipeline remained well-stocked, as investment activities associated with food and metal fabrication manufacturing, as well as logistics, remained strong. This trend is consistent with national activities too, as the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) recorded an average PMI rating of 61% for the first half of 2021. A PMI reading of 50% or more serves as an industrial expansion indicator. Couple that indicator with the volume of Letters of Intent and/or Purchase & Sale Agreements that are currently active throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA, more developments are definitely on the horizon.

Those factors, as well as other market-related considerations, were the drivers behind the June 2021 Spray-Tek announcement. As one of the largest custom, contract specialty ingredient processing manufacturers in the U.S. Spray-Tek needed a Midwest location to optimize its customer and supply chain relationships. As a result, the company has planted its flag in Beloit’s Gateway Business Park.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter. For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

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19

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit’s sustained economic development managed to weather the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with construction and building permit figures remaining on track with past years of development just at the halfway point of 2021.

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08

(Janesville, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

Particularly after an incredibly challenging year due to the pandemic, Genia Stevens, Founder of Rock County Jumpstart, said innovating solutions are needed to help small business owners bounce back and grow in the near future. In line with that goal, Stevens said she is excited to be working with Uptown Janesville, formerly the Janesville Mall, to showcase Black entrepreneurs from the area.

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06

(Janesville, WI) Carver Aero announced today that it has acquired the fixed-base operator Janesville Jet Center at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport in Janesville, Wis. Carver Aero is continuing to expand its full service FBO network throughout the Midwest. In addition to Janesville, the company operates FBOs in Muscatine, Davenport and Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

“Carver Aero is the ideal new owner of the Janesville Jet Center FBO”, said Steve King on behalf of the longtime ownership team. “They understand the business, will expand the services and take the FBO to a level we dreamed about that will result in substantial growth on the field. I am also very pleased that all employees wishing to stay will remain. I wish Carver Aero and the airport all the best.” 

“We have three key initiatives with the Janesville FBO,” said Carver Aero CEO Guy Lieser. “One is to work with existing airfield businesses and tenants to determine what opportunities exist to benefit all. A second is to offer services not currently being offered, such as aircraft maintenance, avionics and charter services with our fleet of turboprops. Finally, we believe smaller airports should be contributors to the local economy and be an integral part of the community.”

Carver Aero will be hosting an open house from 12-4 p.m. on Friday, July 16, at the Janesville Jet Center hangar. Weather permitting, Carver Aero will showcase its one-of-a-kind 1929 Travel Air D10 and several other vintage aircraft. “We encourage aviation enthusiasts traveling to and from Oshkosh July 26 – August 1 to stop by for a meal at Bessie’s Diner, refuel, and meet our expanded FBO team,” said Lieser. 

“The Janesville FBO fits into our business strategy to expand into smaller communities throughout the Midwest, and this acquisition expands our footprint into Wisconsin,” said Peter Limberger, Chairman of Carver Aero, and co-founder and Chairman/ CEO of CL Enterprises, the holding company for Carver Aero. “This airfield can accommodate higher volumes and larger planes,” Limberger said. “That means greater opportunity.” Greg Cullen, Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport Director, welcomes the new ownership of the FBO. “Carver Aero brings additional capital and resources to expand aviation services on the airfield and has already reached out to existing businesses to determine how they can grow overall operations at the airport. This should be a win for everybody.”

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05

(Town of  Beloit) Brad Allen, BDN

As new homes have been going up seemingly overnight in recent years, homeowners, developers and town officials say they are excited for continued growth in the future. Community Development Director Tim Kienbaum said he is confident that the township will see steady growth for years to come.

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01

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Twenty-two days away from the big opening of ABC Supply Stadium, Gateway Professional Baseball announced Beloit Health System and First National Bank and Trust as its founding partners in a Monday morning press conference.

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27

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Fairbanks Morse Engine (FME) division was awarded a contract by Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) to build and deliver the two main propulsion diesel engines (MPDE) for the U.S. Coast Guard’s fourth Offshore Patrol Cutter the RUSH (WMSM-918).

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24

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Parked in the corner of his manufacturing space in the Janesville Innovation Center, Isaac Smith has a longbow geared for large game bow hunting, a mounted deer skull with a shattered arrow cradled in the antlers, a camouflage hunting pack and a flannel shirt. It all hints at the custom hunting arrows the Beloit native designs and builds in the incubator space on the city’s south side.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Spray-Tek, Inc., which is a privately-held provider of specialty ingredient processing services, has selected Beloit's Gateway Business Park as the location for its new Midwest operation. Construction activities are expected to begin in the coming months, with initial plant operations targeted for 2022. By 2024, the plant is forecasted to reach up to 75,000 SF and have 50 full-time staff. Once operational, the Beloit plant will represent Spray-Tek's third U.S. cGMP plant. 

As one of the largest custom, contract providers in the U.S., Spray-Tek offers its customers a range of spray drying, blending and processing options. These options, which are utilized by leading food, health / beauty, pharmaceutical, household products and the soft chemical industries, continues to position Spray-Tek as a critical supplier and partner to customers. The company currently operates plants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where they have eleven (11) spray dryers producing specialty ingredients for a broad array of blue-chip customers and brands.

“As we searched for a location in the Midwest that could give our customers the biggest advantage, Beloit and Rock County stood out as the clear winner. All the folks we worked with were incredibly helpful and instrumental in making this site selection. We look forward to becoming a member of Beloit’s thriving business community", said David A. Brand, President & CEO.

In addition to increasing its geographic reach, the Beloit plant will expand Spray-Tek’s dairy based specialty ingredients and specialty infant nutrition platforms. “Getting closer to the source of our raw materials and simplifying the supply chain will be an advantage for our customers,” said Ray Rambowski, Chief Operating Officer.  “Beloit will have specialized technology to support these two important platforms where we continue to see growth.”

Brokerage services for Spray-Tek were provided by Sam Badger (CBRE's Chicago Advisory & Transaction Services Group) and Scott Furmanski (CBRE's Industrial & Logistics Group).

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "Key supply chain considerations, as well as strong value chain inputs, continue to drive strategic investment activities throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA."

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21

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A specialized ingredient processing company is poised to build a new facility in Beloit after a land sale agreement was struct with the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation (GBEDC).Spray-Tek will build a facility on Colley Road in the Gateway Business Park, with the company set to hire 50 employees in the 75,000 square-foot facility. The 20.8-acre site is made up of multiple land parcels at 3330, 3350 and 3370 Apex Drive and 3305, 3355 and 394 Colley Road.

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19

(Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

Nolan Otremba said his primary goal is to help each student to be prepared for the future while learning new, hands-on skills. One of several major referendum projects in the Beloit Turner School District was to renovate its middle and high school campus. The project involved adding several new classrooms and offering more options in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM).

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16

(Janesville, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

After a worker shortage, a manufacturer of medium-duty freight and refrigerated vans and trucks will be temporarily raising wages and making 150 new hires to keep up with demand stemming from e-commerce. Morgan Truck Body, 3100 E Morgan Way, announced a full-time and part-time wage increase of $2 per hour on Monday.

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15
(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

U.S. Army representatives visited ABC Supply’s National Support Center on Monday to recognize the company becoming the 1,000th partner in the U.S. Army’s Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program.

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14

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

Without a rail spur, Clausen Quality Chocolate (CQC) wouldn’t have been interested in investing $105 million to build a chocolate factory in Milton, said City Administrator Al Hulick.

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12

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

As SHINE Medical Technologies works toward building out its future nuclear medicine production facility in Janesville, it also plans to jump-start production of cancer-fighting drugs as part of a new partnership.

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02

(Rock County, WI) The pace and pricing of homes in the Janesville-Beloit MSA continues to gain national attention, as the area was recently recognized for making another Top 10 list. According to Realtor.com’s review of pricing and transaction data between 2017 and 2021, which was reported by the USA Today, Rock County’s housing market is ranked #6 out of 300 peer MSA locations. The only other midwestern MSA to occupy a top ten spot was Lafayette-West Lafayette MSA.

"This data validates the housing market trends that buyers, as well as sellers, have been experiencing throughout the area's decade-plus economic renaissance", said James Otterstein, Economic Development Manager for Rock County. 

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01

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Local plastics manufacturer GOEX has been riding a wave of increased demand that company officials say has them needing more capacity for more train cars of production materials at once. Josh Gray, GOEX president, said the Janesville-based plastic extrusion company has seen a huge increase during the COVID-19 pandemic in plastic products it produces for restaurant to-go food packaging.

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25

(Beloit, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

Great news: Wisconsin’s public pension system, administered by the Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) with assets managed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB), is one of the best-funded pension systems in the nation.

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24

(Madison, WI) The Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery Grant program began accepting applications today; and the application portal will remain open until June 7th.

Small businesses with annual revenues between $10,000 and $7 million are encouraged to apply. Grants will be capped at $5,000 per applicant.  Funding for this grant program is derived from the American Rescue Plan Act.

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18

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

As The Lincoln Academy enrollment reaches 395, those with the school announced its designation as a Wisconsin Reading Corps site for the 2021-2022 school year, its mascot, colors and other programming are in the works. A program of AmeriCorps, Reading Corps specifically focuses on reading literacy for students in kindergarten through Grade 3.

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17

(Town of Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

The Town Board approved two separate conditional use permits Monday for Kwik Trip to purchase the Paradise Guitars building at 921 E. Inman Parkway. Paradise Guitar, and the neighboring Stop N’ Go gas station will become the site for the new Kwik Trip.

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14

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Even though the ongoing pandemic might bring hurdles to new businesses for months—and even as downtown west of the Rock River grinds through its second major street tear-up in two years—there are signs that a bit of momentum could be returning to the area. Take the planned Wall Street Suites: a 6,000-square-foot set of office suites and a companion drive-thru coffee shop that a set of local developers says could spring up later this year just west of Janesville City Hall.

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04

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit residents and visitors soon will be able to enjoy fine dining fare at casual dining prices as two longtime business partners prepare to open the Liberty House Grill & Whiskey and Wine Cellar at the former Clara Bo and Gatsby restaurant space in Beloit on Liberty Avenue.

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02

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

As housing demand remains high nationwide, the Beloit City Council could take action to approve a development plan to add more single family buildable lots to the Deerfield Estates neighborhood. The council will review a development agreement with NG Deer Path Land LLC for what would mark the second addition of the subdivision.

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29

(Evansville, WI) The U.S. International Trade Commission recently issued a ruling that favored American chassis producers over foreign competitors. A coalition of U.S. chassis manufacturers, lead by Stoughton Trailers, successfully argued to the federal government the pricing (i.e. duties) and related (trade) practices associated with Chinese chassis were causing economic injuries. The government agreed; and its ruling is now facilitating a significant production ramp-up at the Stoughton Trailers’ Evansville Plant. As a result, hundreds of full-time 1st and 2nd shift employees will be hired to meet the company’s growing production needs. For additional information, visit www.StoughtonTrailers.com

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29

(Rock County, WI) According to a new emerging housing markets index, the Janesville-Beloit MSA stacks-up competitively among U.S. metropolitan areas. This index, which represents a collaborative research project between the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com, measured a number of socio-economic statistics ranging from real estate supply/demand and pricing to wages and commute times. Based on these calculations, the overall composite score for the Janesville-Beloit MSA landed it on the 35th spot out of a total of 300 metro areas. 

Wisconsin’s metro areas were well represented in the index, as five of the top 50 rankings were held by Badger locations. In addition to Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana were the other Midwestern states with metro areas ranked in that grouping.

Since the Great Recession, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy has increasingly earned its way onto a number a national rankings – including but not limited to representation on such indices as the Best Performing (Small Cities) and Hottest Housing Market, Best Places for Manufacturing Jobs, etc. A growing and diversifying economy, coupled with favorable quality of life standards and a strong commitment to public/private partnerships, is the fuel that continues to propel the Janesville-Beloit MSA into these national rankings. To learn more about this fuel, visit the Media Room section online at www.RockCountyAlliance.com and make sure to follow the Rock Ready Index: the area’s leading economic dashboard report.

 

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(Rock County, WI) The Janesville-Beloit MSA economy is off to a brisk start, signaling that 2021 is projected to keep pace with – if not exceed – Rock County’s development and growth profile. These trends are highlighted in today’s release of the Q1 2021 Rock Ready Index, the area's leading economic dashboard report.

The annual average unemployment rate for the county, state, and the nation for Q1 was about two percentage points lower than the figures recorded from the last quarter of 2020. While Rock County’s rate of 5.2% was slightly higher than most of its WI metropolitan counterparts, this uptick was linked to the number of residents working in IL – particularly in the Rockford MSA, which had an average unemployment rate of 9.7% during Q1.

During this same time frame, the number of job postings for the region approached 48,000 and nearly 60% of those postings were for jobs in Rock County. Speaking of Jobs in Rock County (www.jobsinrockcounty.com), this one-stop employment portal averaged over 400 job postings - from entry to management / executive level - each month during Q1. As a result, more than 35,000-page views were conducted by job seekers visiting that site.

Housing prices continued their upward movement, as Q1 set another record for Average Sale ($205,085) and Median Sale (186,650) prices, respectively. From a sales perspective, the number of transactions during Q1 were trending more than six percent higher than what was recorded in last year’s first quarter. This figure mirrors the same pace as Wisconsin’s statewide home sales, as well.

The County’s sales and use tax collections posted another strong period ($3.98 million), which established a new quarterly record. While observers will automatically point the finger at the federal stimulus checks as the driving force, collections have exceeded the $3.7 million threshold six times out of the last nine quarters. Since collections are historically the strongest during the second half of the year, it’s too early to forecast whether the County’s year-end collections will be able to match or exceed the $15.9 million mark from 2020.

Despite various wonky factors, the economic development pipeline remained stacked with different investment opportunities. While food processing dominated, manufacturing represented 75% of the overall activity level within the pipeline. This industry sector concentration wasn’t a total surprise, as the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for Q1 2021 averaged 61.4%, which was more than 11% higher than its 2020 counterpart. A PMI reading of 50% or more serves as an industrial expansion indicator. Since this pent-up manufacturing demand is surfacing throughout the U.S., industrial vacancy rates are below five percent nationally and even lower in the Janesville-Beloit MSA.

In response to this appetite and related absorption of industrial and/or warehousing space within the region, investors such as Zilber Property Group (ZPG) have firmly planted their flag in the Janesville-Beloit MSA. As a matter of fact, ZPG’s recent announcement that it will be adding 356,000 SF to its Rock County holdings speaks directly to the volume of market activity. Additional details about the ZPG project are highlighted in this report. 

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter. For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

 

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26

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit native Jay Edwards is a man driven by a passion for helping build up area communities by supporting young entrepreneurs. The founder of Innovate Culture will host a free business networking event on Thursday in Beloit to highlight economic growth through innovation.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

There’s more than one way to start life after high school graduation. That’s what First National Bank and Trust teller Jesus “Manny” Jurado, the son of Jorge and Julia Jurado, said he has learned. He is working full time as a teller following a paid part-time apprenticeship with plans to become an accountant.

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20

(Rock County, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Rock County is shaping up to become a global hearth for nuclear medicine, and the time when that will occur is fast approaching. In separate developments, Beloit nuclear medicine producer NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and its competitor, Janesville-based SHINE Medical Technologies, both announced they plan to go live with nuclear radioisotope production in Rock County around the end of 2022.

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19

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The Beloit City Council on Monday approved a conditional use permit tied to the redevelopment of the former Shopko building into a large, self-storage facility.

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18

(Newville, WI) Frank Schultz, Gazette

Sixty-two homes are planned for the Newville Trails subdivision, located on 39 acres of mostly farm fields just west of the Lake Woods subdivision, according to Rock County planning documents.

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16

(Rock County, WI) Milken Institute released its 2021 Best-Performing Small Cities rankings and the Janesville-Beloit MSA was one of only six Midwestern locations to make the Top 50. At #41, the Rock County outpaced its Wisconsin counterparts – with populations between 60,000 and 249,999 – in several key statistical categories that were evaluated and weighted, accordingly. 

From the dozen statistical categories examined, the stats carrying the most weight were those attributed to short-and-long term employment and wage gains. Even when compared to those WI locations defined by the Milken Institute as large cities (i.e. metro areas with populations of 250,000 or greater), the Janesville-Beloit MSA produced competitive figures.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County’s Economic Development Manager, “This report, as well as other indices, provides critical third-party validation regarding the area’s diversity and growth trajectory.”

For additional information about the report and/or the rankings of roughly 400 locations across the U.S., visit https://milkeninstitute.org .

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14

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Kwik Trip has unveiled plans to build a 10,000-square-foot gas station and convenience store on a commercial lot at 1030 N. Wright Road, near the intersection with East Milwaukee Street.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Cedar Crest retirement community is finally expanding after a year in which it earned city approval and waited out the coronavirus pandemic.

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(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Every day since last March, Lisa Wedel has been in charge of circulating a mobile library at St. Paul’s Lutheran School. Students have taken advantage of the focus on reading. The school’s first- and third-graders recently placed first in a nationwide accelerated reading challenge.

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27

(Town of Bradford) Frank Schultz, Gazette

Three electric utilities have joined to buy a big solar array that is planned to be built in Walworth and Rock counties starting this fall.

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24

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The Ho-Chunk Nation's Beloit casino and resort project took a major step forward Wednesday as Gov. Tony Evers concurred with a federal decision to move land designated for the project into trust status, paving the way for one of the largest entertainment complexes in Wisconsin. 

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23

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

Milton residents are in for a treat – a DQ treat. American Dairy Queen Corporation (ADQ) has announced its new DQ Grill & Chill restaurant is set to open on March 29. The restaurant is located at 1167 Gateway Drive (near Milton’s newest Kwik Trip).

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18

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Though the new store is small—3,000 square feet of retrofitted space in a former gas station—it’s the first full-service fresh food grocery to come to the south side since Pick ‘n Save shuttered its Center Avenue supermarket in 2017.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

In April, Courtney Perakis is bringing back a slice of old-timey sweetness with The Sugar Exchange, a new candy shop and classic ice cream and soda parlor at 119 N. Main St.

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(Rock County, WI) According to a report released last week by Ownerly.com, the Janesville-Beloit MSA notched a Top 25 ranking for the best U.S. “remote-friendly” locations. Specifically, the area was ranked #12 for all metropolitan areas – regardless of population size. When ranked by defined population categories, the Janesville-Beloit MSA scored the #5 spot in the medium city (i.e. 100k – 250k population) grouping. The State of Wisconsin was well represented in this Zoomtown report, as six of the top 25 cities were from the Badger state.

The composite score for the Janesville-Beloit MSA was 71.5. Meanwhile, Madison - which was the top rated Wisconsin city in this report - received a composite score of 73.1. The number one ranking in the nation, with a composite score of 80.4, was Lebanon, PA.

These rankings reaffirm the business case why individuals and families alike are continually gravitating toward the Janesville-Beloit MSA. Housing affordability and access to various (local) healthcare provider options, coupled with safe neighborhoods and schools, and commuter-friendly transportation routes – thanks to the I-39/90 third lane expansion project – are just a few of the top reasons fueling the single and multi-family housing surge throughout Rock County. A diversifying economy, with strong foundations and employment gains within the emerging and/or expanding high-tech sectors, is an equally important variable too.

