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20

(Edgerton, WI) Ryan Spoehr, APG

The Edgerton Hospital Healing Garden has for years been a place of tranquility. Now, it’s also a place of growth—for tomatoes, sun gold cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and white eggplant.

Earlier this year, the hospital started growing vegetables to feed staff and patients, and for use in cooking classes

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13

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

At Humes Road and Milton Avenue, traffic is flowing again, albeit in an altered pattern that might surprise those who haven’t traveled the corridor in a while, and it links into a much-upgraded busy retail spur.

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13

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

Saws are buzzing, hammers are pounding and buildings are going up in downtown Beloit, as several Hendricks Commercial Properties projects are advancing.

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12

(Beloit, WI) BDN Staff

Beloit College moved up three spots in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of colleges offering the best value, and it ranked 11th for students’ First Year Experience.

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08

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

Roman’s Supermarket opened its doors on Aug. 31 and brought an independent grocery store to Liberty Avenue.

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07

(Milton, WI) Ryan Spoehr, APG

The city of Milton might soon sell all the remaining land in its Crossroads Industrial Park. City Administrator Al Hulick has not given a timetable on when he believes all sales might be closed, but said “it’s probably not too far off.”

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31

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

In a public junket Wednesday on the south side, site owner Commercial Development Company and two commercial freight operators unveiled some details of a plan to convert 30 of the 122-acre JATCO acres to an intermodal freight hub. The vision is for such a hub to—at some point—ship in and out dozens of train and semitrailer boxcar cars a day.

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28

(Beloit, WI) Sara Myers, APG

The district currently has six gardens at Gaston, Merrill, Hackett, Todd and Converse elementary schools. The gardens currently grow lettuce, basil, parsley, dill, chives and cilantro.

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25

(Janesville, WI) Tom Miller, Gazette

April 21, 1967 was a special day at the then Chevrolet-Fisher Body Assembly Plant in Janesville. On that day, the 100 millionth vehicle built by General Motors plants in the U.S. rolled off the assembly line here – and it will be the showcase item at the grand opening next week of a new Rock County Legacies Exhibit.

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24

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

Fairbanks Morse Defense is celebrating 150 years of working with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, as well as the Beloit community this month.

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19

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

St. Louis brownfield redevelopment firm Commercial Development plans an open house alongside local architects Angus Young Associates and RH Batterman on Wednesday, Aug. 31, to lay out what it calls “preliminary” plans and a timeline for an intermodal freight shipping development that could come to the southern half of the vacant property.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

In September, Cassandra Pope plans to open Sustain Ability Bulk Shoppe, an independent grocery and home goods market that will offer “zero-waste” bulk foods and other household goods using as little paper or plastic boxing, packaging, wrapping and bagging as possible.

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01
(Rock County, WI) Despite rising inflation, as well as stubborn supply chain issues, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy posted another solid quarter. These details are highlighted in today's release of the Q2 2022 Rock Ready Index.

The area’s average annual unemployment rate continued to move incrementally downward, and this same general pattern was present at the state and federal levels too. While June's rates were somewhat elevated (i.e. reaching 4%),  Q2 2022 averages were nearly identical to Q1 and in some cases - two percentage points below the figures posted for Q2 a year ago. Meanwhile, employer hiring appetites remained steady as Q2 2022 recorded another period of job postings at or above the 30,000 threshold. That said, employers of all shapes and sizes - as well as product and service mixes - are collectively feeling the acute and on-going pains associated with an extremely challenging labor market. 

The average sale pricing for residential properties throughout the Janesville-Beloit MSA remained strong, as Q2 2022 figures were more than eight-percent higher than last quarter; and seven-percent higher when compared to Q2 a year ago. However, lean inventories and rising interest rates have impacted transaction volumes. For example, the number of sales for Q2 2022 were about five-percent lower than what was recorded during this same period last year. Downward trends are also surfacing in the number of new home starts too, as the data for the first half of this year are about 40% lower than what was recorded during this same period a year ago.

Similar economic brake-pumping signs were also evident in the quarterly sales and use tax collections, as the totals for Q2 2022 (at $4.6 Million) dipped slightly two-percent lower when compared to a year ago. Despite reduced consumer confidence and historically high inflation, these current quarterly collection totals were nearly 13% higher than its Q1 counterpart; and notably higher than what's been recorded for the majority of the quarters during the last 15 years. Since collections for the second half the calendar year generally outpace the first-half, it remains to be seen how deep and/or sustained the area's economic response will be from those trends that are surfacing at the national level.

From an investment and development lens, the economic development pipeline for Q2 2022 mirrored what was recorded in Q1. While the overall industry mix of the current pipeline is trending higher than its recent counterparts, the number of overall projects is lower than what has historically been associated with Q2. That said, there remains a strong back-log of projects from calendar year 2021 and 2020. Plus, there are some emerging opportunities - which are fueled by a handful of national policy conditions - that are having some pipeline influence, as well. Case in point: the quarterly average of 54.8% for the ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for Q2 2022 signals there is additional investment and development momentum moving through the economy.. 

In response to those trends, developers such as Phoenix Investors have pushed forward and their 500,000 SF speculative development in Beloit's Gateway Business Park is the featured project in this Q2 RRI. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Phoenix has real estate holdings in 29 states that total 52 million square feet. Their Beloit project, which is on track to be delivered to the market by year-end, will have the functionality to serve as either a single-or-multi-tenant building.

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

(Janesville, WI) Twenty-five high school juniors completed their summer internships on Friday as part of the 2022 Summer Rock County Internship Program. The six-week experience ended with a graduation with capstone presentations at the new Rock County Human Services building.

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25

(Clinton, WI) Sara Myers, Gazette

Construction on the new elementary school in the Clinton Community School District is on time to finish this August and welcome 4K through sixth-grade students this fall.

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18

(Madison, WI) Wisconsin companies will pay 8.47 percent less in worker's compensation insurance rates starting Oct. 1, 2022, giving a boost to businesses around the state, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reported.

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14

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A global manufacturer of food and pharmaceutical equipment plans to build an 85,000-square-foot equipment repair facility on city land on Janesville’s east side.

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12

(Janesville, WI) WCLO News Radio

Construction should begin any day on a proposed Chili’s restaurant in Janesville.

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11

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Milwaukee developer Three Leaf Partners and the city of Janesville have reached an accord to annex and alter city land-use plans to allow a 1.5 million-square-foot strawberry greenhouse operation on the city’s south end.

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10

(Janesville, WI) Sara Myers, Adams Publishing Group

For more than 100 years, the Daluge Farm has operated south of Janesville. Now, sisters Megan Daluge and Erin Grawe are helping keep local youngsters’ interest in agriculture alive with their Milkin’ Mamas farm camp.

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08

(Milton, WI) More than a dozen students graduated Friday from an inaugural Accelerated Industrial Maintenance (AIM) program made possible by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

“This graduating class is the very first class that we have through Gov. Tony Evers’s Workforce Advancement Initiative. We distributed $20 million throughout all the workforce boards around the state for subsidized, on-the-job skills training – programs just like this – to help keep our workforce moving ahead and economic recovery going full speed ahead. We are so thankful for you, and we are so proud of you,” Amy Pechacek, DWD Secretary-Designee, said at the graduation, which was held at Blackhawk’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton.

In partnership with Blackhawk Technical College and the Stateline Manufacturing Alliance, the Accelerated Industrial Maintenance program was facilitated through the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB). SWWDB received a $1.6 million grant through the Evers initiative and administered through the DWD last fall to implement several projects to help assist and improve the workforce needs in several critical areas, including industrial maintenance.

Nicholas Villarello, a graduate of Parker High School in Janesville, was one of 16 students who completed the AIM program. He spoke at the graduation.

“Originally, going into this course, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was thinking about welding or becoming a lineman. My mom actually recommended this course, and I took it because it was a really great opportunity,” Villarello said. “I enjoyed all of it.”

Villarello is now going on to work at Scot Forge.

The six-week AIM summer program was comprised of Blackhawk courses that provided a foundation skillset for those seeking career opportunities in industrial maintenance and technology. The program can be applied toward a Maintenance Technical Diploma from Blackhawk. The program also included career exploration opportunities at local manufacturers.

“I applaud you for your commitment, the skills you’ve gained,” Dr. Tracy Pierner, President of Blackhawk, told the graduates. “Our partners need you, our community needs you. It is programs like this – and graduates like you – that are the key to making a difference.”

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06

(Beloit, WI) BDN Staff    

The City of Beloit experienced growth in residential and business development, and experienced several milestones in the past year, according to the City of Beloit Popular Annual Financial Report.

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05

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette     

If a plan goes forward as proposed, a developer plans to add about 5,200 square feet of floor space to the north and south ends of the vacant, former Clark gas station and convenience mart at 1747 Center Ave.

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29

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC, which is expanding its Beloit facility, will be almost doubling its workforce by 2025.

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29

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

By early August, Janesville residents could know the cost to build a proposed ice arena and civic center that’s now being called the Woodman’s Sports and Convention Center.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Blackhawk Technical College

Fifteen high school educators from around Rock County gathered at Blackhawk Technical College on Friday for a workshop to conclude their experience in the Rock Externship Program, which is designed to immerse teachers in business environments and have them shadow specific occupations or disciplines for one week to gain knowledge that can be included into their classrooms.

This year’s participants represent five different area high schools and have curriculum expertise in a wide variety of disciplines, including math, business, special education, art, and career and technical education. Externs were placed at Seneca Foods CorporationSSI TechnologiesPrent CorporationAlliant EnergyCorporate Contractors Inc.JP CullenSHINEAmerican ExtractionsDLG Naturals and IKI Manufacturing.

Friday’s workshop at Blackhawk gave educators the opportunity to share what they learned at their worksites and to collaborate on how to apply this knowledge within their classrooms. Externs met at the college’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning for a day of teamwork and curriculum development.