Ownerly.com is an online, data aggregation and statistical automated modeling valuation (AVM) platform that is available for home buyers and homeowners alike. To develop its Zoomtown rankings, Overlay.com examined and ranked 304 metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas; and a weighting methodology was applied to the following statistics to generate each city’s composite scores: housing / rent values, affordability of goods and services, web connectivity, safety, climate and park access.

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16

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

Indigo Salon and Suites recently opened at 711 S. Janesville St. Crystal Wilkins owns the business.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Zilber Property Group (ZPG) is once again investing in the Janesville-Beloit MSA, by announcing that it is adding 356,000 SF to its Janesville industrial portfolio. Construction is scheduled to begin soon, and Q3/Q4 2021 is the targeted market delivery date. Various value-added, manufacturing and warehousing elements will be incorporated into the building profiles to facilitate flexibility - as well as appeal from certain industries. Both properties will be located in the City's Beloit Ave. Industrial Corridor.

"Janesville is a business-friendly community, with active economic development agencies, and we look forward to working with both to make these projects a success," stated John Kersey, Executive Vice President, Zilber Ltd. 

ZPG, which is headquartered in Milwaukee, is the trade name which Zilber Ltd. markets its commercial real estate activities. With the addition of this pair of 178,000 SF buildings, ZPG's total real estate holdings in Rock County will be more than one million square feet.

The City of Janesville facilitated this development by providing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "Strategic real estate investments in the Janesville-Beloit MSA are continually positioning the area's economy to capitalize on growth and diversification opportunities."

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04

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Layers of frozen snow still cover the ground, but come the spring thaw, three developers could break ground on four new industrial facilities that collectively total 460,000 square feet.

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22

(Orfordville, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

Parkview School District Administrator Steve Lutzke described an “overwhelming” feeling of gratitude about two local residents’ decision to donate a large plot of land to the district.

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18

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A 1,900-square-foot Colonial on Janesville’s east side was in the midst of renovations when the owner put the house on the market this winter. After just one day of showings—less than 48 hours after the two-story, circa-1935 home was listed—the owner landed an offer from a buyer. 

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15

(Beloit, WI) Jim Franz, BDN

Beloit Baseball and the Miami Marlins made it official on Friday, signing a Professional Development License that locks Beloit in as Miami’s Advanced-A affiliate for 10 years.

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14

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

About 20 Craig High School students spread throughout the school’s library Friday, some of them sporting blazers and white button-down shirts and others in dress sweaters and khakis. The students were participating in a peer case study with students from Pewaukee High School over Zoom as part of Craig’s Elevate program, which pairs upperclassmen with an area business to gain real-world skills through projects and mentorship.

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10

(Beloit, WI) Anna Marie Lux, Gazette

Paquita Purnell of Blessed Divine Creations looks forward to hosting the third annual Black Women in Business Expo on Saturday along with two other entrepreneurs. The expo will run from noon to 5 p.m. at Beloit’s Eclipse Center.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

A planned downtown wine bar could be up and running this summer after receiving a tax-increment finance agreement from the Janesville City Council on Monday.

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07

(Milton, WI) Milton Courier

Several Milton High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members competed in a regional event and will advance to the state competition.

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04

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

Rock County was given approval to establish an at-grade public crossing of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad tracks with County Highway M in the city of Milton. The decision from the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads was announced Feb. 4. 

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02
(Rock County, WI) Despite the challenging, as well as turbulent, national landscape the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy notched a number of new records and finished the year in an overall strong position. These pace-setting trends are highlighted in the Q4 2020 Rock Ready Index, the area’s leading economic dashboard report.

The annual average unemployment rate for the county, the state and the nation finished 2020 at higher than normal levels – specifically between four and five percentage points above the rates from 2019. As a matter of fact, these elevated levels haven’t been present in the economy since 2013. Fortunately, the majority of the area’s pains were concentrated in Q2 – where the unemployment rate averaged 13.16%. Fast forward, the county’s unemployment rate in Q4 averaged 5.3% and when compared with Wisconsin’s metropolitan areas, this figure settled near the midpoint between the highest and the lowest. Meanwhile, the communities south of the Stateline along the Jane Adams Memorial Tollway and the Kennedy Expressway recorded considerably higher rates that ranged from 5.9% to 6.9%.

Elevated rates aside, regional job postings surged above the 40,000 mark. Not surprisingly, these “Help Wanted.......Immediate Openings” spikes were fueled by intense demand to fill healthcare, transportation / material moving and production related occupations. As such, online employment boards – such as JobsInRockCounty.com – were populated with job postings that routinely promoted above average wage and benefits packages. During this same time frame, a number of employers began actively exploring and/or implementing workforce development strategies to address fundamental labor supply issues.

The area’s housing market remained extremely brisk, as pricing during 2020 set new annual and Q4 records. Compared to the same time frames in 2019 and 2018, the County’s 2020 average sale price experienced gains of 12% and 28%, respectively. Historically low mortgage rates, pushing into the sub 2.5 percent range, coupled with low inventories in specific price ranges, kept the area’s transaction velocity and volume very active. While nearly 350 single-family permits were issued countywide for new home starts during 2020, an equal amount of pent-up demand for market (and below market) rate, multi-family units remained constant throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA too. An added bonus is that a number of these apartment projects represented infill or redevelopment projects, particularly those concentrated in the central business districts that most definitely could use an additional foot traffic boost during the new year.

While larger organizations with well-oiled supply chains and last-mile distribution networks thrived during 2020’s online environment, smaller niche players found their grove too. As a result of this collective energy, the second half of the year for Rock County generated new quarterly and year-end records – which were about 8% and 11% higher than collections from 2019 and 2018, respectively. For the most part, these gains tracked at and/or above those figures reported nationally. Although the influx of federal stimulus dollars certainly made an impact, the trajectory of the County’s sales tax collections were already poised to breach the $15 Million dollar mark during 2020. Whether those collections would have jumped over $1 Million dollars in a single year without that federal boost, though, remains TBD.

The economic development pipeline, probably more so than any other economic indicator, carried the majority of the pandemic’s weight during the calendar year. As a result, the volume of activity was about 50% lower than its regular or normal annual level. Considering that Q4 2020 represented some of the strongest comparable Q4 figures dating back to 2015, though, there is cause for optimism that 2021 could be a surprisingly active year for the industrial and warehousing markets. Further evidence of these opportunities can be traced back to the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index year-end report, which noted a consistent trend among the 10 sub-components that represent the overall PMI index.

Speaking of industrial and market opportunities, the featured Q4 Rock Ready Index project is Carl’s Place – which is expanding and relocating its business in Milton’s Crossroads Business Park. As a DIY solutions provider, Carl’s Place manufacturers large screens for home theater, golf simulators and entertainment venue applications. In addition its custom screen fabrics, the company also offers a suite of edging and hanging accessories – as well as turnkey kits – to enhance the overall visual experience of its products. A City of Milton Tax Increment Finance package facilitated this 56,250 SF project, which will enable Carl’s Place with enough future expansion room to eventually grow into 90,000 SF.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter. For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

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28

(Town of Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

As initial construction on a new solar energy field is wrapping up, Alliant Energy says the new West Riverside Energy Center is operating smoothly and serving hundreds of thousands of customers.

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27

(Beloit, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

Fairbanks Morse was awarded a six-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The agreement, worth approximately $53 million, enables Fairbanks Morse to maximize and improve engine lifecycle support for the USCG’s 270-foot WMEC Famous Class Cutters.

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26

(Town of Turtle, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A new public works facility will help position Rock County to better handle snow and salting operations once the interstate expansion is complete, according to Public Works Director Duane Jorgenson.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

When COVID-19 temporarily closed the curtains last summer on Casual Joe’s barbecue restaurant in Whitewater, owner Mike Hudec outfitted a mobile food truck and hit the road. Four months later, Hudec says he’s within a few weeks of launching a new Casual Joe’s location in a former optometry office at 30 S. Main St., a space he’s rehabbing to include a kitchen, a lunch counter and dine-in seating.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A Madison taxi service is entering Janesville’s dwindling taxicab market, and it is bringing with it a small fleet of all-electric vehicles. Under a plan by Madison-based sister companies Green Cab and mobile app software company Mobile22, the companies plan on Monday to expand services with a satellite taxi depot in Janesville.

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22

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Spider-Bot is a robotic terrestrial drone made mostly of 3D printed parts that is under development by Janesville tech manufacturing startup GLW Technologies, one of the newest tenants at the Janesville Innovation Center.

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20

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Enrollment for The Lincoln Academy will run from Feb. 1-28, according to CEO Kristi Cole. The application period will be available online on Feb. 1 at thelincolnacademy.com. Parents can apply in person Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at The Lincoln Academy office located at 55 Eclipse Center.

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11

(Rock County, WI) Rebecca Kanable, APG

Rock County small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic received $4.93 million last year through the We’re All In grants program, the largest direct-aid program for small businesses in Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation history.

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06

(Madison, WI) David Wahlberg, WI State Journal

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, one of two Rock County companies developing radioactive isotopes for medical imaging and therapies, said the Food and Drug Administration has approved its new method of making a key isotope that can increase production fourfold. The other company, SHINE Medical Technologies, said it broke ground last month on a 54,000-square-foot facility that will house its corporate headquarters and production of therapeutics.

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06

(Milton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

After a successful first few years in its current location, Timber Hill Winery is pursuing new digs about a mile away that will include its first on-site vineyard.

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30

(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

Hedberg Public Library is teaming up with Service Corps of Retired Executives, or SCORE, in Madison to offer a Business Startup Series of free monthly workshops. The virtual series is designed to offer resources and expert help to local entrepreneurs and small businesses.

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28

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

Carl’s Place, owned by IHT Investments LLC of Milton, manufacturers projector screens for homes, backyards and large venues and golf simulator impact screens. According to a memo from City Administrator Al Hulick to the city council, Carl’s Place has been at 1400 E. High St. for more than a decade.

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27

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Cities struggled with economic slowdowns as the COVID-19 pandemic stalled construction across the county. But a strong base of ongoing projects planned before this year led to sustained development, from industrial to residential growth in Beloit.

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22

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Beloit Health System received national recognition on Tuesday for receiving the highest patient safety rating of health care providers in Rock and Winnebago counties, according to a health system news release. Beloit was awarded an ‘A’ rating in the Fall 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Guide.

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20

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan. BDN

A 2017 Beloit College graduate is hoping to transform the former Kolak Education Center and Roosevelt Junior High School building at 1633 Keeler Ave. into a non-profit community center offering activities for kids and support for entrepreneurship, home ownership and financial literacy.

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18

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette      

When a few developers planned to build a set of new homes on speculation this summer—spacious custom homes with 3,000-square-foot floor plans and $400,000-plus price tags—some local builders might have had questions.

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18

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier      

With the annexation of 115 acres from the town of Milton and approval of a TIF agreement, Clasen Quality Chocolate Inc. (CQC) moves closer to creating a 390,000-square-foot facility and at least 50 new jobs in the city of Milton.

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17

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Blackhawk Technical College’s district board on Wednesday unanimously approved construction plans for a pair of referendum projects, the new Center for Transportation Studies and a fire training tower. The two structures are part of phase one of the referendum construction.

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16

(Janesville, WI)

SHINE Medical Technologies LLC today announced that the company has broken ground on a new 54,000-square-foot facility that will house its corporate headquarters and a large-scale production facility for the Therapeutics division it established last year.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The Monterey Hotel, after decades of citywide anticipation, will once again become a fully-functional member of Janesville's downtown landscape as soon as March 2022.

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10

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Interstate construction at I-39/90 and I-43 remains ahead of schedule as 2020 draws to a close, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Josh Flinkinger, BDN

The Beloit Snappers had nearly everything a major league organization would look for: a brand new ballpark being built, new ownership with a proven track record and easy access to two major airports.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Two projects are moving forward as Beloit could see a Popeyes restaurant and a Jiffy Lube facility at separate locations across the city, according to city planning documents.

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04

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan

Everyone’s invited to the Downtown Beloit Association’s (DBA) Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market. The event kicked off on Nov. 7 at the DBA’s new offices at 557 E. Grand Ave. The indoor markets are Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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03

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

The city of Milton is taking steps to encourage and facilitate the development of a chocolate factory that could initially bring 60 jobs and even more later on. Proposed development by Clasen Quality Chocolates (CQC) includes 169 acres land north of Putman Parkway and 8 acres west of County M, according to City Administrator Al Hulick, who spoke at two meetings Thursday.

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28

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A children’s museum long in the works might find a home in downtown Janesville—possibly in the vacant, historic former First National Bank property.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The city council approved Monday modifications to the city’s COVID-19 microloan program that will specifically aid restaurants as the pandemic continues through winter.

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22

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

When Tiffany Garrison-Stanley started teaching anatomy at Blackhawk Technical College three years ago, she found herself yearning for a more student-led learning environment. With the help of planning, a fresh space and new technology, Garrison-Stanley hopes that’s now an option.

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16

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Student enrollment is planned to start Feb. 1 and staff hiring and recruitment is underway at The Lincoln Academy charter school.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

When Copper Fire Tees started out of a basement last decade, the local cop and the local firefighter who owned the company had one T-shirt screen-printing machine in a residential basement. The startup company has operated for nearly six years out of business incubator space at the Janesville Innovation Center, and during that time the owners’ goals have evolved, transformed and grown.

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13

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Hundreds of newly-built apartments in Janesville are now coming available in Janesville, and hundreds more could be on the way.

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12

(Milton, WI) Kim McDarison, Milton Courier

The City of Milton Common Council approved Nov. 4 a conditional use permit (CUP) and a tax incremental financing (TIF) development agreement for Catch the Wave Swim Club, Inc.

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10

(Beloit, WI) The City of Beloit, through the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), is launching the Small Business Assistance Forgivable Loan Program and the Nano Grant Program to assist micro and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. $60,000 has been approved for small business forgivable loans and $25,000 has been approved for the nano grant program. The application window for both programs opens on November 18th.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Three new retailers will soon be in downtown Beloit as Hendricks Commercial Properties announces three tenants at 406 Pleasant St., the space above truk’t street tacos at the corner of Pleasant Street and East Grand Avenue.

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30

(Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

A virtual business expo is planned for November with the hopes that it will promote support for Black business owners. Rock County Jumpstart will host its first Black Business Week Expo in a virtual event set for Nov. 23—28.

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29

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Chicken sandwiches are the stars of the menu at the newest chain restaurant planned for the Humes Road-Milton Avenue corridor. Blain’s Farm & Fleet owner Jane Blain Gilbertson has made a zoning request on the part of a developer for a new 5,000-square-foot Chick-fil-A restaurant on the corner of Farm & Fleet’s Humes Road lot, according to a city planning memo.

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29

(Rock County, WI) Even in the midst of the pandemic, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy managed to post a really strong quarter. These outcomes, as well as trends, are highlighted in the Q3 2020 Rock Ready Index.

Despite the unemployment spikes caused by COVID, Rock County has reported five consecutive months of declining unemployment rates. While still somewhat elevated, September’s rate of 5.2% was 2.5% lower than the national average; and lower than 290 other metro areas throughout the U.S. Granted, certain industries continue to shed jobs. However, other sectors have doubled-down on hiring activities during these ever evolving times.

Case in point: the number of regional job postings in Q3 exceeded the 30,000 mark and more than half of these postings were attributed to Rock County employers. Not surprisingly, the majority of these openings were associated with the Transportation & Material Moving (i.e. logistics) occupational category. Meanwhile, job openings attributed to Healthcare and Production occupations continued to be well represented, too.

The trajectory for residential pricing continued to push upward, as Q3 set new records for average ($215,031) and median ($196,333) sale prices, respectively. As a matter of fact, both price points established new, all-time highs for the county and when compared to the same time period in 2019, the current Q3 median sale prices were nearly 12.5% percent higher. While Q3’s residential transactions and listings were higher than the previous two periods, they remained relatively unchanged from a year ago. Buyers and sellers alike are increasingly becoming acclimated to the velocity and pricing of Rock County’s residential market. Furthermore, local units of government - such as the Village of Orfordville - are taking note and responding by implementing proactive residential development policies.

Another unforeseen economic upside during these unprecedented times can be found in the County’s sales and use tax collections. Whether attributed to spending-in-place or ordering-from-one’s place, the totals for Q3 represented the highest figures ever recorded in Rock County. At $4.3 Million, these collections were nearly 23% higher than last quarter, and 10.26% higher than the same time frame a year ago. The totals for July and August, in particular, represented two out of the three highest monthly collection periods for the county. An uptick in consumer spending is occurring at the national level too, as September marked the fifth straight month of retail sales growth. If Rock County’s trend holds true, year-end collections for 2020 could surpass $15 Million: representing yet another new record.

The economic development pipeline, more so than any other economic indicator in Q3, carried most of the pandemic’s weight. Specifically, the overall volume of activity and its corresponding project attributes (i.e. investments and employment) were dampened by national COVID-19 and presidential election sentiments. While the Purchasing Managers’ Index has enjoyed five consecutive months of rising values, industrial production in the U.S. fell in in September for the first time since April 2020; and manufacturers and investors alike have been increasingly parking and/or reallocating their capital expenditures. As a result, the number of development prospects in the pipeline is leaner than previous quarters. Nonetheless, record-low industrial vacancy rates and disruptive market forces suggests that strong, pent-up demand is on the horizon.

The featured economic development project in the Q3 Rock Ready Index is the Lincoln Academy, which will be located on Beloit’s Eclipse Center Campus. The Academy, which has a projected opening date of fall 2021, is an independent public charter K4 through 12 school. Extra math and literacy instruction, as well as other academic and experiential career readiness offerings; and comprehensive parental and/or guardian communication and engagement processes; will serve as operational foundations for the Academy. 

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com

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29

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A prospective property sale in the Gateway Business Park could pave the way for two industrial speculative buildings totaling one million square-feet and represent substantial future job growth, according to the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation (GBEDC). The GBEDC executive committee approved a letter of intent Wednesday to sell the 42.5-acre property at 1505 Gateway Blvd. to Phoenix Investors LLC.

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26

(Milton, WI) Kim Darison, Milton Courier

The City of Milton Common Council gave authorization Oct. 20 to City Administrator Al Hulick to execute an offer to purchase approximately 55 acres along Putman Parkway. 

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26

(Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

The latest addition to Beloit’s downtown business scene is intended to feel like home. 5Bar co-owners Levi Andersen and Derrick Wessels opened their brand new bar and lounge on Oct. 16, bringing longtime goals and dreams to fruition.

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24

(Rock County, WI) Frank Schultz, Gazette

Solar power is busting out all over. Alliant Energy said this week it plans to build two new solar farms, one west of Beloit and one north of Brodhead. They would start producing electricity by the end of 2023.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A new outpatient orthopedic surgery center could be coming to the Gateway Business Park in Beloit, according to City of Beloit development documents.

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22

(Janesville, WI) Frank Schultz, Gazette

Remodeling of an abandoned south-side grocery store is underway, with Rock County Human Services and Job Center offices scheduled to move there in 2022.