Summer 2022 is the inaugural year for this program. In addition to the educator and employer participants, support for the Rock Externship Program derives from Blackhawk Technical College, the County of Rock and Rock County 5.0.

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22

(Milton, WI) Ryan Spoehr, APG

Milton is moving forward with an option to buy land to accommodate expansion of the Crossroads Business Park. The city is considering buying the property is on the northwest corner of Vickerman Road/M-H Townline Road in the town of Milton if conditions are favorable.

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21

(Town of Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

On June 14, six solar projects that will power thousands of Wisconsin homes were given the green light to start construction this summer. Out of the six projects, two of the solar projects recently approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission include the Paddock location within the Town of Beloit and the Albany location in the Town of Decatur in Green County.

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13

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

Construction has started on an estimated $49 million construction project at Beloit’s the Water Pollution Control Facility at 555 Willowbrook Road.

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10

(Janesville, WI) More than 25 high school juniors kicked off their summer internships on Friday as part of the 2022 Summer Rock County Internship Program’s Signing and Orientation event at The Barn on Prairie.

Through a partnership with Blackhawk Technical College, the County of Rock, Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, the 2022 Summer Rock Internship Program is a paid, six-week earn-and-learn opportunity that provides students with a structured and meaningful career pathway experience. 

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09

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

A new dining option has opened in Beloit—Wingstop at 2787 Milwaukee Road. This Wingstop, which opened on May 20 in Beloit, is the second location owned by Wenzak Wings. This company is owned and operated by Mike Zak.

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08

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

The 18th business development in Gateway Business Park broke ground Tuesday morning. A 500,000-square-foot speculative industrial warehouse intended for a future tenant is being constructed by Corporate Contractors Inc, (CCI) and owned by Phoenix Investors

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07

(Clinton, WI) Toni Rocha, BDN

The opening of a new Mexican restaurant in downtown Clinton is bringing fresh flavor, spice and aroma to the community. La Guacamaya was opened by owners Isaac and Amanda Campos on Jan. 3, and is already drawing guests with its authentic and innovative menu.

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03

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has closed the book on environmental remediation at the former General Motors plant site in Janesville. In a letter Thursday, the state’s lead environmental regulator granted the main GM plant site’s owner, Commercial Development “case closure” after a nearly two-year remediation process.

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01

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Rock County Christian School (RCCS) has received a five-year renewal of the William Knight Foundation Grant. The school received the first grant in 2016, and with renewal, the second $485,000 grant will continue through the 2026-2027 school year.

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27

(Milton, WI) Scott Froehlich, APG

Over the past five years, Handy Art has expanded its facility at 365 Sunnyside Dr., which enabled them to make more supplies and store more inventory. And during the pandemic, the company saw demand for its products rise.

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25

(Beloit, WI) Sara Myers, APG

For 103 years, Beloit Memorial High School has been home to the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) Program. Beloit’s program is the oldest JROTC program in Wisconsin and just one of five programs statewide.

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24

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

The organization, Black Women in Business Beloit, are planning to highlight local businesses for the second year in a row at an upcoming business expo.

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24

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The final product could likely be at least a year off, but a developer plans to spend $1 million to turn a vacant set of storefronts on downtown Janesville’s main drag into spacious upper apartments with commercial suites on the street level.

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23

(Beloit, WI) An affiliate of Phoenix Investors, LLC broke ground earlier this spring on a 500,000 SF building in the City's Gateway Business Park. The space, which is expected to be delivered to the market by year-end, will have the functionality to serve as either a single-or-multi-tenant building. Property features include, but are not limited to: precast concrete walls, 32 foot clear height, 50' x 60' columns, eight-inch concreate floors, high-efficiency LED lighting, ESFR fire suppression and ample dock-and-drive-in-doors.

Founded in 1994, Milwaukee-based Phoenix Investors has real estate holdings in 29 states that total 52 million square feet. As a leader in the acquisition, development, renovation and repositioning of industrial facilities throughout the U.S., Phoenix has other investments in the Janesville-Beloit MSA, as well.

Corporate Contractors, Inc., which is headquartered in Beloit and is serving as the project's general contractor, has constructed several buildings in the Gateway Business Park. The Park, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last fall, will soon have a tenant portfolio that has more than 4 million square feet and a corresponding assessment value greater than $400 million. To facilitate these developments, support has been provided by the City of Beloit and the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation    

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "The appetite for Class A industrial and warehousing space within the I-39/90 and I-43 Corridor remains extremely active - especially for large, multi-purpose buildings."

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19

(Milton, WI) Blackhawk Technical College

A group of students from 10 different high schools confirmed their pathway as manufacturing apprentices with seven industry leaders on Thursday at the Stateline Manufacturing Alliance’s first-ever Manufacturing Signing Day.

The event, which was sponsored by JP Cullen and Blackhawk Technical College, featured 13 individuals who were selected for apprenticeships under the “earn and learn” educational model that allows students to work full-time learning a trade while also taking college courses paid for by the employer.