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16

(Janesville, WI) City of Janesville

The City of Janesville is celebrating Manufacturing Month by announcing the “Coolest Thing Made in Janesville”! October is designated as Manufacturing Month to celebrate and promote Wisconsin's top industry, manufacturing.

With over 5,500 votes tallied, the winner of the 2020 “Coolest Thing Made in Janesville” contest is Post Shields. Post Shields are an innovative solution for protecting existing or new posts from damage caused by string trimmers or other lawn care equipment/services. The simple design gives any outdoor space a luxurious and finished look you'll love while saving time and money on unneeded maintenance

Congratulations to Post Shields! They will reign for an entire year as the producer of the “Coolest Thing Made in Janesville” and will be recognized at the November 9, 2020 City Council Meeting. 

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16

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The soon-to-be new owner of the building that houses Legends Tavern plans to turn the blue-collar downtown bar into an upscale wine bar that he says will honor his family and the building’s original architecture.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

At dusk Friday in the heart of downtown Janesville, a set of automated lights under the bridge decks flashed brilliant blues, reds and purples off the surface of the Rock River. The city and private stakeholders who for years have worked toward the multi-million dollar addition to the existing town square on the river's west side celebrated the grand opening of the square and the bridge, a public-private revitalization effort more than a year in the works.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has proclaimed today, Oct. 9, as USS Beloit Day in honor of the new U.S. Navy combat ship now under construction.

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07

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The city council and plan commission could review plans to convert the Monterey Hotel into an apartment complex as soon as next month, said Gale Price, economic development director.

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01

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Whether they’re saving for college, earning spending money or helping to pay their families’ bills, many high school students begin their working lives in the communities in which they’re raised. But as Magnus Jenson began to think during his senior year about life after high school, he decided to take advantage of the Janesville School District’s apprenticeship program and started working as an apprentice at Scot Forge, a metal forging company in Clinton.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The plan to bring a new Stateline Boys and Girls Club facility to downtown Beloit is one step closer to reality after the Beloit City Council took action Monday to approve the project’s master land use plan.

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22

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Willowick Senior Living is bringing some of the latest approaches in memory care with the opening of its sixth assisted living community, Willowick Beloit Campus at 3024 S. Bartells Drive.

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(Janesville, WI)  Blackhawk Technical College

BTC is delighted to report that $268,357 in Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) grants have been secured for four individual companies and two consortium-based projects.

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10

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN      

Construction continues on the Wright and Wagner Lofts in downtown Beloit as Hendricks Commercial Properties looks to hold onto the historic feel of the site’s past uses.   The 74,600-square-foot, 54-unit residential apartment community builds off the success of the Phoenix Apartments that opened in 2014 on Grand Avenue, with demand still high for downtown housing.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Cedar Crest’s second phase of expansion cleared the plan commission Tuesday night when the panel voted to approve a conditional-use permit amendment and rezoning for the senior living community.

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08

(Orfordville, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Another heavyweight of downtown commerce has joined the village’s ranks. It’s The Sassy Farm Chicks Quilt Company, and it’s bringing in fans from afar and creating new participants in its wake.

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04

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

After months of uncertainty, the former First National Bank building in downtown Janesville is in new hands. Blackhawk Community Credit Union intends to sell the circa-1913 bank to the Forward Janesville Forward Foundation, the two groups announced late Thursday.

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04

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Kwik Trip is ready to submit plans to the city on what an official with the company said would be the largest Kwik Trip store to date. The proposed Kwik Trip store, gas station and car wash at the former Maurer’s Market at 2822 E. Milwaukee St., would be larger than any of the chain’s other stores because of the addition of a liquor store.

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02

(Janesville, WI) 

Blackhawk Technical College Foundation announced on Sept. 2, 2020, the creation of a new scholarship to fully fund two students beginning in Jan. 2021.

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02

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

“With all the challenges we are facing today in our world, The Lincoln Academy is a beacon of hope for our children and for our future.”That’s what founding CEO of The Lincoln Academy and Master of Ceremonies Kristi Cole said as she kicked off the ceremony for the official groundbreaking held Wednesday morning at the site of the new school, 608 Henry Ave., on the Eclipse Campus.

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02

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

SHINE Medical Technologies has landed $80 million in financing the company says will help it commercialize radioisotopes it plans to produce for medical testing and cancer therapy.

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27

(Orfordville, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

A 36-home development is scheduled to begin soon in the village, and the village board has approved a $250,000 incentive for the project.

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25

(Janesville, WI) Adams Publishing Group

Students in grades K-12 and adult learners can get online help with math, reading, writing, science and social studies at Rock County librariesThe county’s seven libraries, including Hedberg Public Library, are partnering with Brainfuse, an online tutoring provider that serves libraries, school districts and colleges and universities nationwide.

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25

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Beloit College will offer up to two semesters tuition-free for students post-graduation to help them recoup valuable experiences lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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19

(Rock County, WI)  According to the Q2 2020 release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA continues to exhibit strengths – even in the midst of the pandemic. Details regarding these trends are highlighted below.

While COVID-19 has definitely elevated unemployment rates, those numbers are slowly beginning to decline. For the first half of 2020, there was a stark contrast between the rates: Q2's rates were basically three times higher than Q1, with the largest spikes recorded during the months of April and May. The silver lining, though, is that these rates should continue to push downward. Whether these rates settle back into the five percent (or lower) range remain TBD. Nonetheless, employers that were fortunate to remain fully-staffed during the pandemic’s first wave, also represent the same group of businesses that were experiencing pre-COVID labor pressures. Consequently, there's a healthy supply of regional job openings connected to the logistics and manufacturing sectors, respectively.

The surge in local housing prices remained very strong, as the first half of 2020 established pricing records. As a matter of fact, Q2’s average sale ($193,097) and median sale ($176,333) prices represent new, all-time high price points for the county. Compared to the same time period in 2019, Q2’s average sale prices were six percent higher; and 15% above what was recorded in 2018. Nationally, housing starts increased by almost 23% during the month of June. Meanwhile, the number of permits issued throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA for new, single-family homes is trending more than 40% higher than a year ago. 

The County’s sales and use tax collections for Q2 established a new benchmark at $3.58 Million – representing about a seven percent increase over the same time frame a year ago. This outcome isn’t necessarily a surprise, as nationally Q2 recorded two straight months of increased retail spending - with June posting nearly an 8.5% increase. Whether area consumers continue to spend as briskly throughout the remainder of 2020 remains questionable. Nevertheless, preliminary data suggests that countywide sales tax collections might remain consistent enough to reach or exceed the $15 Million threshold by year-end. Reaching this milestone, however, will not be achievable if the economy were to be subjected to another round of strict, COVID-related public health mandates. 

Without a doubt, the pandemic definitely impacted the activity level within the economic development pipeline - particularly in terms of activity volume. Case in point: the number of projects were about 50% lower than what's been historically recorded in the first six months of the year during the last decade. These same types of general activity trends were happening throughout the nation, as well. The notable exceptions, of course, were projects tied to certain industrial and logistics investments - such as food processing and e-commerce. Nationally, more than 90% of the new industrial buildings under construction in 2020 represent warehouse / distribution product.

Despite this decline in local volume, the quality (as defined by total square footage, employment forecasts and capital investment projections) remains relatively on par with Q2 data from previous years. Once an adequate level of economic certainty and stability resurfaces nationally, the pent-up demand for capital expenditures and (industrial / warehousing) real estate is anticipated to be sizable. Proactively planning and positioning for this upside will most certainly help define a community's or region's (post-COVID) economic trajectory. 

The Q2 RRI featured economic development project is Beloit's future addition to its downtown: a new home for the Class A affiliate of the Oakland A's minor league baseball team. Slated to open in 2021, the stadium will provide top-notch fan amenities during the season and offer an array of available uses for non-baseball activities throughout the year. This $32+ million dollar investment will further enhance Beloit's commitment to redeveloping and investing in properties that are located in the Rock River corridor.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

 

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19

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN      

The Amazon fulfillment center in Beloit is now open after just eight months of construction on the 1 million-square-foot facility in the Gateway Business Park, as major economic development projects in the city continue despite COVID-19 disruption.

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18

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Plans for a new facility for the Stateline Boys and Girls Club in Beloit moved forward on Monday night as the Beloit City Council approved the sale of land to the organization. Following a closed session, the council approved the sale of land located at 202 Maple Ave., 1500 Shore Drive and a northern portion of 1459 Sixth St.

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14

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

After two years of preparation and a change to construction plans due to COVID-19, Visit Beloit is expected to occupy the former Angel Museum property at 656 Pleasant St., by the end of the year, according to Visit Beloit Executive Director Celestino Ruffini.

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06

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

La Casa Grande and Domenico’s owner Peter Gabriel is developing the historic Fourth Street corridor to offer more dining and entertainment options in the city.

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(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Milton Courier

Milton is in for a treat. American Dairy Queen Corporation announced plans to bring a DQ Grill & Chill restaurant to Milton. According to a news release sent to the Milton Courier on Tuesday, the restaurant is set to open at the end of the year.

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27

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Those interested in working at the Amazon fulfillment center in Beloit can now look into career options as the company announced plans to hire 500 people.

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26

(Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN Staff

Residents hitting the town for drinks and food had a new outdoor experience over the weekend in downtown Beloit.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Don't you dare call it the Janesville Mall. The shopping mall at 2500 Milton Ave. has bee renamed. Its new moniker? Uptown Janesville.

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(Rockford, IL) Brandon Giesey, WIFR TV

Many across the Stateline saw their place of employment close during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them stuck in the unemployment line but one organization is trying to get them back to work.

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(Madison, WI) WEDC

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.

 

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

East Grand Avenue businesses will spill out into the street for a unique downtown dining event that’s set to run through the summer and into the fall as restaurants look to make it through the COVID-19 disruption.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

A new report aimed at spurring economic growth in Beloit and the Stateline Area shows the region is ripe with future business opportunities

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07

(Madison, WI) Conner Smyth, WTCS

The thousands of students seeking to transfer credits from a Wisconsin technical college to one of the state’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities will have a much easier time in the future thanks to a historic, comprehensive agreement.

Dr. Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU), and Dr. Morna K. Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), recently signed the WAICU-WTCS Course Credit Transfer Agreement.

“Streamlining the process to transfer credits from a technical college to a four-year private college opens doors for more students to earn bachelor’s degrees in Wisconsin,” Wegenke said. “Our private colleges have longstanding relationships with the technical colleges, and this new agreement will make a difference as the state strives to increase the level of educational attainment and improve our position in the competitive knowledge economy.”

More than a dozen popular introductory courses are included in the agreement, such as chemistry, psychology, and speech. Under the agreement, specified technical college credits will count toward requirements for a bachelor’s degree at a private college, provided the student earned a grade of “C” or better within the last ten years. Technical college students must also meet the admissions requirements of the private college.

“Wisconsin’s private colleges and universities have long been leaders in recognizing the rigor of a technical college education, and the value of creating transfer opportunities for our students,” Foy noted. “This agreement sets a strong foundation for the future by allowing all of our institutions – in both sectors – to make lifelong learning opportunities even clearer for students.”

The two organizations have negotiated "course equivalencies" that provide great value to transfer students by reducing or eliminating the need to spend extra time and money retaking courses. The ability to smoothly transfer credits provides more flexibility for students — especially those who wish to start their college career close to home as well as nontraditional students who are already in the workforce and are looking to further their careers with bachelor’s degrees. With the new agreement in place, students can look forward to an educational experience that is more efficient and simpler to navigate, while shortening the time to graduation and reducing costs for students.

All 16 technical colleges are participating, in addition to a first cohort of WAICU-member institutions, including: Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch University, Carroll University, Carthage College, Concordia University Wisconsin, Edgewood College, Herzing University, Lakeland University, Marian University, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Mount Mary University, Northland College, Viterbo University, and Wisconsin Lutheran College.

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(Rock County, WI) Gregg Bosak, SWWDB

Three free drive-thru job fairs are being offered from noon-4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15 in Janesville, Beloit and Monroe. It is part of a statewide, unified effort to let job seekers know that there are still opportunities available in our area.

The three locations include the Janesville Mall (near the old J.C. Penney parking lot), 2500 Milton Ave., Janesville; the Beloit Public Library near the Eclipse Center (in the Blackhawk Tech tent), 605 Eclipse Blvd., Beloit; and the parking lot of the Blackhawk Tech campus, 210 4th Ave, Monroe.

There is no cost for companies and businesses to provide a one-page recruitment flyer in packets that are being assembled for the event. They are due by July 8 at 4 p.m. Flyers can be printed on one or both sides of an 8.5” X 11” page or smaller. It can include the company name, location and logo; available positions; how to apply; details about the company benefits and/or wages; what makes the company special and services or products provided; and contact information is a job seeker would like to reach out to the company. The flyer must include the company’s equal opportunity statement.

Each car attending the event will be given one bag by staff wearing gloves and masks. 

While the majority of Wisconsin’s Job Centers remain closed, including those in the SWWD’s six-county district, members of the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association (WWDA)’s 11 districts have developed this statewide initiative. For a listing of all locations statewide, open positions, and instructions for job seekers, visit this link.


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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Janesville greenhouse components maker Green-Tek is relocating to the former Regal Beloit Corp.'s Durst manufacturing campus in Shopiere, a move officials said will help Green-Tek and its sister company expand their operations.

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24

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Fairbanks Morse has been awarded a purchase order by Huntington Ingalls Industries to build and deliver the four main propulsion diesel engines that will power the U.S. Navy’s newest Landing Platform/Dock (LPD) ship, LPD 31.

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(Janesville, WI) Ashely McCallum, Gazette

Under the new, temporary process, Building Director Tom Clippert will have authority to review and approve requests for outdoor seating.

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23

(Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, BDN

With community growth in mind, Rock County Jumpstart continues to uplift minority business owners in the Beloit area.

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18

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Amazon is “meeting and beating” construction targets for the Beloit fulfillment center project, according to Beloit Planning and Building Services Director Drew Pennington.

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16

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Construction is starting on a new downtown stadium for the Beloit Snappers. The construction project is expected to take a year, with the stadium expected to be ready in June of 2021. Construction was originally planned for April before COVID-19 forced a delay in work, in turn pushing back the opening estimate that was originally set for April of 2021.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The Beloit City Council on Monday approved a 20-year lease and development agreement with the Riverbend Stadium Authority, the entity tasked with facility and property management of the 3,500 seat ABC Supply Stadium on Shirland Avenue near the Rock River.

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07

(Milton, WI) Kim McDarison, Milton Courier

Milton residents Aaron and Rebekah Falk have purchased the former General Case manufacturing building, 201 Sunnyside Dr., and are remodeling the 10,080-square-foot space to serve as the new headquarters and help center for DiMAX Office Solutions

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03

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Kids First Beloit announced construction will begin at The Lincoln Academy, 608 Henry St. this month and provided architectural renderings of the soon-to-be-built school.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Construction at the Beloit Public Library (BPL) remains on schedule amid COVID-19.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Ashely McCallum, Gazette

The Janesville City Council on Tuesday approved a citywide economic recovery plan, including the start of a small-business microloan program that could help businesses that were ineligible for other government help.

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26

(Town of Fulton, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Alliant Energy has announced it intends to buy a planned solar farm project in northern Rock County as the electric utility makes a major foray into solar power. In separate announcements Tuesday, Alliant and renewable energy developer Geronimo Energy said Alliant will buy North Rock Solar, a 50-megawatt solar power development Geronimo plans to build on 440 acres of farmland in the town of Fulton.

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20

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Fairbanks Morse has been awarded a contract by Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) to build and deliver the main propulsion diesel engines (MPDE) for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC), the INGHAM (WMSM-917), which will be constructed by ESG in Panama City, Florida. The engines will be built by Fairbanks Morse at its Beloit manufacturing facility.

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19

(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

The safer-at-home order in Rock County will end Thursday. Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, the order will be replaced with a “phased reopening plan,” county health officer Marie-Noel Sandoval said in a press conference Tuesday.

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19

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

The University of Wisconsin, Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) issued a conditional approval of the charter school application for The Lincoln Academy on May 15.

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16

(Town of Beloit, WI) Brad Allen, Beloit Daily News

The newly completed West Riverside Energy Center is now serving customers in the Stateline Area, Alliant Energy officials said Friday.

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07

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Company growth at NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes remains uninterrupted by COVID-19, according to CEO Steve Merrick.

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04

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Rock County tourism data from 2019 shows an increase in visitor spending locally compared to 2018.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Forward Janesville is pitching to state officials and area communities a framework to safely restart local economies that have been halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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22

(Rock County, WI) The results from the statewide COVID-19 impact assessment are in and those findings underscore just how fragile the economic landscape has become in a relatively short period of time. Statewide, 35% of the businesses participating in the assessment reported that closures are on the horizon if the current pandemic-related conditions persist more than three months. The impact assessment represents a collaborative statewide project – engaging various local, county, regional and statewide economic and workforce development partners – that collected and analyzed data during the first ten days of April 2020, from nearly 2,550 businesses.

The results provide a chilling view of how Wisconsin’s COVID-19 related public health mandates have impacted businesses. Economic losses, particularly those related to business income, were pegged at $126 million. Meanwhile, inventory losses were estimated at $95 million and direct employee wage (and productivity) losses were projected at more than $26 million. Other direct, as well as indirect, economic impacts were valued at $404 million. At the time this data was collected, respondents were already reporting job losses at about 8,800.

Nearly 120 businesses from the Janesville-Beloit MSA participated in the survey and their feedback mirrors (albeit scaled and proportional) what was reported statewide: $1 million in lost business income; inventory losses at $4 million; and other related negative impacts were estimated at $1 million. The number of job losses were already reported nearing the 250 level. “This type of initial quantitative data paints a bleak picture, and this is exactly why the County recently approved its COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Loan Fund,” said James Otterstein, Rock County’s Economic Development Manager.

“The conditions reported here represent companies’ efforts to adapt to changing conditions,” said Jeffrey Sachse, director of UWO’s Center for Customized Research and Services (CCRS). “These impacts are certain to rise when we revisit these companies in a month, two months and six months’ time. The assistance that these companies require and the effects felt throughout the state’s economy are both unprecedented and continuous.”

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said the report “reinforces a lot of what I’m hearing when I talk with businesses; and Our Wisconsin Ready effort will provide additional guidance and resources as we begin our state’s recovery efforts.” 

“Responding firms suggested that their greatest immediate needs are access to greater liquidity in the form of low-interest loans, grants and access to customers. This closely mimics trends reflected in the national policy debate and recent surveys reported by the Federal Reserve Board and Small Business Administration,” Sachse said. 

This statewide survey is the first in a series that will track the economic impacts of COVID-19. Responding companies will be surveyed again, during the next three months and likely into the foreseeable future, with results released during the third week of each month. Companies are invited to continue to respond to the initial survey at http://uwo.sh/covid-19-econ-disruption . For additional information about the survey and its results, including accessing interactive countywide and/or regional data reports, visit http://uwosh.edu/ccrs/covid-19-survey .

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17

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

The Ho-Chunk Nation’s casino and resort plan in Beloit took a major step forward Thursday, receiving federal approval and moving the project one step closer to a potential groundbreaking.

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(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

The Rock County Board has approved a $1 million emergency loan program to keep small businesses from closing permanently in the current struggling economy. The Rock County COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Loan Fund will lend up to $20,000 to a small business that is experiencing financial problems attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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10

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable Adams Publishing Group

With the increased demand for food and medical products during the COVID-19 pandemic, Charter NEX Films headquartered in Milton has been busy. The manufacturer makes specialty films for flexible food packaging, personal protective equipment and for other markets at its seven production facilities.

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10

(Janesville, WI) – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rock County Board of Supervisors recently approved a $1 million dollar emergency loan program. This fund, known as the Rock County COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Loan Fund (SBLF), is designed to assist small businesses in Rock County that are experiencing financial difficulties which are directly attributed to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum loan amount available to an eligible applicant will be capped at $20,000; and the proceeds from that loan will be weighted toward small businesses that are seeking bridge and/or long-term, permanent working capital financing to help stabilize, sustain, strengthen or restart their operations. The online SBLF application portal is tentatively scheduled to open on April 24, 2020.

“We recognize the economic hardships that our small businesses, particularly those with fewer than 20 employees, are experiencing and we wanted to help”, said J. Russell Podzilini, Rock County Board of Supervisors Chair. An appointed seven-member Loan Fund Committee, consisting of four Board of Supervisors and three members of the public, will be in charge of the SBLF. Meanwhile, the County’s Planning, Economic and Community Development Department will manage the fund’s day-to-day operations.

While the SBLF is open to all for-profit, private-sector businesses that are considered in good standing and not operating as home-based businesses, funding will be prioritized for service producing businesses – particularly those that are independent (i.e. non-franchise) and businesses that support the hospitality and business services sectors, respectively. These loans will be structured as low-interest, working capital loans with terms that have an ability to extend up to 60-months. These specific details, as well as final loan making decisions, will be determined by the Loan Fund Committee.

County Administrator Josh Smith noted, “Economic recovery efforts are fueled by public / private partnerships, and this emergency small business fund reinforces the County’s commitment to keeping those partnerships active and functional.”

“This is another tool that our team can deploy to facilitate, as well as accelerate, economic repositioning and revitalization efforts throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA”, said James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager.

The SBLF will remain active until the funds are exhausted; and opportunities to leverage, solicit, receive and/or comingle non-County funding streams will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Additional SBLF information will be available online at this link in the coming weeks.

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29

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Last week, Janesville plastic packaging manufacturer Prent Corp. learned that Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville had a shortage of personal protective gear it needs to handle the worsening coronavirus crisis. Effective this week, the Prent, a custom plastics thermoforming company, has a production line dedicated solely to manufacture of plastic face shields.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The COVID-19 crisis has mobilized Janesville fabric mill Monterey Mills to pivot quickly into producing a safety item officials say is in desperately short supply: cloth face masks.

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18

(Rock County, WI) In response to COVID-19, the federal and state governments have released and/or expanded financial programming to assist businesses with their fixed costs during these unprecedented times. Additional details are provided below.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has added COVID-19 to its portfolio of Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs. Long-term, fixed-rate loans are available to assist businesses as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19. For additional information, contact WI's SBA District Office and/or a local lender.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation announced that it is offering $20,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. These grants will be administered through WI's network of Community Development Financial Institutions. For additional information, click here.

Additional state and federal COVID-19 information is available online by visiting this link visiting this link.

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11

(Town of Fulton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

A 440-acre solar farm is coming to the town of Fulton after the project was approved unanimously by the town board at its meeting Tuesday.

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08

(Janesville, W) Frank Schultz, Gazette

Nathan Burkart and his twin brother, Alex, were staples in the Janesville children’s theater group, SpotLight on Kids, in the 1990s. Burkart is executive director of the Janesville Performing Arts Center, which didn’t exist when he was a child actor.

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03

(Beloit, W) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Blackhawk Technical College and the Beloit Public Library are growing a partnership that started in 2018.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

David Hiller believes Janesville should be a talent importer, not a talent exporter. Hiller, CEO of Advantage Land and Amwood Homes, said he often meets people who work in Janesville but live somewhere else. He wants to change that.

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25

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

A 92-unit affordable housing project has cleared all its hurdles with the city, and construction could begin as soon as next week. The city council unanimously approved a tax increment financing agreement Monday for the proposed River Flats apartment complex, giving it the final OK for construction to move forward.

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23

(Milton, WI) Rebecca Kanable, Adams Publishing Group

Plans are underway to develop a $1 million outdoor venue at The Gathering Place in Milton. “The Gathering Green” would include a new pavilion, concession stand, restrooms, paved walking trail and 24-stall parking lot.

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11

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Thanks to the School District of Beloit’s newly-launched Collegiate Academy, students will have the opportunity to graduate high school with an associate degree or technical diploma at no cost to them.

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11

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The Janesville City Council on Monday approved and praised a tax increment finance agreement with local developer Jim Grafft to redevelop downtown apartments. Multiple council members thanked Grafft and his family for their plans to renovate two apartment buildings on West Milwaukee Street into five market-rate apartment units.

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03

(Milton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

The city of Milton grew more than any other Rock County city in 2019, a state document shows. Each year, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue releases its Net New Construction Report, which shows the amount of net new construction in communities across the state, grouped by county. The numbers reflect commercial and residential growth minus demolition.

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31

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA wrapped-up the year in a very strong economic position. Highlights from the Q4 2019 report are provided below.

Unemployment rates for the quarter, as well as well as for the entire year, remained below four percent at the local, state and national levels. As a matter of fact, the annual average rates for 2019 and 2018 were nearly identical, with only a few tenths of one percentage point separating the two calendar years. Meanwhile, the number of regional job posting recorded in 2019 were 18% higher than the previous year. This jump in job postings helped boost the average number of monthly page views recorded on www.JobsInRockCounty.com to nearly 14,000.

Home pricing continued to rise, as new quarterly and year-end benchmarks were once again established. While average sale prices peaked above $192,300 in Q4 for the first time ever, median sale prices surpassed the $170,000 mark for the second consecutive quarter during 2019. These year-end price points represented an eight percent increase from last year’s prices.

Sales and use tax collections remained strong, as the Q4 ($3.91 Million) and year-end ($14.88 Million) figures set new records. Since 2015, these collections have been increasing (on average) about five percent each year. Although collections are relatively steady throughout the year, Q3 and Q4 remain the more robust collection periods.

Investment appetites, as measured by the economic development pipeline, were damped during Q4. This is not a new trend, as the last quarter historically lags the remainder of the year. Despite this tempered activity level, 2019’s square footage, capital investments and job counts outpaced the annual totals recorded during the last five years. No doubt, the combined impacts of the trade war, the impeachment hearings and heightened unrest in the Middle East are impacting investor sentiments.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

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28

(Rock County, WI) Blackhawk Technical College

Blackhawk Technical College has implemented a new earn and learn program in partnership with business and industry, to recruit, educate and graduate students in fields where workforce shortages exist. IT-Web Development student Leonardo Saenz has learned first-hand the benefits of being a Blackhawk Scholar.

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24

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

New details regarding the proposed downtown stadium for the Beloit Snappers baseball team have been released, while the sale of the team and project plans remain pending various approvals.

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23

(Town of Beloit) Beloit Daily News

Consolidated Construction Co. Inc., a design/build firm headquartered in Appleton, has been selected to build the new Willowick Residential Care Apartment Complex and Community-Based Residential Facility (CBRF) in the Town of Beloit.

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06

(Beloit, WI) Construction on Amazon's 1 million square foot, build-to-suit fulfillment center in Beloit's Gateway Business Park is underway. The development, which is occurring on 80-acres of certified, shovel-ready property, is affiliated with Seefried Industrial Properties and Peyton Paisley WI LLC, a division of USAA. The center is expected to open in late Q3 / early Q4 2020 and have 500 employees. 

This project is Amazon's third, large-scale logistics investment in Wisconsin. A combination of state income tax credit and/or local packages helped to facilitate these developments. 

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "The logistics-friendly land use preparation and transportation infrastructure, combined with geographic proximity to major markets, creates a strong business case for cold storage, distribution, fulfillment and warehousing investments throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA. "

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04

(Janesville, WI) Adam Duxter, WMSN Fox 47

A major restoration project near downtown Janesville is continuing to take shape. Formerly known as the Chase Bank location on Milwaukee Street, crews have unearthed the former First National Bank building. To some, it’s been a stark transformation.

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03

(Orfordville, WI) Adam Duxter, WISC-TV Channel 3

A Rock County community is working to avoid becoming a food desert by creating a community grocery store. Food is Fuel, owned by Orfordville native Diana Grenawalt, provides fresh produce, meat and other goods to those living in the area.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

In the last two years, Blackhawk Technical College has established more than a dozen new diploma and certificate programs in response to what local businesses say they need from future employees.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

It’s a niche market: waste oil burners that are used to heat buildings. But Rock Energy Systems, a parent company that for years has produced Lanair and Clean Burn furnaces in a plant on Capitol Circle Drive, is now the undisputed waste oil king.

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21

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Shift Change” is a 35-minute documentary by Bill Roach that skims the surface of the closure of GM in 2008 and captures reactions from former workers and business leaders inspired to lead the charge in turning the community around. The documentary premiered Friday night to a nearly full 300-seat auditorium at Blain Supply Center in Janesville.

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19

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

Compassionate and quality nursing care for an aging parent makes all the difference. In this case, that care led to a $50,000 donation by the JP Cullen Foundation to the Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholars Program.

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19

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

On Thursday, the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation (GBEDC) closed on the real estate sale of the 80-acre parcel southeast of the Colley Road-Gateway Boulevard intersection that's being developed into a 1 million square-foot warehouse for Amazon.

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16

(Rock County, WI) According to SmartAsset’s™ fourth annual study on the best places to work in manufacturing, the Janesville-Beloit MSA ranks among the Top 25 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. In addition to the Janesville-Beloit MSA, the only other WI metro areas to make this list were Appleton and Fond du Lac. To determine its 2019 rankings, SmartAsset™ considered the following statistics: manufacturing as a percentage of the metro area’s total workforce; one-and-four year (manufacturing) job growth; one-and-four year (manufacturing) income growth; and median housing costs as a percentage of (manufacturing) income.

These rankings provide further confirmation regarding the Janesville-Beloit MSA’s strong manufacturing presence, which has continued to expand and diversify after the Great Recession. Since 2010, more than 45% of the projects announced in Rock County – representing expansions, new investments and start-ups – have been manufacturing-related. During this same time period, more than 50% of the annual economic development pipeline activity targeting the Janesville-Beloit MSA has been affiliated with the manufacturing sector. On average, more than one-third of all www.JobsInRockCounnty.com job postings are manufacturing-related.

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16

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The Wright and Wagner Lofts project will add a 52-apartment, four-story building at the corner of Fourth Street and Grand Avenue with potential plans for two additional apartment buildings to be built on space closer to the Rock River.

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06

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

UW-Whitewater at Rock County has signed an agreement with UW-Platteville to continue a program that has already proved successful. University officials signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday that allows students at UW-Whitewater at Rock County to earn Bachelor of Science degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering from UW-Platteville.

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06

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Janesville metal fabricator United Alloy plans a major expansion in Texas that the company said will boost its production capacity nationwide and lead to the hiring of more than two dozen new employees here.

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30

(Rock County, WI) Robin Raven, Forbes   

As you plan your travel for 2020, are you longing for a place with a lot going on that won’t be crowded with tourists? Wisconsin’s Janesville and Beloit are two cities in Rock County that are up-and-coming destinations that are still being discovered by adventure-seekers and culture-loving travelers in the state and beyond.

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25

(Orfordville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Gary Phillips broke out in a grin and shook his head when asked if he imagined downtown Orfordville would grow the way it has in the last five years.

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14

(Rock County, WI) According to Realtor.com’s October 2019 Housing Trends Report, the Janesville-Beloit MSA was rated the 7th hottest housing market in the U.S. Five of the top 10 markets recognized by this report were Midwestern cities. 

The report’s hottest markets are determined by the number of (online) property views per sale, compared to the national average. Median listing home prices for the top 10 hottest markets ranged from $148,700 to $427,375. The median listing price for the Janesville-Beloit MSA was $227,000: an increase of 18% from its October 2018 price point.

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07

(Town of LaPrairie) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

A proposed large-scale chicken and egg farm in the town of La Prairie passed a crucial checkpoint Wednesday.

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01

(Edgerton, WI) Kim McDarison, Adams Publishing Group

Three Edgerton area hotels will begin charging a 5% room tax Jan. 1 to help pay for area tourism promotion. The city of Edgerton and the towns of Fulton and Albion agreed Oct. 1 to form the Edgerton Tourism Zone.

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31

(Janesville, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Rock County has lots of new real estate development underway, steady unemployment numbers and increased sales tax collections, according to the Rock Ready Index third quarter report.

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29

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA continued its positive growth trends. Highlights from the Q3 2019 report are provided below.

Unemployment rates held firm during the quarter, as the sub-four percent range is where local, state and national rates remained. During the month of September, 34 states had unemployment rates below four percent and 12 states (including Wisconsin) were under three percent. Unless something odd surfaces, the forecasts suggest more of the same for the remainder of the year. Meanwhile, job postings continued to flood the region: as healthcare and logistics-related openings represented more than 40% of the “help wanted signs” during the quarter.

Home prices continued to surge, as new benchmark averages were set during the quarter for both median ($174,653) and average sale ($187,220) prices. The average sale price gains were about three percent higher than the previous quarter and nearly eight percent more than a year ago. When compared to the same time frame in 2017, the current average sale prices are approximately 18% higher. With nearly 200 (new) single-family permits issued in 2019, and various multi-family projects announced, the area’s housing inventory is slowly being restocked.

Sales and use tax collections remained very strong, as Q3 recorded another quarterly record at more than $3.9 Million. As a matter of fact, collections have exceeded the $3.8 Million threshold three times during the last five quarters. If the sales and use tax projections hold true, the year-end totals for 2019 could approach the $15 Million mark.

The activity and investment levels for Q3’s economic development pipeline were extremely robust, as its square footage and job numbers were larger than some of the year-end figures recorded during the last 10 years. Even when factoring the weight carried by two large projects, the Q3 pipeline was well stocked. Not surprisingly, manufacturing and logistics-related projects accounted for the vast majority of the pipeline activity. As a matter of fact, there’s been a consistent and steady increase in the number of distribution, fulfillment and warehousing opportunities in the pipeline since 2015.

With strong headwinds geared toward addressing the county’s multi-family inventory, this quarter’s project profile provides a snapshot of what’s happening on the apartment front. Apartment developments in Beloit, Janesville and Milton are slated to add approximately 700 units into the market by 2024. Meanwhile, townhome and condominium developments are contributing toward this multi-family inventory too. Overall, these developments represent welcomed news for employers and prospective employees -  as housing availability is increasingly playing a more prominent role in talent recruitment strategies.  

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Agricultural manufacturers may now ask the city for permission to build migrant worker housing facilities. The first business to make such a request, Seneca Foods, is well on its way to building barracks for the 250 to 300 seasonal workers it hires each year.

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09

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

Kate Olson went to UW-Madison to study civil engineering and construction management. After graduation, she pursued her profession for more than two years before deciding to train to become a carpenter. On Thursday, Olson stood under a red and white awning and welcomed more than 300 high school students from four counties to J.P. Cullen’s Construction Career Fair.

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07

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Online retail giant Amazon is coming to Beloit, and stakeholders want to see initial construction start next week on an expansive distribution center in Beloit's Gateway Business Park.

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05

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Manufacturing Days is a once-a-year, two-day immersion BTC uses to try to kindle high school student interest in manufacturing careers and the potential of job training and learning manufacturing skills through enrollment at BTC.

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04

(Edgerton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Edgerton High School students this year are running a laboratory that raises fish and grows lettuce, and they consider that just part of going to school.

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04

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Stateline Area high school students from 18 different schools ditched the classroom on Thursday for a chance to peek behind the scenes at the local job market as part of the 2019 Manufacturing Days event.

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29

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Margie Siggelkow, who owns the women’s and men’s boutique that opened last week at 39 S. Main St., never figured she would move back to Janesville after she graduated from Milton High School and left for college in Minnesota in 2007. “I thought, ‘Where am I? This is downtown Janesville now? Holy cow!’”

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26

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

The Beloit Snappers baseball team has a new owner, and will be getting a new stadium located in downtown Beloit, according to an announcement made Thursday night. The Snappers will remain a Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team under new ownership of Janesville native and UW-Whitewater alum Quint Studer, owner of Studer Entertainment & Retail.

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24

(Janesville, WI) The Computer Center is relocating and expanding its IT and training offerings, with a heavy emphasis on providing cyber-security and multi-media conferencing services.

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22

(Evansville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Jodi Saevre knows the struggles of being an entrepreneur and working from home. Her experiences led her to do something to help others like herself. She and her husband, Paul, bought a building in downtown Evansville and turned it into a co-working space where small-business owners can collaborate with others and work on their own.

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20

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes has grown quickly in the past year and on Thursday the company celebrated completion of its latest expansion while looking ahead at future growth in Beloit.

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11

(Janesville, WI) Blackhawk Technical College

Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) nursing students are among the best in the state based on rankings from RNCareers.org and Wisconsin State Board of Nursing. RNCareers.org recently announced that BTC is ranked #1 in Wisconsin and is one of the best nursing schools in the nation.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

A new tax increment financing district will assist a proposed 115-unit multifamily development on the former youth baseball diamonds on Woodman Road.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, the first bona fide hotel to come to downtown Janesville since the end of the Roaring ’20s, opened Friday in Janesville.

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21

(Milton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

A proposed 108-unit apartment development in Milton took another step forward Tuesday when the city council approved a TIF agreement.

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06

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The Rock County housing market continues to experience tighter-than-average inventories, and dips earlier this year in federal interest rates and recent gyrations in the stock market have begun to light the market’s fuse.

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02

(Rock County, WI) – Today, more than 150 individuals gathered at Blackhawk Technical College’s Central Campus to recognize the efforts of the 2019 Rock Internship program. Thirty-five incoming high school seniors, from eight districts, and over 20 employers were recognized for participating in this paid, six week earn-and-learn program. The featured segment of the event was the Rock Intern capstone presentations, which highlighted each intern’s experience and worksite.

During the 2019 Rock Internship program, 35 interns were introduced to specific and general career pathway experiences. Essentially, these interns were test driving their future career interests – as articulated and mapped in their Academic & Career Plans – and job readiness skills through the assignment of real workplace responsibilities. Since this work was performed within a mentor-enriched environment, these interns were afforded with meaningful, structured opportunities to develop and apply their communication, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork skills.

Additionally, these engagements opened-up valuable networking connections for the Rock Interns – particularly for any number of future post-internship opportunities (e.g. higher education admissions, scholarships, summer employment, collegiate internships, etc.). Lastly, this talent development program equipped these interns with interviewing, job searching and resume building skills too.  

A diverse collection of Stateline Area employers, including for-and-non-profit organizations and privately-held and publicly-traded businesses, served as intern worksites for the 2019 Rock Internship program. These participants, which included several repeat participants from last year’s inaugural offering, were: Angus Young Associates, Beloit Snappers, Beloit Health System, Best Events, Blackhawk Technical College, City/Town of Beloit Fire Departments, Diamond Assets, Forward Janesville, Frito-Lay, Kerry, HealthNet, Johnson Financial Group, Mercy Health Corporation, North American Tool, R.H. Batterman, Rock County, Rock Energy Systems, SASid and SC Aviation.