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16

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette    

By July, the city of Janesville could have 250 acres of newly minted TIF district land in its arsenal as city economic development officials continue to work toward a landmark greenhouse development deal on the city’s south end.

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15

(Janesville, WI)

HealthNet of Rock County has finished raising the money it needed to open its new Janesville facility, the free clinic’s CEO announced Saturday.

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14

(Beloit, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved placing 33 acres of land in Beloit into trust for the Ho-Chunk Nation, which is the final step in the process to start construction of a tribal casino and resort in Beloit.

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11
(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

Rock County Jumpstart and the Wisconsin Latino Chamber of Commerce have formed a partnership to support Black and Latino owned businesses.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC is expanding, with plans to construct a new building at its campus in the Gateway Business Park. The Beloit City Council on May 2 approved a planned unit development master land use plan submitted by NorthStar. The plans for the new building is for production of the isotope Actinium-225.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

A new independent grocery store is set to open later this month in Beloit. Roman’s Supermarket is expected to open its doors May 23. It will be located at 220 Liberty Ave. in Beloit.

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08

(Marinette, WI) John Liesveld, APG

Saturday morning, only an instant after the four Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) triggermen unleashed Newton’s Laws of Motion, a momentum driven by gravity and the tremendous culmination of history, heritage, people and collaboration sent the 388-foot USS Beloit into the Menominee River. 

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04

(Milton, WI) Scott Froehlich, Gazette

A warehousing company gained final approval from the city of Milton to build a commercial distribution facility in the southeast corner of the intersection of Putman Parkway and County M.

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03

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette     

The city of Janesville aims to create another tax-increment financing district on its east side, this time blanketing a 46-acre chunk of city property adjacent to W.W. Grainger’s massive warehouse and call center complex off Enterprise Drive.

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28

(Rock County, WI) Despite various national and global pressure points, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy recorded a strong start for the first quarter of 2022. Highlights of these trends are found in today’s release of the Q1 2022 Rock Ready Index.

The average unemployment rates for the county (3.9%), state (3.3%), and the nation (4.1%) for the beginning of 2022 looked like their counterparts from the tail-end of 2017 and the front-half of 2018, respectively. Meanwhile, the job posting data for the region – at roughly 28,500 – is generally reflective of the time period spanning from 2014 through 2015. Based on national and statewide data, the fatigue levels appear to be running equally high among employers and job seekers alike. Locally, and in terms of the job posting figures recorded by the www.JobsInRockCounty.com platform, there’s been a decline in 2022’s monthly postings by approximately 25%. That said, there’s still a healthy and diversified offering of employment opportunities ranging from entry-level to upper management positions that can be found on that electronic recruiting platform.  

Housing prices continued their upward movement, as Q1 set another record for Average Sale ($229,776) and Median Sale ($192,000) prices, respectively. From a sales perspective, the average number of transactions during Q1 were trending slightly lower than the same time periods in 2021 and 2020 – but nearly equal with the figures recorded in Q1 2019. Continued lean inventories, mixed with the recent jumps in mortgage interest rates, are projected to keep pricing elevated. While media pundits have traditionally characterized political campaign periods as the proverbial “silly season”, the same characterization could be applied to what’s been happening in the housing markets too.

Despite that continued craziness, the County’s sales and use tax collections posted another pacesetting quarter – where collections exceeded $4.13 million. Since 2007, this is the sixth time that a quarter has pushed beyond the $4 million threshold. As a matter of fact, this is the fourth consecutive quarter where collections have reached these levels. With talk of a recession looming, not to mention additional measures to drive-down inflation, it’s difficult to predict how local and regional household spending patterns will adjust.

These same variables – particularly when coupled with the ongoing concerns for the geopolitical hostilities and mounting pressures that are unfolding in Ukraine – has the attention of certain segments of the investment community. As a result, the economic development pipeline for the beginning of 2022 looked very similar to the opening of 2021 too. The notable exception, of course, is that the current capital investment levels (at $347 million) are considerably larger than those Q1 amounts from previous years. The labor crunch is certainly fueling these investments, as businesses are doubling-down on their automation and technology applications. Even though there’s been an uptick in the maneuvering among certain industry sectors, particularly those sensing opportunities tied to specific public policy initiatives, the overall sentiment – at least according the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which averaged about 58% for Q1 2022 – suggests the economy’s appetite is shifting. That said, there’s plenty of pipeline activity from the previous calendar year to keep the Janesville-Beloit MSA busy.

On that front, and in response to the increasing demand for new housing in the Janesville-Beloit MSA, the City of Milton approved an annexation request that will facilitate the transformation of the former Bonny Meade golf course into a residential area. Beginning sometime this summer and/or fall, Park Place Investments, LLC is slated to begin implementing its plans to bring an additional 96 new residential homes into the local market. Considering the lean residential inventories throughout the county, this development should provide a solid boost for Milton and the entire Janesville-Beloit MSA, as well.

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

(Rock County, WI) Rock County and Arrowhead Library System have teamed up to provide small business planning kits, available for checkout at all seven Rock County public libraries. These Small Business Chrome Kits include a Chromebook, mobile Internet hotspot, case, and free access to LivePlan business and sustainability software.

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26

(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

Tuesday, for the second year in a row, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce hosted an in-person dinner and awards ceremony with more than 400 in attendance. The 95th annual event at the Eclipse Center featured awards, featured speaker Michelle Snow.

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26

(Janesville, WI) Harrison Freuck, APG

Maci Newell is among the new wave of people interested in entering the airline industry, and Revv Aviation is her stepping stone to getting there.

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25

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The city is giving a hotel development group a boost of up to $1.89 million in a 12-year tax-incentive deal in exchange for a 42,000-square-foot, 90-room Tru by Hilton hotel.

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20

(Marinette, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

After about two years of waiting, the Navy’s newest ship, the USS Beloit, will be christened during a ceremony on May 7 at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Because of Beloit’s long history with the U.S. Navy, it was decided the new ship would bear the name of the community.

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18

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Tanner Gilles faced work loss during COVID-19. So he decided to launch a new company to connect healthcare workers to work shifts at geriatric facilities. PT Nurse is an automated shift-scheduling platform online for healthcare workers which runs out of an office at 816 Fourth St., Beloit.

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17

(Janesville, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

Thanks to a generous donation from the Studer Family Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Rock County campus is offering 10 full-ride scholarships to Rock County high school students who will be graduating in May 2022.

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(Janesville, WI) Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC (SSB), one of North America’s largest sleep companies, announced plans this week to open a new 500,000 SF, dual-branded manufacturing facility in Janesville's Park Place Innovation Campus - which is a certified, shovel-ready industrial park that is located at the corner of STH 11 and Beloit Ave. This new, consolidated and state-of-the-art facility will be developed and leased by a subsidiary of Zilber Property Group. Once operational in 2023, this facility will employ more than 300 - and then it will add another 100 new positions to the payroll within a few years.

“Our new Janesville manufacturing facility will become one of the largest dual-branded facilities in our network, enabling us to expand our capacity and continue to meet consumer demand for our trusted brands,” said Terry Litwiler, Vice President of Operations, Serta Simmons Bedding. “This new facility is a critical part of our broader effort to optimize our manufacturing footprint to ensure we are delivering for our retail partners and consumers, while creating an industry-leading work environment for our employees.”

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

"I’m proud of our team and partners at Rock County for diligently coordinating efforts between Serta Simmons Bedding, the developer, Zilber, and the City,” said Mark Freitag, Janesville City Manager.

Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC is one of the largest manufacturers, marketers, and suppliers of mattresses in North America. The company, which is based on Atlanta, has a rich manufacturing history in Wisconsin that goes back more than 150 years. SSB's bedding brands, Serta® and Beautyrest®, are distributed through national, hospitality, and regional and independent retail channels, as well as direct-to-consumer platforms, throughout the United States and Canada. SSB also owns the Simmons® and Tuft & Needle® mattress brands. 

Over the last five years, Zilber Property Group (ZPG) - which is headquartered in Milwaukee and is the trade name that Zilber Ltd. markets its commercial real estate activities - has been very active in the Janesville-Beloit MSA. To date, the aggregate impacts of ZPG's I-39/I-90 Corridor new construction and existing portfolio acquisition activities will soon be approaching three million square feet.   

According to James Otterstein, Rock County Economic Development Manager, "The diversity, as well as growth, in the Janesville-Beloit MSA's industrial and warehousing portfolio continues to send strong marketplace investment and development signals."

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(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

The City of Beloit plans to expand roads around the proposed Ho-Chunk Casino and Resort to address any increased traffic in the area.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A proposed greenhouse operation on Janesville’s south side would likely be the biggest indoor hydroponic strawberry farm in the Midwest, if not the entire continental U.S., its prospective developer told The Gazette on Tuesday.

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(Rock County, WI) Rock County, in collaboration with other groups, is requesting input from the Greater Rock County / Stateline Area employers and childcare providers. Since childcare and workforce development are increasingly interconnected, these targeted assessments are intended to explore various childcare-related topics. Specifically, the employer survey is focused on gathering data and information with respect to how employers are addressing childcare-related employee benefits, as part of their overall retention / attraction strategies. Meanwhile, the childcare provider survey dives into numerous childcare capacity, operational and staffing topics – with an emphasis on identifying challenges, as well as opportunities, facing family (in-home) and group childcare providers.

To access the Employer Survey, visit this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/X5PZGL2

To access the Childcare Provider Survey, visit this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LVSCBC9

Each survey will remain open until April 29th. The aggregate feedback will be analyzed and used to assist with providing input that can be leveraged to assist with shaping local – and perhaps even regional and/or statewide – childcare-related public policy recommendations. For additional information, please contact the Rock County Economic Development Agency at james.otterstein@co.rock.wi.us or 608-757-5598.