Summer 2019 represented the second time this collaborative and paid earn-and-learn program was offered. In addition to the student and employer participants, support for the Rock Internship Program derives from Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB). Additional program support for 2019 was provided by the Janesville Foundation.

Rock County 5.0 is a public / private economic development initiative that was launched during the wake of the Great Recession. Since its deployment, this initiative has focused its efforts toward identifying and nurturing economic opportunities, accelerating growth and growing local assets. As such, resources have remained dedicated toward the following strategic focus areas: Business Retention & Expansion; Business & Investment Attraction; Small Business & Entrepreneurship; Real Estate Positioning; and Workforce Profiling.

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31

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA remained in a strong position. Highlights from the Q2 2019 report are provided below.

Unemployment rates remained locked at historically low levels, as incremental monthly movements during the first half of the year failed to generate wholesale shifts. As a result, the County and U.S. rates were once again below four percent; and the state rate was slightly below three percent. For the month of June, Wisconsin joined nine other states that recorded rates below three percent. In terms of the Stateline region, the average annual unemployment rates for the Janesville-Beloit MSA in 2019 have consistently tracked about three percentage points lower than the Rockford (IL) MSA. Meanwhile, the number of job postings within the region have consistently been sizable – as more than 35,000 openings were reported during Q2.

Locally, the average sale prices of homes climbed upward to reach new, all-time monthly ($197,511) and quarterly ($182,296) levels. By the year’s midpoint, more than 100 permits were issued for new, single-family homes. Not surprisingly, many of these of permits are from new and/or expanding subdivisions. At the same time, progress was made regarding approvals attributed to the area’s multi-family housing stock – as roughly 400 new units are planned for the market during the next two years.

Sales tax collections remained extremely solid, as Q2 set a new benchmark at more than $3.36 Million. Compared to the same time period a year ago, this current figure represents a 10% increase. Despite Q2 typically representing the leanest collections period, forecasts for the remainder of the year signal a strong finish.

Whether characterized as deceleration or not, the extended economy was showing signs of slowing down, and those impacts were definitely visible in the Q2 economic development pipeline. All three categories of activity – square footage, jobs and capital investments – were not as robust as either the preceding quarter or the same time period a year ago. However, these data points by themselves are not necessarily cause for concern because these same figures were equally lean in both Q4 2018 and Q3 2017.

Zilber Property Group’s (speculative) building investment at the corner of STH 11 West and Beloit Ave, which is already under construction, is the featured project in the Q2 report. This building represents the second Zilber project in Rock County; and another example of market and investor opportunity alignment. Even though this project is advancing without a specific tenant, news of this opportunity is already generating interest.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .

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(Milton, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Nate Rogers was frustrated while looking for a place where he could relocate his small business from his dad’s garage more than 10 years ago. After finally finding a home for his business, Badger State Maintenance, on Gateway Drive in Milton, he decided to help other entrepreneurs avoid the same frustration.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Development projects are in full swing in Beloit, as the city prepares to make slight changes to its downtown land use plan. To date this year, the city has issued 611 building permits worth $14.87 million in construction value.

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(Madison, WI) – On July 10, 2019, the Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance approved an overall 8.84% rate decrease for worker's compensation premiums for businesses, effective Oct. 1, 2019. This is the fourth consecutive year in which worker's compensation rates have declined in Wisconsin, following a 6.03% decrease in 2018, an 8.46% decrease in 2017, and a 3.19% decrease in 2016. The latest reduction in premiums is expected to result in an annual savings of about $173 million for Wisconsin employers.

"Wisconsin has long been regarded as a national model for its smart, effective worker's compensation program, and our state's proactive approach to occupational safety and risk reduction is key to the program's success," Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designee Caleb Frostman said. "Workplace safety takes strong partnerships between employers, workers, training providers and other stakeholders, and in Wisconsin, we are fortunate to have so many entities working cooperatively on this front."

Worker's compensation rates are adjusted annually by a committee from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB). The committee analyzes and submits a rate recommendation to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) for final approval. While the overall rate will decrease by 8.84%, the impact will vary based on type of work performed.

"I am pleased to see another significant decrease in Worker’s Compensation rates going into 2020,” Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Mark Afable said. “The frequency of workplace injuries has been trending downward, which is a major driver of the rate reductions. This is definitely good news for Wisconsin businesses and workers.”

DWD's Worker's Compensation (WC) Division administers the state's WC program through a collaboration with WCRB, OCI, Self-Insurers Council and the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council, which is comprised of representatives from management and labor and recommends WC law changes.

Most employers in Wisconsin are legally required to have Worker's Compensation insurance policies. Customers with questions about the law may contact DWD's Worker's Compensation Division by calling 608-266-1340 or visiting the DWD website

For questions about the rate development process, contact the WCRB .

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(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette            

The Rock County 4-H Fair will open its gates Tuesday for another year of animal judging, carnival rides, music and other assorted entertainment.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes announced Tuesday construction on its Beloit production facility expansion is complete.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News         

After five years of the Guzman Family owning Piggly Wiggly in Beloit, the family is ready to open a new business next door – Dulce Vida, which means sweet life in Spanish.

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(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

Consider: For every 1% decline in unemployment, community and technical college enrollment drops 2% to 2.5%. It’s a statistic that applies to schools across the country, and it has been tested repeatedly and proven true. But for the past several years, enrollment at Blackhawk Technical College has crept up.

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(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

After a handful of unanimous 6-0 approvals, including $7.6 million in incentives and a separate city-funded road project, Janesville will soon have 260 new market-rate apartments on the city’s southeast side.

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(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

Janesville’s second year hosting a leg of the 11-day Tour of America’s Dairyland was an undisputed success, organizers said Tuesday evening. In fact, the success was record-setting. Race co-chair John Westphal said the $25,000 worth of primes—cash rewards for winning given laps—was a single-day record for USA Cycling.

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(Janesville, WI) A subsidiary of Wisconsin-based Zilber Property Group (ZPG) will increase its real estate holdings in the city with the development of a 303,000 SF speculative building, which will be located in the Beloit Ave. Industrial Corridor. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with completion slated for Q4 2019 / Q1 2020. The property will be available for single or multi-tenants; and it will have the flexibility to accommodate end users representing manufacturing and logistics-related operations.

ZPG is the commercial real estate investment and development arm of Zilber Ltd., a 70+ year old, privately-held diversified commercial, industrial and residential real estate development and asset company that operates nationally. With a healthy real estate portfolio of industrial properties in Wisconsin and Illinois, this project represents the second ZPG investment into the Janesville-Beloit MSA.

Project engineering was provided by Pinnacle Engineering GroupZimmerman Architectural Studios provided the project's architectural services. Construction services will be provided by the Riley Construction Company.  

To facilitate the project, the City of Janesville approved a Tax Increment Financing package.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "The ability to leverage additional space, coupled with the significant transportation infrastructure investments that have been completed and/or committed to the area, enhances and strengthens the competitiveness of the Janesville-Beloit MSA."

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(Rock County, WI) 

Today, more than 125 individuals gathered at Blackhawk Technical College’s Central Campus to kick-off the 2019 Rock Internship program. Thirty-eight incoming high school seniors, from eight districts, and over 20 employers were recognized during the event. In addition to these festivities, interns participated in employment onboarding activities and a professional development workshop.

The 2019 Rock Internship Program provides a structured six-week, paid earning-and-learning opportunity. A competitive application process, which was augmented by a series of interviews, was used to identify and then match-up interns with their host worksites. Student Academic & Career Plans (ACPs), which serve as the foundational element of the Inspire Rock County initiative, and consultation with school district personnel served as additional match-making resources, as well. 

Over the course of the program’s six weeks, interns will have an opportunity to immerse themselves into a meaningful career pathway experience. In addition to gaining first-hand, career-based exposure, interns will also have opportunities to: develop or improve communication, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork skills; facilitate important networking connections; and sharpen their interviewing, job searching and resume building experiences.

The Rock Internship Program is a collaborative effort between Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB). Additional support for the 2019 program has been provided by the Janesville Foundation, as well.

The following group of employers are participating in the program by sponsoring one or more interns: Angus Young Associates, Beloit Snappers, Beloit Health System, Best Events, Blackhawk Technical College, City/Town of Beloit Fire Departments, Diamond Assets, Forward Janesville, Frito-Lay, Kerry, HealthNet, Johnson Financial Group, Mercy Health Corporation, North American Tool, R.H. Batterman, Rock County, Rock Energy Systems, SASid and SC Aviation.

Rock County 5.0 is a public / private economic development initiative focused on repositioning and revitalizing Rock County’s economy. The initiative’s efforts, which are dedicated toward identifying and nurturing economic opportunities, accelerating growth and growing local assets, include the following strategic focus areas: Business Retention & Expansion, Business & Investment Attraction, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Positioning and Workforce Profiling. For additional Rock County 5.0 information, visit www.rockcounty5.com

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(Rock County, WI) 

A report highlighting the use of the County’s web-based career preparation and readiness platform, powered by Career Cruising, was released today. The Spring 2019 Inspire Rock County Report provides a snapshot of the activity, engagement, and trends associated with this workforce development tool.

 

Since the merger of the Inspire Rock County and the Inspire Madison Region databases in fall 2017, students have access to approximately 1,500 company profiles and more than 1,830 career coaches. The upside of this expanded pool is twofold. First, the career coaching benches are much deeper; thereby, offering more direct expertise for students to leverage. Secondly, more profiles equate to more businesses within a stone’s throw that students can incorporate into their future career-based learning experiences. While job shadowing requests may not always be logistically feasible during the traditional academic year, having advance knowledge about future internship and/or employment opportunities are excellent nuggets to incorporate into an Academic and Career Plan (ACP).

 

Speaking of ACP’s, the number of students and/or young adults using this platform to map out their future continues to rise. Of the 15,000+ student ACP’s that are captured by the software platform throughout the academic year, more than 9,700 of those portfolios have at least one saved career. Not surprisingly, three of the top five career clusters commanding the most student interest during any given month included: Arts, A/V Technology & Communications; Education & Training; Heath Science; and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math. Specific career interests within those clusters, such as veterinarian, video game developer, and zoologists are among the most frequently saved career choices. Each month, approximately 6,000 of those ACP’s have formally identified a higher education institution to pursue after graduating from high school.

 

Although student and instructor logins were not as robust as the previous academic year, nearly 105,000 logins were recorded. Meanwhile career-related page views numbered about 275,000, which was an 18% increase from last year’s totals. While the number of message board posts for this academic year trended lower than originally forecasted, these levels were solid and pushed the aggregate messaging figure past the 7,400 mark. The steady stream of inclement weather experienced during this past winter, as well as the accelerated catch-up activities resulting from those missed instructional days, definitely had an impact.

 

In terms of career-based learning experiences, the number of engagements and participants recorded during the academic year was extremely active. For example, the events held and/or sponsored by the school districts of Beloit, Janesville and Milton numbered more than 815. Combined, these activities reached nearly 1,875 students and accounted for more than 10,000 donated hours by area businesses and/or volunteers. Each of these measurements were higher than last year, with gains ranging from the four percent level to as high as 38%. While a pair of headline events, notably the October 2018 Manufacturing Day and the April 2019 Healthcare Day, contributed toward these numbers there was definitely a strong supply of engagement opportunities occurring throughout the year.


In addition, strong student interest in the 2019 Rock Internship Program nearly doubled the number of rising high school seniors that are participating in this six-week, paid earn-and-learn experience. As a matter of fact, these interns will participate in an onboarding and signing event next week before reporting to their assigned internship placements shortly thereafter.

 

For more information about career preparation and readiness in Rock County, please visit www.InspireRockCounty.org and/or connect 


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04

(Madison, WI) David Callender, WEDC

Wisconsin has been designated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as the first Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone in the nation, focusing on National Guard and reserve members’ spouses, state officials announced today.

Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones (MSEEZs) are an initiative of the Chamber Foundation’s Hiring our Heroes program, with a goal of reducing the economic impact of military spouse unemployment and underemployment on military families. The zones promote collaboration among local and national employers, educational institutions and community resources; build robust employment networks for military spouses; and develop workforces in communities across the U.S.

“We’re pleased that Wisconsin has been designated as a Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone, and especially proud we’re the first such zone to focus on the unique challenges facing spouses of members of the National Guard and reserves,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). “We look forward to collaborating with businesses, educational institutions and community groups to better serve the families of our local heroes.”

“It’s well known that in today’s economy the competition for talent is significant and many Wisconsin employers are experiencing a shortage of workers,” said DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman. “A program like MSEEZ is part of a workforce solution for our economy by welcoming a dedicated, innovative, and experienced contingent of professionals to our great state.”

The chamber’s designation of Wisconsin as the first National Guard- and reserve-focused MSEEZ follows a community engagement event hosted by the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce in February attended by military spouses, local elected officials, private sector employers and state agency partners.

The February event led to the formation of a Wisconsin MSEEZ Executive Committee, which identified four core focus areas. These four areas will serve as the foundation for building a comprehensive strategy to enhance and improve employment opportunities for Wisconsin’s military spouses.

The four pillars are:

  • hiring;
  • training;
  • advocacy and awareness; and
  • education and entrepreneurship.

Hiring Our Heroes has been a key partner for Wisconsin’s nation-leading veteran talent attraction initiative. Equally as important as attracting new talent to the state is retaining and engaging with the existing military spouse talent that already calls Wisconsin home.

The MSEEZ program complements the work underway to attract transitioning service members and their spouses to Wisconsin by supporting a more robust Military Spouse Professional Network and raising the visibility of opportunities for employers to tap into this underutilized talent pipeline.

Military spouses are often overlooked as candidates because their resumes frequently contain gaps in employment or have multiple short-term positions due to the military’s inherent requirement for frequent relocations.

Through strategies developed under the four pillars, the Wisconsin MSEEZ will shine a light on reducing these barriers to employment while fostering connections between employers and military spouses seeking career opportunities, developing local solutions to a national problem.

The Wisconsin MSEEZ will be co-chaired by Rebecca Deschane, talent initiatives director with WEDC and the University of Wisconsin System, and Steven Janke, Marine Corps veteran. The subcommittee chairs of the four pillars are Carolyn Moe of Logistics Health Inc., Greg Peltier of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Leigh Searl, of America’s Career Force and Deb Thompson of Stimmi LLC.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

The final environmental impact statement for the Ho-Chunk Nation's Beloit casino-resort proposal has been completed, marking another key step in the process.

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(Janesville, WI) Greg Little, Gazette

At the Janesville Performing Arts Center, officials are pouring an estimated $300,000 into a new education and outreach space they plan to use as an incubator for local youth theater and musical efforts.

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(Milton, WI) Kim McDarison, Milton Courier

The Milton City Council approved on Tuesday, May 7, revisions for a small business development loan program. A revised application for the program was also approved.

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(Town of Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will be awarding Beloit Turner High School a $25,000 grant to expand its fabrication laboratory, otherwise known as the "fab lab."

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09

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

SHINE Medical Technologies CEO Greg Piefer used a ceremonial shovel Thursday to gouge into mud on the edge of a farm field where his company’s new medical radioisotope manufacturing factory soon will rise. He and others at the ground breaking for SHINE’s long-awaited development had some tough spade work to turn over the thick, wet soil.

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(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the 2019 economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA is off to a brisk pace. Highlights from the Q1 2019 report are provided below.

Average annual unemployment rates for the area and state remained at historically low levels. As a matter of fact, for nine consecutive quarters these rates have held below four percent. YTD 2019, Wisconsin has recorded the second lowest rates in the Midwest. Meanwhile, Rock County’s February 2019 unemployment rate of 3.6% translated into a #28 ranking out of 72 Wisconsin counties. Not surprisingly, regional job postings during the quarter (again) exceeded the 30,000 mark. Based on feedback from area employers, recruiting and retaining employees continues to be a top priority. As a result, the type and amount of resources dedicated toward talent development activities are continually trending upward. 

Housing, particular the average sale price of single-family homes ($165,874), generated another new Q1 record for the Janesville-Beloit MSA. As a matter of fact, the Q1 2019 prices are roughly 16% higher than the pacesetting figures originally established during the same time period in 2017. While the inventory of existing homes is beginning to experience some modest relief, especially with nearly 70 new housing starts already issued this year, construction and labor costs remain important pricing drivers. Based on conservative forecasts, these variables are more likely to experience future cost escalations versus declines.

The County’s sales and use tax collections, which represent a local indicator of consumer confidence, continued to rise. YTD 2019 collections were 12% higher than figures recorded a year ago; and relatively close to reaching the highest quarterly collections recorded during the second half of 2018. Meanwhile, back-filling and/or redeveloping locations that have been bypassed by these strong collections remain a focal point for public and private sector stakeholders. Fortunately, strategic investments in the area’s place-making amenities are fueling a sizable amount of non-industrial development activities too.  

Overall, the economic development pipeline for Q1 2019 was populated by projects that were larger than what was recorded during the same time frame a year ago. While manufacturing and logistics remain well represented, other types of proposed investments are continually surfacing within the pipeline. That said, the probability of those opportunities materializing  - at least at the same scale or pace - are lower than what has traditionally been announced throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA.

Generac’s Janesville Distribution Center announcement represents a prime example, and one that is commonplace for the area. When real estate availability, functionality and timing align a formidable business proposition exists. Couple these variables with other considerations, namely supply chain considerations, the reasons for anchoring an investment within the Janesville-Beloit MSA become even more compelling.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Downtown Beloit received three awards at the Wisconsin Main Street Awards ceremony held at the Heyde Center in Chippewa Falls on Friday.

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(Janesville, WI) Nate Jackson, Gazette

About 600 people are expected to swoop into Janesville next month for a national intercollegiate flight competition hosted by UW-Madison at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport. Thirty colleges from across the country will bring more than 100 small aircraft to the Safety and Flight Evaluation Competition, or SAFECON, from May 13 to 18.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Badger Property Investments (BPI) will add another 100,000 SF industrial / warehousing building to the Janesville-Beloit MSA available property inventory. The project, which will be located in the City's STH 11 Business Park at 200 Innovation Drive, will be designed to accommodate single or multi-tenants and have the capability of expanding up to 300,000 SF. Pre-cast concrete, 50' x 50' bays, 30' clear height and the ability to leverage Federal Opportunity Zone benefits represent a sampling of this property's features. 

This building represents the sixth industrial / warehousing project, during the last five years, which BPI has developed in the Janesville-Beloit MSA.

Angus Young Associates will be providing building design and engineering services, while Gilbank Construction, Inc. will be performing construction services. The property is listed with Bill Mears (Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates).

To facilitate the project, the City of Janesville approved a Tax Increment Financing package.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "Strong demand throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA is continually driving the need for increased Class A space."

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17

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Glen Erin Golf Club will cap off work later this spring on a new $2 million banquet and event hall that will give hundreds of guests a bird’s-eye view of the golf course’s tree-lined 18th hole.

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(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Growth this year in Milton is outpacing what the city saw last year, and three projects the city council approved Tuesday night are certain to keep that trend going.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Medical radioisotope startup SHINE announced Wednesday that the city has transferred ownership of a parcel east of the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport—land where the company plans to build what could be the first privately operated medical radioisotope production facility in the country.

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(Janesville, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News                        

Around 300 area high schoolers learned about the many careers in healthcare during Health Care Day Tuesday, featuring visits to Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) and area healthcare systems.

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04

(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The Milton City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved rezoning 13 acres along Parkview Drive, advancing a plan to develop 108 apartment units in the city.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Since 2009, and more recently, as the manufacturing sector in Rock County has recovered from a major body blow, some areas of the local manufacturing sector have been hot spots for growth and the creation of new jobs. In some cases, the growth is outpacing local and statewide trends.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Ashley Furniture plans to open a new, hybrid showroom and outlet store along Humes Road in Janesville that the company says is a new concept of stores it plans to operate.

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(Beloit, WI) Beloit Daily News

Beloit Health System has earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for Hospital, Home, Health and Hospice Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards.

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(Janesville, WI) Catherine W. Idzerda, Gazette

Think of it as a two-for-one educational experience. Starting next fall, Rock University High School will ramp up its efforts to help students earn high school diplomas and associate degrees from Blackhawk Technical College simultaneously.

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(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The Milton City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved starting a program that will help residents fund exterior home improvement projects.

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(Janesville, WI) Catherine W. Idzerda, Gazette

In 1975, Blackhawk Technical College offered 38 degrees in professions such as ward clerk, drafting and fast-food operations. It now offers more than 80 technical diplomas, associate degrees, certificates and apprenticeships in areas such as information technology, culinary arts, radiology and nuclear technology.

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14

(Janesville, WI) Mike Mathews, Janesville Innovation Center

Janesville Innovation, Inc. (JII) has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to help fund the organization’s efforts to advance the climate for entrepreneurship and small business through the Rock County Entrepreneurial Business Development Program (RCEBD).

Janesville Innovation, Inc. is one of 9 Wisconsin organizations to receive a grant under WEDC’s 2019 Entrepreneurship Support program, which will build-upon the area’s ecosystem by providing customized, consultative services. Nearly $500,000 in matching grants were awarded statewide.

“WEDC congratulates Janesville Innovation, Inc. for being among the recipients of this grant, which enables organizations throughout the state to provide more resources to support their local entrepreneurial communities,” said Mark R. Hogan, Secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “Through this program, we are supporting local and regional organizations that understand the unique needs of their communities and can provide key resources to foster a statewide culture that celebrates and encourages entrepreneurs to build successful businesses.”


According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, the local network of economic development organizations and their partnering service providers have been experiencing a consistent flow of requests from emerging entrepreneurs, as well as existing small businesses.


“Over the past three years, we have leveraged the services of multiple organizations – such as the Janesville Innovation Center (JIC) and Irontek – and thanks to the support of the WEDC grant, we can continue to enhance RCEBD’s offerings,” said Otterstein.


Barry Brandt, Janesville Innovation, Inc. Board President stated that, “While we have a good pulse on the growing entrepreneurial and small business activity in Rock County, it’s difficult to provide the levels of required services with limited financial resources. With a solid foundation already in place, we look forward to leveraging this WEDC grant with local public/private funding to increase our collaborative efforts; sharpen our focus; and expand our services to a larger constituency base.”

Other 2019 grant recipients include: BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation of Milwaukee; Oconto County Economic Development Corporation of Oconto; Green County Economic Development Corporation of Monroe; Couleecap Inc.of Westby; Indianhead Community Action Agency of Ladysmith; Concordia University of Mequon; UW Health Innovation Hub of Madison; and Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council Inc. of Eau Claire.

###

About Janesville Innovation, Inc.

Janesville Innovation Inc. (JII) is a regional, 501(c) (3) corporation that oversees the Janesville Innovation Center (JIC); and the extensive management, mentoring and business assistance services provided to JIC tenants. The purpose of JII is to provide entrepreneurial and small business development opportunities by offering a supportive infrastructure, education, training and mentorship environment. Additionally, JII facilitates the establishment of value-added relationships that encourage technological innovation, job generation and the continual repositioning of the area’s economy. 

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 environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network.  

 

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The long-awaited Children’s Museum of Rock County might finally be getting a home—at the Janesville Mall.

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06

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Generac Power Systems plans to expand its distribution operations to Janesville in a big way. Generac announced Tuesday in a news release that it plans to open a distribution center using the bulk of the 500,000-square-foot former John Deere facility at 2900 Beloit Ave.

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(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA finished the year in a strong position. Highlights from the Q4 2018 report are provided below.

For the eighth consecutive quarter, the average annual unemployment rate for the county and state remained under four percent. It’s been 18 years since the national rate locked-in at or near this same range. During 2018, Wisconsin’s monthly rates consistently kept it among the ranks of the lowest Top 10 or 15 in the nation. Not surprisingly, these same low rates were common across Wisconsin’s metro areas and the rate differentials - from the lowest to the highest - were generally about one percentage point (+/-). Coupled with labor force participation rates that are among the highest in the nation, it’s no wonder that help wanted signs are the new norm. That is why there is a heightened awareness locally concerning career awareness, exposure and preparation.

The residential market remained extremely robust, as Average Sale ($168,177) and Median Sale Prices ($156,333) for Q4 set a new county record. When compared to the Median Sale Prices of 2017 and 2016, the 2018 figure was 13% and 15% higher, respectively. After a 10-year lull, the number of permits issued in 2018 for (new) single-family homes finally climbed past the 230 threshold. Despite this activity uptick, depleted single-and-multi-family inventories remained a popular conversation. Hopefully, favorable economics and timely partnerships will align to advance some projects during the new calendar year.

As a measure of consumer confidence, the County’s sales and use tax collections clearly signals the area’s economy is doing well. Not only were the cash registers ringing strong during the Holiday Season, but also throughout the entire calendar year too. As such, the quarterly and annual collections set new records at $3.87 Million and $14.26 Million, respectively. As a matter of fact, the 2018 year-end figure was roughly four percent higher than 2017’s totals, and 37% higher than the collections from 2010.

The economic development pipeline was once again populated by a diverse collection of commercial and industrial projects, representing a combined footprint that approached 950,000 SF; job counts of 800; and more than $132 Million in new capital investment commitments. While the usual industry sectors – food, metal fabrication, plastics and logistics – dominated the pipeline, several corporate office and I.T. related projects were well represented too. Overall, large square footage (>140,000 SF) and sizable investment commitments (>$23.5 Million) were representative of the average 2018 pipeline project.

Three specific projects, two industrial and one commercial, are the featured “wins” from the Q4 report. It’s worth noting the NaturPak Pet and Seal-Rite projects were directly facilitated by timely private and public sector investments. Meanwhile, the news of the forthcoming ABC Supply expansion reinforces the significant impacts that corporate headquarters provide to local and regional economies.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .

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06

(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

They say if you build it, they will come. That seems to be becoming the case in Milton. The city has seen $44 million worth of growth, for a 10 percent increase in value, in the last two years, said City Administrator Al Hulick.

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31

(Beloit, WI) Ryan Silvola, Beloit Daily News

Local municipal leaders have their own New Year’s Resolutions, mostly involving growth they want to see in their Stateline Area next year.

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(Orfordville, WI)  Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Beloit resident Gustavo Guzman will soon open Orfordville’s sole spot for Mexican cuisine. Taqueria Guzman will open Friday, Jan. 4, at 100 E. Spring St. in downtown Orfordville.

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20

(Janesville, WI) Catherine W. Idzerda, Gazette

A significant financial donation Wednesday likely will improve the lives of local nursing students, local hospital patients and, eventually, the community. Mercyhealth officials announced Wednesday they will give $100,000 to Blackhawk Technical College’s Nancy B. Parker Nursing Scholars Program.

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19

(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The Milton City Council on Tuesday approved the sale of 5.78 acres to a Lake Geneva tennis company looking to build a new home for the UW-Whitewater men’s and women’s tennis teams.

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·(Milton, WI) Kim McDarison, Milton Courier

With its headquarters located at 265 N. Janesville St., Badgerland Disposal is looking to expand. A preliminary overview of the company’s plans was presented to the City of Milton’s Plan Commission during its Tuesday meeting.

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(Rock County, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Rock County students and employers are invited to consider partaking in the Rock Internship Program. Students can begin applying in January at www.YourRockInternship.com. The deadline for employer registration is Jan. 18, while students have until Feb. 22 to apply.

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13

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

ABC Supply Company is expanding in the new year, with the company to set to build a new central office space in Beloit. Demolition and foundation excavation work on a 132,000 SF, 4-story office building will start in the first quarter of next year.

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12

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News            

The Ho-Chunk Nation Beloit casino-resort development took another step towards a final ruling following a public hearing hosted Tuesday night by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) at Aldrich Intermediate School.

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12

(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

The Milton School District was the only district in Rock County to land a spot on the ninth annual national AP District Honor Roll. It is the second time the district has received the national recognition since the list began in 2011.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

For the City of Beloit, 2018 was an economic development boon. As the year wraps up, city planning staff are taking stock of the year's work: 1,173 building permits worth $42 million in construction value, as of Monday. That's essentially double the figures posted by the city in 2017 (945 permits worth $21.6 million) and even higher than the city's total from two years ago (1,009 permits worth $17.8 million).

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04

(Beloit, WI) Seal-Rite Door is expanding its custom residential entry door design and manufacturing services by relocating, and expanding, its operations to Beloit’s Stateline Industrial Park. The company, which is leasing a 105,000 SF building developed by Hendricks Commercial Properties, is slated to begin operations by mid-2019. Once fully-operational, Seal-Rite will have more than 75 full-time employees.

Established in 1981, Seal-Rite Door designs and fabricates custom ThermaTru high performance, residential entry door products. Seal-Rite is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Palmer-Donavin Holdings, Inc., a leading wholesale distributor of residential building materials in the Midwest. “Our new location will benefit our business and the customers we serve, as well as provide us with the opportunity to expand our pre-finished door business using the latest technology to further enhance the quality of our products,” said Ron Calhoun, President and CEO of Palmer-Donavin.

With a diversified portfolio of more than 15 Million SF, Hendricks Commercial Properties invests in, manages and develops real estate throughout the nation. This project represents the second industrial building that Hendricks Commercial Properties has developed (and delivered) in the Janesville-Beloit MSA during the last three years.

Construction services for this project are being delivered by Corporate Contractors, Inc., while building design services were provided by Angus Young Associates. Landlord representation was provided by Chase Brieman, of CBRE's Madison office. 

To facilitate this project, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provided an income tax credit package.  

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "Strategic real estate investments, coupled with public/private partnerships and supply chain considerations, are the foundational elements that are continuously fueling the Janesville-Beloit economy."

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04

(Beloit, WI) Seal-Rite Door is expanding its custom residential entry door design and manufacturing services by relocating, and expanding, its operations to Beloit’s Stateline Industrial Park. The company, which is leasing a 105,000 SF building developed by Hendricks Commercial Properties, is slated to begin operations by mid-2019. Once fully-operational, Seal-Rite will have more than 75 full-time employees.

Established in 1981, Seal-Rite Door designs and fabricates custom ThermaTru high performance, residential entry door products. Seal-Rite is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Palmer-Donavin Holdings, Inc., a leading wholesale distributor of residential building materials in the Midwest. “Our new location will benefit our business and the customers we serve, as well as provide us with the opportunity to expand our pre-finished door business using the latest technology to further enhance the quality of our products,” said Ron Calhoun, President and CEO of Palmer-Donavin.

With a diversified portfolio of more than 15 Million SF, Hendricks Commercial Properties invests in, manages and develops real estate throughout the nation. This project represents the second industrial building that Hendricks Commercial Properties has developed (and delivered) in the Janesville-Beloit MSA during the last three years.

Construction services for this project are being delivered by Corporate Contractors, Inc., while building design services were provided by Angus Young Associates. Landlord representation was provided by Chase Brieman, of CBRE's Madison office. 

To facilitate this project, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provided an income tax credit package.  

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "Strategic real estate investments, coupled with public/private partnerships and supply chain considerations, are the foundational elements that are continuously fueling the Janesville-Beloit economy."

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27

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

SHINE Medical Technologies has landed a $150 million deal with a New York firm that will fuel construction of its medical radioisotope production facility in Janesville.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

Janesville’s reserve of vacant industrial land will grow by 47 acres after the city council on Monday night unanimously authorized purchase of a parcel on the city’s east side.

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20

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Those with the School District of Beloit Student House Build project have listed the newly constructed home in 2261 Trevino Court for sale, with plans to build two additional home on Trevino Court and more throughout the neighborhood, according to House Build instructor Scott Abbott.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

ARISEnow and the Janesville Performing Arts Center have nearly hit a $500,000 goal in a community fundraising campaign that will fuel improvements to JPAC’s performance and youth education spaces.

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14

(Beloit, WI) Beloit Daily News

The architecture firm responsible for designing the Beloit College Powerhouse redevelopment project has been recognized with a top prize at the World Architecture Festival, according to Beloit College officials.

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12

(Janesville, WI) Catherine W. Idzerda, Gazette

In the past three testing periods, 100 percent of Blackhawk Technical College’s nursing students passed the nursing boards, more commonly known as the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

The Ho-Chunk Nation's Beloit resort-casino plan is taking a step forward. The proposed $405 million project includes a 300-room hotel, water park, conference center, entertainment space and adjacent retail development. Public comment on the draft environmental impact statement can be submitted up to December 24.

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02

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Startup companies and small businesses will have a trendy and unique place to set up shop. In December, shipping containers will be available for rent at Irontek, 635 Third Street.

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26

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economic engine is performing very well. The following trends and observations from the Q3 2018 report include:

For the seventh quarter in a row, the average annual unemployment rate for the county and state remained under four percent. Nationally, this rate settled in at four percent. Wisconsin notched a pair of Top 10 national rankings during this period , including : the seventh highest labor force participation rates and the 10th lowest unemployment rates, respectively. Additional state-by-state comparisons ranked Wisconsin 2nd in the U.S. and #1 in the Midwest for the number of manufacturing jobs created. Construction related jobs gained recognition during this period, as well: Wisconsin ranked #15 nationally and 2nd in the Midwest. These trends played out regionally too, as production openings once again remained among the Top 5 job posting categories recorded. On average, approximately one-third of all job postings on www.JobsInRockCounty.com have some type of manufacturing connectivity.

Aggressive and steep are two words that home buyers and sellers alike are using to characterize the Janesville-Beloit MSA housing market. Q3 2018 registered an average sale price of $173,523 and a median sale price of $160,000: both represent new pricing benchmarks. While transaction pricing and pace remains brisk, some (supply) relief is on the horizon as recent announcements have signaled that more housing starts are planned. For those interested in ditching the joys of home ownership, the pulse remains steady with respect to future multi-family developments. That said, community perceptions regarding location, scale and value of these types of projects create challenging environments that property owners and investors must overcome.  

Q3 was also a very robust period for the County’s sales & use tax collections. With over $3.8 Million collected, this figure represents the highest quarterly total ever recorded for the Janesville-Beloit MSA.  As a matter of fact, Q3 2018’s totals are about 5.5% higher than last year’s highest benchmark period of $3.6 Million. Moreover, the YTD total for 2018 is nearly identical to the 2008 year-end total of $10.39 Million. Absent some strange economic tsunami, the collections for calendar year 2018 are on pace to establish a new record.

This quarter’s economic development pipeline was once again populated by a diverse array of sizable projects, which combined for the following impacts: over 1.1 Million SF; 800 new full-time jobs; and more than $132.5 Million of proposed new capital investments. Projects presenting logistics and IT-related opportunities anchored Q3, while metal fabrication and other types of manufacturing segments rounded out the remaining pipeline’s investments. That said, a lean inventory of available, Class A industrial / warehousing space and a shrinking supply of large, build-to-suit sites remain a priority discussion topic.

Blackhawk Community Credit Union’s proposed downtown Janesville project, along the banks of the Rock River in an area that’s been branded as SOCO, is the Q3 2018 featured project. This $30 Million, 130,000 SF mixed-use project represents the largest private sector investment proposed for the city’s downtown since the ARISE plan was initiated. Speaking of ARISE, a number of celebrations featuring marque milestones and affiliated investments have been occurring throughout the year. Given the trajectory and strength of the area’s economy, additional announcements are anticipated.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For more information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com.

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15

(Janesville, WI) NaturPak Pet, a new venture of natural food manufacturer and co-packer IPM Foods, will be expanding its operations into a new 162,000 SF building that will be located in the Janesville’s STH 11 Business Park. The company will design, manufacture, package and distribute high-quality, natural wet pet food products. Construction is slated to be finished by mid-2019 and once the turn-key facility is fully-operational, staffing levels are projected to reach up to 100 +/- full-time positions. 

NaturPak Pet, which is already leveraging Janesville-based IPM Foods’ BPA-free Tetra Pak cartons, is positioned to capitalize on the premium pet food market. “As a leader in natural food products, with 35 years of experience with packaging container technology, we saw a huge opportunity to expand into the wet pet food market by providing nutrient-rich products and packaging services to pet food brand owners,” said IPM Foods co-owner Pawel Marciniak.

Badger Property Investments (BPI) is serving as the project’s developer, while Gilbank Construction is providing construction services. Architectural and engineering services were provided by Angus Young AssociatesBill Mears (Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates) represented the developer.

The City of Janesville facilitated this project by providing a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package. 

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, “Food processing and packaging is well represented throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA and we are excited to add another company into this targeted industry cluster.”

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05

(Janesville, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

Olivia Combs was surprised by how much she didn’t know about manufacturing. Combs, 15, was among more than 1,200 Rock County students who toured Blackhawk Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Center on Thursday and Friday for Manufacturing Day, a national event designed to “inspire the next generation of manufacturers,” according to its website.

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02

(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

SHINE Medical Technologies now has most of the permits necessary to begin construction at its south-side campus following approval Monday from the city plan commission.

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29

(Milton, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Ashlee Kunkel got to share exciting news on her first day as director of the Milton Public Library. She announced the facility was named the Wisconsin Library Association 2018 Library of the Year.

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28

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Blackhawk Community Credit Union unveiled its intention to build a 130,000-square-foot, four-story development that would include a General Motors ‘legacy center’ along a stretch of riverfront just north of Hedberg Public Library.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

UW-Whitewater officials announced Thursday a major donation the university said would pay for a new administrator who would work as a liaison between UW-Whitewater and Rock County businesses.

The “substantial” donation from philanthropists and former Janesville residents Quint and Rishy Studer would pay for a full-time director of strategic engagement based at UW-Whitewater at Rock County in Janesville, the university said.

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26

(Beloit, WI) Mon Sen, State Collection Service

As it increases its market share within the healthcare receivables industry, State Collection Service has announced additional plans to continue expanding in Beloit, solidifying its reputation as one of the City’s premier employers.  In Beloit since 2001, State has witnessed tremendous growth, expanding its operations in the community three times in just over five years.  It is expected that the company will add nearly 100 more positions in Beloit this year alone.