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(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

The City of Beloit plans to expand roads around the proposed Ho-Chunk Casino and Resort to address any increased traffic in the area.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The city of Janesville has galvanized three big-ticket tax incentive deals aimed at landing new manufacturing space and keeping one local bedding manufacturer’s operations in Rock County.

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(Milton, WI) Scott Froehlich, Gazette

Milton’s city council on Wednesday unanimously granted an easement to allow construction of public and private utility lines that will run to the future Clasen Quality Chocolates factory on Putman Parkway. The city also finalized an agreement it reached with Clasen regarding the construction of a stormwater facility at the factory. 

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(Beloit, WI) Sara Myers, Adams Publishing Group

In the Beloit School District, students have an option that is not available in most schools in Wisconsin. Starting as early as preschool, students can enroll in the Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program where they can receive half of their school day in English and the other half in Spanish.

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(Janesville, WI) Tom Miller, Gazette

If William Morrison Tallman were alive today, not only would he be nearing his 214th birthday, but he would likely still recognize his former house at 440 N. Jackson St. Buildings on the grounds are being renovated in anticipation of visitors returning when May arrives.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Some Janesville City Council members called it a “logical next step” while others said the move “puts the cart before the horse.” Either way, the council voted 5-2 Monday to direct the city to negotiate buying the 100,000-square-foot former Sears building at Uptown Janesville for $1 plus about $6,000 in closing costs to groom the property as the potential spot for a new ice arena and convention space.

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(Janesville, WI) Harrison Freuck, Adams Publishing Group

Rock County plans to finish paving the Peace Trail by November. The county board voted unanimously Thursday to use nearly $90,000 in excess sales tax and funds from American Transmission Company to fill the final gap in funding.

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(Milton, WI) Scott Foehlich, Gazette

The City of Milton has plenty to be happy about over the last year, as 2021 brought monumental changes to a city transitioning into a period of expansion.

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(Beloit, WI) Jacob Roushia, BDN

G5 Brewing in the Gateway Business Park may be expanding soon after action taken at Monday’s Beloit City Council meeting. The Beloit City Council approved the sale of four acres of city-owned property in the Gateway Business Park to the Gateway Brewing Company (G5 Brewing) for $40,000. The land will be located at 1801 Gateway Blvd.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Rock County Jumpstart has been awarded a $1 million Diverse Business Assistance grant from the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Its fiscal agent Center for Community Stewardship will act as its pass-through agent.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Jeff Woodman is a Verona resident whose family for generations has owned the hot corner on the city’s busy, northeast side retail strip. He said casual restaurant chain Chili’s is ready to pull the trigger on developing a 5,100-square-foot restaurant on the site.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A Janesville downtown with several hundred new apartment units? Throughout the region, consumers are looking for a sweet spot that rests somewhere between affordability and location. But there will be a growing number of families who will be seeking housing in Janesville, according to a recent, independent study commissioned by Forward Janesville.

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(Milton, WI) Scott Froehlich, Adams Publishing Group

A Janesville developer wants to build nearly 100 one- and two-family houses in the city of Milton. Chris Roach, owner of Park Place Investments LLC, submitted a petition to the city of Milton to annex 49 acres of land from the town of Milton for the purposes of constructing up to 96 homes on the former site of the Bonny Meade Links Golf Course on East Bowers Lake Road.

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(Milton, WI) Pam Beres, Milton Courier

Opening a small-town coffee shop at the beginning of a pandemic would daunt the heartiest of entrepreneurs. But the crisis hasn’t stopped Dave and Sharla Walker. On June 20, 2020, they opened Sharla’s Coffee Shop inside the former Milton College Whitford Memorial Hall Library at 525 College St. in Milton.

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(Janesville, WI)

On Monday, the Janesville City Council breezed through approval of a $447,200 pay-as-you-go tax-incentive package for Rockford, Illinois-based Phelps Pet Products—a pet snack producer that plans to produce jerky-style, “meaty” dog treats in Janesville.

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(Janesville, WI)

The fair board announced the grandstand acts for the fair Monday morning. All performances are free with paid admission to the fair at the gate.

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(Janesville, WI) By Jeromey Hodsdon, Adams Publishing Group

The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin is on pace to complete its new shelter on County G by the end of March.

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(Janesville, WI) Ryan Patterson, APG      

Mercyhealth on Thursday announced an expansion at its Janesville campus that is scheduled to be completed in spring 2023. The 30,000 square-foot expansion will add a third floor to the Michael Berry Building, located at 1000 Mineral Point Ave.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Seven minority-owned businesses were able to give pitches for growing their ventures during the inaugural Rock County Jumpstart pitch event on Wednesday night.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A developer’s hotel on Janesville’s northeast side has consistently hit 80% room occupancy since 2019, even during the doldrums of the COVID-19 pandemic, a hotel operator said. That has given the developer a taste for more—90 rooms more, to be exact.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

A long-vacant property along Beloit’s riverfront could be replaced with a mixed-use development that would include a major extension to the city’s waterfront walkway.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Adams Publishing Group

The Lincoln Academy recently highlighted its career education offerings, introducing students to many career options. February was Career and Technical Education month in Wisconsin, so it seemed an opportune time for the school to put the spotlight on its career education offerings.