Company President, Tim Haag, is excited about deepening State’s relationship with the City and its residents.  “The City of Beloit has consistently encouraged our growth over the past two decades.  The community has been supportive of our ongoing hiring efforts and residents have played a pivotal role in allowing this to become our largest call center,” Haag stated. 

The company will be holding a Harvest Festival Hiring Fair on Saturday, October 6 from 10a to 2p at its location in the Eclipse Center (600 Henry Avenue, Suite 21).  Prospective applicants will be interviewed immediately and can meet current staff members to learn more about State’s culture of fun, family, and flexibility.  Applicants will also have the opportunity to receive a pumpkin, with other family-friendly activities like face-painting available.  Vince’s Hot Dogs will be serving complimentary refreshments to attendees. 

About State

Since 1949, State Collection Service has provided quality collection service to countless healthcare organizations.  Through experience and innovation, State has grown to become a tremendously credible and nationally-recognized receivables management firm offering services from pre-registration to bad debt.  It is upon the basis of ethical behavior and a dedication to integrity that each employee works to uphold the company's vision – Partnerships for a Lifetime.

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25

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Redevelopment plans unveiled Tuesday show Janesville’s former General Motors plant site will rely heavily on an attribute few area industrial sites have: ready-made railroad infrastructure.

Actually, under “preliminary” plans that owner Commercial Development Company showed off at a public open house, the site will make even greater use of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad lines that bisect the 250-acre property.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Beloit's newest downtown hotel is ready and open for business, bringing to life the city's rich downtown history with a splash of modern flair.

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18

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Beloit Health System is moving to train the next generation of health care professionals, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is taking notice.

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17

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Diane Hendricks’ commercial real estate firm, Hendricks Commercial Properties, recently closed on a $26.5 million purchase of five Janesville industrial and commercial properties. 

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14

(Janesville, WI)

Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) will celebrate Manufacturing Days, on October 4 and 5, 2018. The event is part of a national effort to inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing. In addition, Manufacturing Days aim to change perceptions about today’s manufacturing environment. BTC is collaborating with economic and workforce development partners, area school districts, and over 30 employers in Rock and Green Counties on this year’s event. Curriculum for the event has been provided by the School District of Janesville.

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(Madison, WI) The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in collaboration with Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity, Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the state’s regional economic development organizations, is hosting five informational workshops throughout the state on supply chain readiness.

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12

(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

One real estate developer is optimistic his multifamily housing development plans—which could bring 250 units to a bustling transportation corridor—will now qualify for city incentives after the council approved a modified policy Monday night.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

An effort to add a new multi-family residential project in Beloit's Gateway Business District may be starting to take shape, as the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation's Business Committee discussed an $18 million development proposal on Tuesday.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The Janesville-Beloit area is among the top “hot spots” in the U.S. housing market, according to a market report by the online home sale listing service Realtor.com.

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24

(Madison, WI)The state of Wisconsin has launched a $1.9 million national marketing campaign to encourage military personnel and their spouses who are transitioning to civilian life to live and work in Wisconsin once they leave the service.

The campaign, a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, is a part of the state’s new $6.8 million marketing campaign aimed at attracting talent to address Wisconsin’s current and future workforce needs.

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(Janesville, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

A development group that spoke Monday at a joint city council and plan commission meeting said it wants the Corner Block on Parker to be the first of multiple projects it brings to the city.

The Corner Block on Parker is a collaboration between Slingshot Architecture of Des Moines, Iowa; Echo Development Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; and Lancaster Investments of Madison.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

Downtown Beloit will see two new restaurants move in later this summer with the openings of truk't street tacos, tequila and whiskey and the Blue Collar Coffee Company. The two Geronimo Hospitality Group businesses will open before fall, according to general manager Klaus Nitsch.

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17

(Milton, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Diamond Assets CEO Mike McKenna said he hasn’t looked at a line chart on his company’s recent growth, but if he did, it would appear as a vertical line—or nearly so. This week, it was named the seventh fastest-growing private company in America, according to Inc. magazine’s prestigious “Inc. 5000” list.

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13

(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

The Rock Aqua Jays clinched their 20th national championship at the 44th Indmar Division 1 Show Ski National Championships team competition at Traxler Park in Janesville, earning 2,115 points. 

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03

(Madison, WI) Beloit Daily News

Wisconsin customers of Alliant Energy will see no increase to base electric and natural gas rates through 2020 under a verbal decision by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC).

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02

(Janesville, WI)

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville will begin using new technology later this month to accommodate a growing need for orthopedic services. The Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System will make its debut in Rock County at the end of the month, said Ben Layman, president of St. Mary’s Hospital.

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30

(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of Janesville-Beloit MSA continues to show strong signs. Highlights from the Q2 report include the following:

The average annual unemployment rate for the county and state remained under four percent for the sixth quarter in a row, while nationally the rate hovered slightly above the four percent mark. Wisconsin, in particular, has the 7th lowest rate nationally. Job postings during the quarter remained equally strong again, as more than 30,000 employment openings were attributed to regional employers. While entry-level positions represent a sizable percentage of these openings, plenty of technical and management-level positions are in high demand throughout the region. For example, this quarter’s Management Occupations postings set a new record with nearly 1,400 job openings. Whether for entry or management level, employers and job seekers alike are reminded to add www.JobsInRockCounty.com to their posting and/or application dashboards.

Interested in buying or selling a house? Better have your checkbook stocked and the moving truck ready, because price points and transaction volumes remain strong throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA. As a matter of fact, the Q2 2018 average sale price of $167,881 represented another new area benchmark. A depleted single-family housing stock, coupled with virtually very few multi-family options, has several communities throughout Rock County advancing this topic into an elevated public policy discussion. In addition to tackling the availability issue, policymakers are also confronted with housing affordability and product diversity challenges too. Rising construction material costs and a very lean supply of building trades personnel are contributing to the rental and buying environments, as well.

Although April’s sales & use tax collections were sluggish, May and June rallied to push the quarterly totals to more than $3.28 Million. If 2018’s collections continue to mirror prior years, there is a strong chance the year-end figure could flirt with reaching the $14 Million mark. While 2009 and 2010 generated lean collections, the area’s continual repositioning and revitalization efforts represent one of the primary forces keeping the local cash registers ringing. 

This quarter’s economic development pipeline was populated by large projects, as demonstrated by these aggregate impact figures: representing more than 2 Million SF; accounting for over 1,260 full-time jobs; and totaling $512,500,000 Million dollars of new capital investments. A diverse mixture of manufacturing related projects contributed heavily toward these quarterly figures, which closely resembled a similar trend from the same time period a year ago. The redevelopment activities at the former GM Janesville Assembly Plan, coupled with a recent speculative project announcement and the start of another related project, will boost the Janesville-Beloit MSA’s industrial site and building inventory.

Given the amount of development activities, this quarter’s project profile section highlights select commercial, industrial / warehousing and multi-family projects occurring throughout Rock County. Combined, these projects will keep the building trades community busy throughout the remainder of 2018 and well beyond 2019 too.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

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(Janesville, WI) Benjamin Pierce, Gazette

Katie Schildgen knows she wants to be a firefighter after interning with the Beloit Fire Department this summer. Emily Hanson, who interned with HealthNet of Rock County, a nonprofit health care provider, knows she doesn’t want to be a dentist.

The soon-to-be high school seniors gained those career insights through the new Rock Internship Program, which gives students a chance to work in their future careers—and in some cases, figure out which careers they shouldn’t choose.

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(Beloit, WI) Beloit Daily News

Beloit Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association's Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award and the Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll award. 

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(Janesville, WI) John Barry, Gazette

The Janesville Country Club turns 125 next year. And what better way to help celebrate the occasion than by bringing women’s professional golf to the state’s oldest country club?

Tentatively titled the Janesville Golf Classic, the 54-hole tournament Aug. 4-6, 2019, will be one of 21 scheduled tour stops on the LPGA Symetra Tour next year.

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(Clinton, WI) Gazette Staff

Clinton High School, 112 Milwaukee Road, will hold a week-long Camp Invention program. The program promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. 

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(Madison, WI) Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

The Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance Monday approved an overall 6.03% rate decrease for Worker's Compensation premiums for businesses, effective Oct. 1, 2018. This is the third consecutive year Worker's Compensation rates have declined, following an 8.46% decline in 2017, and a 3.19% decline in 2016. The latest reduction in premiums is expected to result in an annual savings of about $134 million for Wisconsin employers.

"This is just another indicator that Wisconsin's investments in its employees' occupational safety is paying off," Governor Scott Walker said. "Not only are employers seeing reduced premiums, but efforts to reduce workplace injuries help achieve a healthy labor force, resulting in a decline in rates for the third consecutive year."

Worker's Compensation rates are adjusted yearly by a committee of actuaries from the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau. The committee studies the prior losses (claims) of hundreds of categories and professions throughout the state's employment pool and submits a rate recommendation to the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, which has final approval over the rates.

“A safe workplace results in a more productive and profitable one for employers," Commissioner of Insurance Ted Nickel said. "Employers are recognizing the relation between their employees' safety and the savings that ensue as premiums continue to decline."

These savings will allow Wisconsin businesses to continue to strengthen their profitability while at the same time ensuring a safe work environment, according to Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen.

"The Wisconsin business community has much to be proud of," Secretary Allen said. "With a record low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent and what is now a three-year decrease in Worker's Compensation rates, employers and employees alike are thriving. With a record number of people working right now, keeping our current employees safe and in the workforce is a major factor in keeping our labor force participation high."

Allen said the collaborative effort to promote safety also extends to the positive working relationship of the Worker's Compensation Advisory Council, which is made up of representatives from management and labor. The Council recommends changes to law to ensure it keeps up with today's industries and trends.

Questions about the development of the rates can be directed to the Wisconsin Compensation Ratings Bureau at 262-796-4540.

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03

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News            

Development and related construction is so hot in Beloit this summer the City already has surpassed last year’s total building permit value. As of July 1, Beloit has issued 623 building permits worth $26.19 million, easily exceeding the 2017 total of around the same period of 329 permits worth $5.9 million.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

As the new owner of the former General Motors plant continues the mammoth job of tearing down the massive complex on Janesville’s south side, ideas are starting to emerge on the site’s prospects for redevelopment. Janesville architectural firm Angus-Young Associates and two other local architectural and surveying firms have begun work on preliminary plans that would flesh out how parts of the 250-acre GM site might be split up as redevelopment parcels.

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(Janesville, WI) Angie Kablar, Blackhawk Technical College

Blackhawk Technical College’s nursing program has a lot to celebrate. In addition to the third consecutive semester of graduates achieving a 100% pass rate on the National Counsel Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the program received some great news for future students. The Parker Foundation has proposed a gift that would create a fund of up to $1 million in support of scholarships for the BTC nursing program students.

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(Janesville, WI) Bryan Wegter, Gazette

John Van Susteren looks forward to the Tour of America’s Dairyland each year.

The road cycling series, the largest of its kind in the United States, attracts cyclists from across the country and world. It winds through southeast Wisconsin over an 11-day span, exciting spectators with criterium-style bike racing.

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(Janesville, WI) Angie Kablar, Blackhawk Technical College

In today’s global economy, businesses are constantly seeking opportunities to gain a competitive edge, something Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) knows all too well. With that challenge in mind, BTC is excited to report that $438,578 in Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) grants have been secured for 11 different area businesses. 

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(Janesville, WI) Mark Marley, WEDC

In a move that marks a significant step toward the redevelopment of the former General Motors assembly plant in Janesville, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) today announced it has awarded the city $500,000 to help fund the demolition of the old factory.

Commercial Development Co. (CDC), a leading North American commercial real estate and brownfield redevelopment company, plans to raze the buildings to make way for about 1 million square feet of space to be used for future industrial and warehousing end users that require railroad service.

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(Janesville, WI) – More than 80 individuals attended today’s 2018 Summer Rock Internship Program’s Signing and Orientation event at Blackhawk Technical College’s central campus. Attendees included high school interns and their parents; school career and technical education and/or counseling personnel; representatives from the internship worksites; and economic and workforce development stakeholders. This paid, high school internship program is made possible through a partnership between Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), Rock County 5.0 and Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.

During the event, over 20 interns received a comprehensive program orientation – which included various programmatic onboarding procedures. Topics such as payroll record keeping and processing; workplace expectations, scheduling, performance and interactions; the Friday seminar series; and individual and/or group activities were reviewed, as well. Interns, parents and the host worksite businesses then participated in a ceremonial signing event.

A diverse grouping of employers, including several that are hosting more than one intern, are participating in the 2018 Rock Internship Program. These businesses include: Angus Young Associates, Beloit Snappers, Beloit Fire Department, Blackhawk Technical College, Bliss Communications, County of Rock, Diamond Assets, Forward Janesville, HealthNet, Rock County Job Center (SWWDB), SSI Technologies and Stainless Tank & Equipment.

This structured, 4-week earn-and-learn program represents one of the first and only collaborative, paid high school internships offered throughout the State of Wisconsin. In addition to providing incoming seniors with meaningful career pathway experiences, the internship program will assist these youth with accelerating and/or developing their personal and professional skills.

ABOUT BLACKHAWK TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Blackhawk Technical College is a forward-thinking, proactive college that believes in real-world experiences and hands-on training in a diverse atmosphere.  Our long-term goal is to redefine what a technical college is, through flexible scheduling and delivery models, a range of program offerings, partnerships with local employers, and world-class facilities with high tech equipment – including some you won’t find anywhere else in the state of Wisconsin.  BTC has five campus locations in Monroe, Milton, Beloit and Janesville and is a major provider of customized training and technical assistance for the Rock and Green County business community.

ABOUT ROCK COUNTY 5.0
Rock County 5.0 is a public/private initiative to advance Rock County’s economic development through various interrelated local and/or countywide plans to reposition and revitalize the region’s economy. Through a singular voice, Rock County 5.0 is dedicated to identifying and nurturing economic opportunities, accelerating regional growth and growing local assets.

ABOUT THE SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT BOARD 
The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting innovation and providing quality local workforce development programs and services to businesses and residents in Southwest Wisconsin.


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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Beloit restaurant group Geronimo Hospitality Group plans this summer to open Bessie’s Diner—a new, aviation-themed breakfast and lunch restaurant in 3,600 square feet inside the airport’s terminal, 1716 W. Airport Road, off Highway 51.

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(Rock County, WI)


A report highlighting the use of the County’s web-based career preparation and readiness platform, which is powered by Career Cruising, was released today. The Spring 2018 Inspire Rock County Report provides a snapshot of the activity, engagement, and trends generated from this workforce development tool. A brief summary of the report is provided below.

 

The number of students and/or young adults actively using or building-out their Academic and Career Plans (ACP) continues to increase. Of the 15,000+ student ACP’s, nearly 9,500 of those portfolios have at least one saved career. Meanwhile, more than 6,000 of those ACP’s have identified a higher education institution to pursue post-high school graduation. In both cases, these numbers represent a 21% increase from corresponding figures a year ago.

With respect to the number of career-related page views, where students are literally “cruising careers”, about 232,500 page views were recorded during the school year: a 22% increase from the previous year. During this same time period, student and instructor logins climbed by 28%.

The combined volume of message board posts, which represents one measure of career engagement between students and the business community, pushed past the 6,400 mark. If fall 2018 semester follows the trends from this spring, year-end totals for 2018 are expected to match and/or exceed the 2,000+ benchmark set back in 2017. With the merger of the Inspire Rock County and the extended Inspire Madison Region databases, students now have access to more than 650 career coaches.

In terms of work-based activities, data collected from the school districts of Beloit, Janesville and Milton demonstrates that Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 was extremely active. More than 1,800 business partners stepped forward to participate in approximately 900 events, ranging from mock interviews to career exploration days. Combined, these events reached 15,875 high school students. In addition to these customary engagement activities, the Rock Internship Program was launched this spring as one of several new earn-and-learn offerings. Over two-dozen students are participating in this 4-week internship experience, which kicks-off on June 12th with a Signing and Orientation Day event.

For more information about career preparation and readiness in Rock County, please visit www.InspireRockCounty.org and/or connect with your local school district representative.

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04

(Janesville, WI) Mark Maley, WEDC

The City of Janesville is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help finance the construction of a new downtown hotel. The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the new construction of a Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, a 53-room, four-story hotel overlooking the Rock River.

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(Janesville, WI) Badger Property Investments (BPI) will add another 150,000 SF industrial / warehousing building to the Janesville-Beloit MSA available property inventory. The project, which will be located in the City's STH Business Park on Innovation Drive, will be designed to accommodate single or multi-tenants and have the capability of expanding up to 300,000 SF. Pre-cast concrete, 30' clear height and multiple truck docks represent a sampling of this property's amenities. While the project is slated for a spring 2019 market delivery, its construction schedule can be accelerated. 

Since 2015, this building represents BPI's third speculative, and fifth, industrial / warehousing investment in the Janesville-Beloit MSA. "The city has really been helpful and cooperative in our efforts. Taking on the construction of a large industrial building on spec is not feasible without the city's partnership," said Tom Lasse, BPI principal.

Angus Young Associates will be providing building design and engineering services, while Gilbank Construction, Inc. will be performing construction services. The property is listed with Bill Mears (Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates).

To facilitate the project, the City of Janesville approved a Tax Increment Financing package.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "This additional 150,000 SF will increase the diversity of existing space within the Janesville-Beloit MSA and provide growth opportunities for existing and/or new firms that are relocating into the area."

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(Beloit, WI) Mark Maley, WEDC

The City of Beloit is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help finance the redevelopment of a vacant office building into a luxury boutique hotel.

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16

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson. Gazette

When the Marriott TownePlace Suites, an extended-stay hotel, opens on Janesville’s northeast side next year, it could help newcomers find stopgap living arrangements as they look for new digs in town.

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(Janesville, WI) Angie Kablar, Blackhawk Technical College

On Wednesday, May 16, leaders from Blackhawk Technical College and the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater will take part in a signing ceremony announcing the partnership between the schools’ business programs. The partnership will make the transition seamless for BTC business program students to transfer credits to UW Whitewater’s business program.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Two Janesville-based companies, Woodman’s Food Markets and Blain’s Farm & Fleet, were included in Forbes’ latest list of “America’s Best Mid-Size Employers.”

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04

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Spending by tourists in Janesville and Rock County continued to climb over the last year, growing about 4 percent compared to spending in 2016, according to state Department of Tourism report released Friday.

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01

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News         

Downtown Beloit will soon to be home to another upscale residential development. Hendricks Commercial Properties is in the process of renovating the former Kerry Ingredients plant, 200 West Grand Ave., into a 70-unit apartment building.

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(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the Rock Ready Index, the economy of Janesville-Beloit MSA kicked-off the new year in a positive manner – as the momentum from 2017 definitely carried over into the beginning of 2018. Highlights from the Q1 report include the following:

For the seventh quarter in a row, the average annual Unemployment Rates for the County / State / U.S. remained below five percent. As a matter of fact, rates are approaching and/or hovering at historically low levels. This same trend exists in the staffing environment too, as regional job openings (again) reached over 30,000 for the seventh consecutive quarter. Although the majority of these postings consistently represent certain occupational categories, the overall hyper-competitive nature of the employment scene is universally creating challenges for non-and-for profit organizations alike. In response, collaborative offerings – such as the Rock Internship Program – are emerging as resources that employers can leverage to augment their recruitment / retention strategies.