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01

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Perhaps the greatest lesson in Garden Prairie Intermediate School’s new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab is learning the trial and error method. Students run into problems, and learn how to solve them. It helps them in life and when dealing with gadgets.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The city of Janesville plans to chase a $7.5 million federal grant package that could cover a funding gap for a proposed $28 million public-private ice arena at Uptown Janesville.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Walking up to 1707 Wisconsin Ave. one might see a home in need of tender loving care. But to owner Lisa Campton, the home is full of life as the first-time homebuyer rehabilitates a residence built in 1918. Campton participated in programming with ACTS Housing, a Milwaukee-based organization that helps newcomers enter the world of the housing market.

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(Beloit, WI) Neil Johnson, Adams Publishing Group

The Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) for 15 of the last 17 years has transformed downtown Beloit into a late-winter playground for film lovers and filmmakers from all over the nation and all over the world.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Major internet providers in Janesville soon will have a new competitor in town. It will take a couple of years to roll out, but Evansville, Indiana-based telecommunication and internet provider Metronet plans to build out and operate a new fiber-optic network that will serve both business and residential customers here with high-speed internet connections.

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(Blackhawk Region) – For another consecutive year, United Way Blackhawk Region’s sound fiscal management practices, commitment to accountability and transparency have earned the local nonprofit organization a 4 out of 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

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(Town of Rock) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Portions of the Public Safety and Transportation Center at Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) are already in use as construction continues on the major project at BTC’s main campus.

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(Orfordville, WI) Hillary Gavan, Adams Publishing Group

Parkview High School is growing its career and technical education offerings. Although the school only has 223 students, it is offering ever-expanding programming to prepare students for the work world and is enrolling more students as it touts its ability to give individualized attention.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A consultant has told the Janesville’s main chamber of commerce the city’s downtown could fit as much as 100,000 square feet of newly built retail space—plus maybe 700 additional apartment units and 150 condos, too.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Women showcased their many products, foods and talents as shoppers flocked to the 4th Annual Black Women in Business Expo and Black History Month celebration. Held Saturday at the Eclipse Center, the event featured food, music and family fun.

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(Janesville, WI) Sara Myers, Gazette

Seven female and nonbinary students from Parker High School were among 137 state high school students who received awards from the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The market for new homes, local public officials and builders say, remains among the hottest in the region. Builders here say momentum which began last year continues.

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(Rock County, WI) UW SBDC

The Wisconsin Small Business Development (SBDC) Network will help an estimated 500 small businesses start and grow in Rock County, thanks to a five-year commitment.

When the Rock County Board of Supervisors designated $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grants to companies hurt by the pandemic, it also set aside $1.5 million for SBDC technical assistance.

“Our businesses need cash infusions to rebound and better financial management to become resilient,” said County Board Supervisor Genia Stevens, who is also the founder and executive director of Rock County Jumpstart, a business incubator and accelerator for Black business owners. 

“This provides sustainable vitality for small and mid-sized businesses,” said Bon Wikenheiser, Wisconsin SBDC state director. “They are the heart of our communities and economies.” 

The Wisconsin SBDC offers no-cost, confidential consulting and education to new and existing businesses across more than a dozen locations. In 2021, the SBDC served 6,985 clients, resulting in $119 million in capital investment, 292 new businesses and 24,253 jobs supported. 

Kathryn Jackson has been hired as Rock County’s SBDC consultant. She has more than 1,200 hours of experience working with small businesses through her most recent role at the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC). She also has her own first-hand experience starting a business, which earned her the Wisconsin SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2015.

“I am excited to work with small business owners and prospective business owners in Rock County,” Jackson said. “I’m also looking forward to supporting those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Jackson, who will be conducting outreach, training and one-on-one meetings, can be reached at kathryn.jackson@business.wisconsin.edu or 608-400-6784.

Business tools will also be made available in the next 30 to 45 days: Rock County is partnering with the Arrowhead Library System to provide Internet hotspots and Chromebooks loaded with LivePlan business planning software. 

An advisory board will shape and monitor this joint effort. Members so far include Colleen Merrill, Wisconsin SBDC associate state director; James Otterstein, economic development manager, Rock County Development Agency; Mike Mathews, operations manager, Janesville Innovation Center; and Francisca Reyna, vice president of business development & education, Blackhawk Bank.

To sign up for SBDC services, visit this link. To learn more about the Rock County business grants, click here.