Housing prices for Q1 2018 established a new benchmark, with an average sale price of $165,406. This is the highest quarterly average price point recorded by the County and it represents more than an 18% gain when compared to last year’s Q1 data. Despite the area’s uncooperative weather, which held back the arrival of spring conditions, more than 50 residential permits were issued countywide. 

The County’s Sales & Use Tax collections remained solid, effectively matching last year’s record setting pace of $3.2 Million dollars. Although the second quarter of the year historically lags somewhat behind, the latter half of the year definitely makes up that ground and much more. Therefore, there’s a strong chance that year-end collections for 2018 will reach closer toward reaching the $14 Million dollars mark. 

Industry sector diversification and variable project sizes were definitely well-represented in the Q1 2018 Economic Development Pipeline. Combined, these projects accounted for nearly 1.4 Million SF; over 700 full-time jobs; and about $163,000,000 Million dollars of new capital investment commitments. While these figures are different from last year’s aggressive start, there are ample development and investment opportunities stocking the pipeline. That’s why maintaining an adequate supply of available properties, representing existing product as well as land for new vertical development, creates a strategic advantage. Simply stated, more product equals more transactions. 

This quarter’s featured project is United Alloy, Inc. (UAI), which announced a large expansion at the company’s Janesville facility. During the last two decades, UAI has expanded several times and this current expansion – totaling over 100,000 SF – will be even more visible from the Interstate, as an elevated conveyor system will facilitate product movement from one UAI building into another.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project-specific news during a given quarter.

For additional information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .

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(Janesville, WI) Jake Magee, Gazette

At the corner of Milwaukee and Franklin streets, Bill Sodemann’s business, Phone Plus, sits in the heart of an area anticipating $42 million in public and private investment. City officials said the city’s investment in downtown has created a ripple effect, drawing investments from donors, public-private partnerships and even small business owners such as Sodemann.

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27

(Milton, WI) Badger Property Investments (BPI) will soon break ground on a 60,000 SF build-to-suit project in Milton's Crossroads Business Park. The building will be leased by SSI Technologies, Inc., a global leader in designing and manufacturing pressure, level and magnetic sensors, sensor-based monitoring systems, digital pressure gauges, digital level gauges and powdered-metal components for automotive and industrial applications. The project, which is slated for completion fall 2018, will address SSI's existing and emerging warehousing needs.

"This reaffirms our decision to create and market the Crossroads Business Park as a hub for new development in the city," said Al Hulick, Milton City Administrator. To facilitate the project, the city approved a Tax Increment Financing package.

Headquartered in Janesville, WI, SSI Technologies is a privately-held company that has expanded its operations multiple times, both domestically and internationally. Once complete, this new building will increase SSI's overall Janesville-Beloit MSA footprint to more than 400,000 SF. 

Bill Mears (Coldwell Banker Commercial McGuire Mears & Associates) provided brokerage services, while building design and engineering services were provided by Angus Young Associates. Gilbank Construction, Inc., which is celebrating 50 years in business, will be performing the project's construction services. 

For BPI, this building represents the fourth Rock County, WI industrial / warehousing investment in as many years.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "This project underscores the important roles that prepared, business-friendly and collaborative communities play with respect to fostering economic development and investment opportunities."

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25

(Evansville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Downtown Evansville’s smile has been missing a tooth for a while, Dave Olsen of local investment firm Grove Partners said Tuesday. By the end of this year, that missing tooth—site of the former Night Owl Food and Spirits—will be filled by The Centennial, a three-story building with seven apartment units and two businesses.

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25

(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital-Janesville has received the highest safety rating for the third consecutive year from the Leapfrog Group, according to a news release.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Rock County 5.0, Blackhawk Technical College and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board are offering a new internship program to provide students with work experience and employers with future employees. For more information, employers and students can visit YourRockInternship.com .

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24

(Janesville, WI) Jake Magee, Gazette

Five years since opening its doors to entrepreneurs in 2013, the Janesville Innovation Center will be self-sufficient this year after the city stopped subsidizing it in 2017, the center’s operations manager told the Janesville City Council on Monday.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette


Foremost Media CEO Jon Ballard said he can picture the future for a few incoming high school seniors he plans to host this summer under a new internship program.


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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Parents looking to keep their kids challenged this summer might want to consider sending them to one of CareerTek's many free academies. 

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18

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes is preparing to ramp up production following federal approval earlier this year, and on Tuesday the company put the U.S. and the international health care community on notice.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

This week, Gov. Scott Walker’s office announced the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved three federal census tracts in Janesville the state had recommended for designation as economic opportunity zones. Economic opportunity zones in Beloit include downtown and a heavily industrial tract northwest of Beloit’s downtown, according to Walker’s office.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Gilbane-M+W Group, the Milwaukee firm Foxconn picked as the lead construction management group on the project, is pressing statewide to create a pipeline for companies to bid on jobs for a project that’s Wisconsin’s biggest by far.

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(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville has been named one of America’s best hospitals for obstetrics and emergency care by Women’s Choice Award, a referral service.

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(Madison, WI) Michael Welsh, WEDA

The state has unveiled a new website – WisconnValley.wi.gov – to offer information and guidance to Wisconsin companies seeking to provide goods and services during the construction phase of the $10 billion Foxconn advanced manufacturing facility in Racine County.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Jake Magee, Gazette

What do “Shark Tank” star Kevin Harrington and Janesville have in common? They both care about business, and they’re both in an infomercial featuring the city that will soon air nationally.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Jake Magee, Gazette

If all goes according to plan, millions of dollars in downtown projects—including a water fountain, pedestrian bridge and new lighting—will be complete by October 2019.

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20

(Rock County, WI) – A paid internship program for (incoming) Rock County high school seniors was announced during last week’s earn-and-learn talent development showcase event. The Rock Internship Program, which is designed to accelerate personal – as well as professional skills – development and facilitate career related exposure opportunities, is a collaborative effort between Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB).

This structured, 4-week offering will provide students with a meaningful, career pathway experience that will serve as a foundational element of their Academic & Career Plan (ACP). Student ACP’s are the career preparation and readiness roadmaps developed through the Inspire Rock County platform. In addition to gaining direct career exposure at a worksite, interns will also have opportunities to: develop or improve communication, critical thinking, leadership and teamwork skills; facilitate important networking connections; and sharpen their interviewing, job searching and resume building experiences.

At the same time, participating employers can leverage this internship program as another resource to build, cultivate, diversify, shape and strengthen the area’s home-grown talent. This program also creates a great opportunity for employers to establish and/or further solidify connections with the education community, too.

The Rock Internship Program begins mid-June 2018, breaks for the July 4th Holiday week, and then concludes on July 20th. The program is open to service and goods producing businesses, representing for-and-non-profit employers, within the Greater Rock County area. Students interested in participating must be residents of Rock County and entering their senior year of high school. Student ACP’s, their Letters of Recommendation and other factors will be used to match-up employers with interns. Student applications are due April 20th.

For additional information, visit the program online and then contact the Internship Coordinator Kerry Osmond (608.757.7728 or kosmond1@blackhawk.edu). 

Rock County 5.0 is a public / private economic development initiative focused on repositioning and revitalizing Rock County’s economy. The initiative’s efforts, which are dedicated toward identifying and nurturing economic opportunities, accelerating growth and growing local assets, include the following strategic focus areas: Business Retention & Expansion, Business & Investment Attraction, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Real Estate Positioning and Workforce Profiling. For additional Rock County 5.0 information, visit www.rockcounty5.com.

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20

(Milton, WI) Milton Courier

Chico Pope, owner of the Buckhorn Supper Club in Milton, was honored as the Restaurateur of the Year by the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. The award is the industry’s top honor. 

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(Janesville, WI) Gary Kohn, BTC

Yesterday, leaders from Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board presented four “earn and learn” initiatives to more than 100 attendees.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Gary Kohn, BTC

Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) nursing students are among the best in the state…AGAIN!

According to the Wisconsin State Board of Nursing, BTC’s nursing students netted a composite score of 100% on the most recent National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) marking the second consecutive year the BTC program has either ranked #1 or tied for the best composite score among all Wisconsin colleges.  

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01

(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff       

St. William Catholic School's First Lego League team took top prize in one of four categories at the state Lego League championship at Parker High School on Sunday.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Organizers announced Tuesday that they’ve set the course for the Janesville Town Square Gran Prix, which is the city’s leg of the Tour of America’s Dairyland, a major criterium (closed-circuit) bicycle race that has 11 other legs statewide.

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27

(Milton, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

Vacant, city-owned land in Milton's east-side industrial park is almost gone now that another proposed development has received city council approval. The council unanimously agreed last week to sell 8 acres to Badger Properties for $1. In return, the developer will build a 60,000-square-foot light manufacturing and office facility at the northeast corner of County M and Putman Parkway, City Administrator Al Hulick said.

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27

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Two new stores are set to open this week in the redeveloped former Menards off Pontiac Drive on Janesville’s north side. Tara Furst, commercial properties manager for Galway Companies, which owns the property renamed the Marketplace at Janesville, said that by the end of the week, two tenants in the 72,000-square-foot building will be open for business.

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(Janesville, WI) By Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

Six local businesses won the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s inaugural Business Friends of Education award.

Fagan Automotive, Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Riverfront Inc., South Central Wisconsin Builders Association, SSI Technologies, all of Janesville, and MicroPrecision of Delavan were given awards for their commitment to local education, according to a news release from the Department of Public Instruction.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

NorthStar Medical radioisotopes has been green-lit by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to proceed with marketing its patented technology to supply products widely used in diagnostic medical imaging for combating cancer and other ailments, according to a company news release.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The four-story former warehouse in downtown Janesville now known as the Gray Goose has landed a new gander from up north. Local broker Commercial Property Group announced this week that Michigan tech and telecommunications company CCI Systems plans to locate engineering offices in space it will lease on the entire third floor of the 24,000-square-foot brick building on North Academy Street.

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(Janesville, WI) Ashley McCallum, Gazette

Construction on the Interstate 90/39 expansion from Madison to the state line will be finished one year ahead of schedule, according to a statement released Thursday by Gov. Scott Walker's office. The project will wrap up in fall 2021 instead of fall 2022, Steve Theisen, a project spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, told The Gazette.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Janesville broker Commercial Property Group announced Tuesday that the former Pick ‘n Save at 1717 Center Ave. has been acquired by 1717 4GK, a development group owned by the Jim Grafft family of Janesville.

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(Rock County, WI) A series of media stories, an awards celebration and a quarterly economic report featured a number of positive developments this week for the Janesviille-Beloit MSA. For additional information, click on the links provided below.

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(Rock County, WI) According to the quarterly release of the 2017 Rock Ready Index, the Janesville-Beloit MSA wrapped-up another strong year. Highlights from the Q4 report include the following:

For the sixth quarter in a row, the average annual Unemployment Rates for the County / State / U.S. remained below five percent. This same trend existed in the help wanted realm too, as regional job openings reached over 30,000 for the sixth consecutive quarter. Once again, job boards throughout the year were dominated by Healthcare, Transportation & Material Moving and Office & Administrative Support job postings. Meanwhile, production related postings during the year – particularly in Rock County – enjoyed a healthy boost. For an overview of the types of jobs available throughout the area, ranging from entry level to upper management, visit www.JobsInRockCounty.com 

Housing prices for Q4 2017 established a new benchmark, with an average sale price of $164,095. As a matter of fact, this price point represents the highest quarterly average recorded by the County.  Despite this price appreciation, Rock County has a significant affordability advantage over its nearest (WI) metropolitan peer. In 2017, the average sale price of a single-family home in Rock County was $157,168, while Dane County’s price point was $295,410. Nearly 200 new single-family home permits were issued throughout Rock County during the calendar year, as well.

The County’s Sales & Use Tax collections remained solid, with over $3.6 Million dollars recorded during Q4. Strong cash register activities throughout the entire year pushed the County’s year-end totals beyond $13.7 Million dollars. These increased collections, in part, are linked to the County’s employment and wage gains – which have achieved various Top 10 and Top 25 national benchmarks, respectively. As a result, retail corridors and Central Business Districts countywide are consistently experiencing steady brick-and-mortar activity. 

The Economic Development (ED) Pipeline for 2017 was populated by a cross-section of industry sectors, totaling more than eight million square feet and an aggregate capital investment valued at $947 million dollars. In 2017, manufacturing related projects represented 50% of the pipeline’s total activity levels. Regardless of industry sector, right-sized real estate and talent availability remain priority locational focal points.

This quarter’s featured project is Commercial Development Company (CDC), which purchased the former GM Janesville property. CDC is a leading North American commercial real estate and brownfield redevelopment company, with an extensive redevelopment portfolio that exceeds 50 Million square feet throughout North America. Within 12-18 +/- months, CDC expects to have the 250 +/- acre campus positioned for redevelopment opportunities. 

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and a snapshot of the ED Pipeline's growth and/or investment opportunities. Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project specific news during a given quarter.

For additional information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .


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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Recent booms for United Alloy and other local companies have kept Janesville among the top 40 best-performing small cities in the U.S. for three straight years, according to a report released this month by California economic analyst Milkin Institute.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Beloit resident Joe Stadelman drives 20 minutes every day to his office in Janesville. Stadelman said he can’t imagine losing several hours a day traveling to and from work. It’s not a lifestyle he’d choose.

Over the next six months, the state’s main economic development group plans to ride social media and other advertising platforms to sell Wisconsin as a vibrant state that offers more affordable living, more leisure time and loads less commuting time than life in Chicago.

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(Janesville, WI) United Alloy, Inc. (UAI) is expanding its footprint by adding a new 100,000 SF production facility. In addition to increasing the company's overall production capacities, this new structure will house a new painting system and facilitate finished product distribution. UAI will also be expanding its existing facility by 7,500 SF. More than 50 new full-time jobs will be created as the result of these expansion projects. 

UAI is a preferred designer, manufacturer and powder coater of certified metal tanks, skids, frames, trailers, chassis and related products crafted to world-class quality standards in strategic partnership with global Fortune 500 OEM customers. As a recognized serial production supply partner, UAI implements cutting-edge technology and innovation related applications to ensure its products and processes meet customer, as well as accredited 3rd party provider, requirements. In addition to its ISO 9001:2008 and WBENC woman/minority owned business certifications, UAI is also UL142 and UN31A certified. 

To facilitate this project, the City of Janesville approved the issuance of an Industrial Revenue Bond and it also structured a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package. 

TJK Design Build is providing the project's construction, design and engineering services.

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "This expansion is yet another example of the thriving manufacturing environment that exists within the Janesville-Beloit MSA. Furthermore, it demonstrates the ongoing support that companies continually receive when they invest and expand their Rock County operations."

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(Town of Beloit, WI)  Ryan Silvola, Beloit Daily News

Several economic development projects in the Town of Beloit could be coming to fruition this year.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Marcus Lemonis, owner of the former Gander Mountain chain, said the outdoor sporting goods seller — now rebranded as Gander Outdoors — is set to open 11 Wisconsin stores by late May, including one in Janesville.

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(Janesville, WI) The former General Motors Janesville Assembly Plant, which represented over four million square feet and 250 +/- acres, has been sold. The buyer is Commercial Development Company, Inc. (CDC), a leading North American commercial real estate and brownfield redevelopment company. 

CDC plans to invest significant resources to reposition this large industrial property for new utilization. Preliminary activity is expected to include environmental remediation, demolition of some or all facilities, and extensive redevelopment planning.

"Our team understands the historical significance behind this project and we are pleased to lead the redevelopment process. We are very impressed with Janesville's pro-growth leadership and look forward to working with them, as well as Rock County and the State of Wisconsin, to help create new growth opportunities," said Randall Jostes, CEO of Commercial Development Company, Inc.

Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag stated, "This announcement marks a significant turning point for the Janesville community. Our city has benefitted from a great relationship with GM for nearly a century, but we are eager to start a new chapter. CDC has impressed City leaders with their professionalism and vision for the former GM site, and we anticipate a smooth transition and economic growth in our community as a result of this sale."

The property transaction was facilitated by various GMCDC and CBRE representatives.

Commercial Development Company, Inc. (CDC) is a privately-held, diversified real estate acquisition and development firm whose principal competency lies within the acquisition, repositioning and redevelopment of underutilized, distressed or environmentally-challenged properties. CDC has purchased and developed over 50-million square feet under roof located on over 300 sites throughout the U.S. and Canada. 

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "The future redevelopment and repositioning of this property will enhance, as well as diversify, the Janesville-Beloit MSA's industrial real estate portfolio - particularly with respect to energy intensive and rail served opportunities."

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A fundraising campaign to boost privately funded revitalization efforts in downtown Janesville has reached $3 million in donations. ARISEnow, a fundraising group of downtown stakeholders, announced Thursday it has amassed an additional $1 million in private donations.

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(Janesville, WI) Gary Kohn, Blackhawk Technical College

In a joint effort between Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB), with support from sponsoring employers including Bell Laboratories, Miniature Precision Components, Pratt Industries, Scot Forge, Seneca Foods Corp. and Emmi Roth USA, Inc., a new Mechatronics Apprenticeship has been created as part of BTC’s academic offerings starting in January, 2018.

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(Janesville, WI) Frank Schultz, Gazette

The state's largest business association chose a Janesville couple for a new video designed to persuade more young people to return to Wisconsin and bolster the workforce.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, Beloit Daily News

The Ironworks campus is expanding its overall commercial business office space options, with First National Bank & Trust set to open a new corporate facility next year.

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(Edgerton, WI) Jim Dayton, Gazette

Sessions such as Monday's—one of roughly a dozen elementary students will participate in throughout the school year—will get kids ready for future classes and improve their career prospects.

The activities were part of National Computer Science Week. 

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(Rock County, WI) The economic resurgence of the Janesville-Beloit MSA has propelled itself into a Top 10 national ranking, according to a recent monthly scorecard produced by Headlight Data.

For the period of October 2016 through October 2017, the Janesville-Beloit MSA’s employment base increased by 3.2%. This growth rate resulted in an overall weighted rank of #8 among 100 peer small metropolitan locations. This Top 10 ranking was the highest recorded by any Wisconsin metro area, irrespective of population size.  

When factoring the area’s job growth ranking against 287 small metros (with less than 500,000 population) during the same time frame, the Janesville-Beloit MSA notched the #22 spot. Meanwhile, the Madison MSA was ranked #22 out of 53 mid-sized metro locations.

The industry sectors recording the most net new jobs for the Janesville-Beloit MSA during October 2016 – October 2017 included: Professional and Business Services, Health & Education Services, Leisure and Hospitality, and Manufacturing. During any given month, these types of job openings - as well as others too - can be found by visiting the area's one-stop employment and information portal: www.JobsInRockCounty.com .

Headlight Data, which crunches Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Employment Series and Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data to compare the economic health of U.S. metropolitan areas of comparable population size categories (e.g. Small, Mid and Large), generates monthly and quarterly economic scorecards. 

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(Milton, WI) Catherine Idzerda, Gazette

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released its report cards for school districts and individual schools. Consolidated Elementary School's score was 98.1, earning it a rating of “significantly exceeds expectations.” That score also places it first among the 1,201 public elementary schools in the state, according to the DPI.