About the Wisconsin SBDC

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a nationally accredited statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and business education. Regional SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises. The Wisconsin SBDC is hosted by the University of Wisconsin System under the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. www.wisconsinSBDC.org  


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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The indoor Winter Farmers’ Market in Beloit is in its second year as organizers and vendors agree this season has seen increased attendance and engagement from the community.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

At the Janesville Ice Arena on Saturday afternoon, local youth hockey dad Matt Jacobson stretched out a long sheaf of red raffle tickets at a table along the narrow concourse between the rink and a warming room. The confined space might have been good for Jacobson’s raffle ticket sales, but it also underscored the fact that a tournament of two-dozen youth hockey teams can leave the small, aging ice arena at 821 Beloit Ave. straining at the outer limits of its capacity.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

A Burlington couple plans to bring a renovation—and weddings—to the former U.S. Army National Guard armory in downtown Janesville. Wedding and reception venue operator Wendy Lynch confirmed Thursday that she and her spouse, Andrew Lynch, purchased in late January the former armory at 10 S. High St. on the west end of downtown Janesville.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

If an emerging partnership takes off, a Janesville business incubator and a local business operator would provide Janesville high school students and budding entrepreneurs with commercial “coworking” space in a third-floor loft downtown. It would serve in part as a launch pad for Janesville Craig High School students involved in Elevate, a program for students pursuing careers in business.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Seven entrepreneurs from the Beloit area will pitch ideas to an audience and panel of judges in hopes of securing funding and finding ways to further grow their small businesses to the next level. The business owners have participated in the 10-week Accelerator program by Rock County Jumpstart, an organization that fosters Black business development, and the pitch night, set for 5—8 p.m. March 9 at the Beloit Public Library, is the culmination of the group’s efforts.

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(Rock County, WI) Despite another pandemic-impacted year, the Janesville-Beloit MSA economy posted a very strong quarter. As a matter of fact, several new quarterly and year-end records were set. Details regarding these milestones are covered in this week’s release of the Q4 2021 Rock Ready Index.

The area’s unemployment rate continued to move downward; and this trend was present at the county, state and federal levels – particularly during the second half of 2021. In Q4, these rates averaged 2.5%, 2.1% and 4%, respectively. From the calendar year lens, Rock County’s average unemployment rate was 4.3%: two percentage points lower than the federal rate and six-tenths of a percentage point above the statewide rate. Whether attributed to recalibrated data or other pandemic-related factors, these rates continued to reflect an extremely competitive labor market. Interestingly enough, the Q4 regional job posting figure was the lowest among the same time periods dating back to YR 2015. While some observers point to employer fatigue, others suggest the decline is attributed to pandemic-enhanced, industry sector seasonality. Nonetheless, local hiring demand remained steady as the number of job openings found on www.JobsInRockCounty.com averaged 450 during Q4.

Housing prices, for Q4 and for the entire year, set new pricing records. The YOY Median Sale Price (MSP) for 2021 was 6.5% higher than 2020 at $208,322. December 2021, in particular, reached the highest ever monthly MSP ($219,465) and Average Sale Price ($239,546) recorded for the Janesville-Beloit MSA. Similar pricing trends, particularly for December 2021, were present at the statewide, regional and national levels too. New home starts throughout the county continued to climb in 2021, as the number of permits issued were 5.5% higher than the previous year; and more than 27% above the county’s five-year, new home starts averages. 

The County’s sales and use tax collections  established a new quarterly record ($4.71 million), by posting nearly an 11% gain compared to the same quarter a year ago. In terms of year-end collections, Rock County‘s 2021 totals exceeded $18.1 Million: a new, all-time record high and nearly 14% higher than the 2020 collections. During the last five years, these collections have averaged about a 6.5% increase each year. While the month of November marked the highest retail sales month on record for the nation, locally September was the prize-winning month. Even despite the highest inflation rates for the U.S. in 40-years, local spending patterns in Q4 suggested that consumer confidence levels remained above normal.

Overall, the economic development pipeline for Q4 was noticeably stronger than its 2020 counterpart – and most of the pipeline was representative of projects that were searching for locations to accommodate production and distribution activities within the same footprint or campus. As a result, the year-end SF, jobs and capital investment figures for 2021 were higher than the annual averages dating back to 2017. While there was a modest 7.2% increase realized in the SF category, the largest gains were attributed to the capital investment values – which were nearly double the five-year averages and about three times greater than the amounts recorded during 2020. According to data released by the Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), the composite PMI rating for Q4 2021 was 60.2 and the year-end average was 60.7. A PMI rating greater than 50 serves as an industrial expansion indicator. In addition, the national vacancy rate for industrial / warehousing space in Q4 reached an all-time, record low at 3.7%. Based on these data points, as well as what’s been trending locally, it’s no wonder that approximately 75% of the construction activity in the U.S. industrial/warehousing market during 2021 was for speculative buildings.

Lastly, the featured Q4 economic development project is Beloit-based Welders Supply Company - which has been in business for nearly 85 years. Growth, as well as operational and capacity considerations, facilitated this family-owned and operated company to purchase and retrofit an existing building. Not only does this project serve as an example of a successful business retention and expansion project, but also an adaptive, real estate reuse case study. In addition, this project highlights how niche market opportunities drive growth. Case in point: the demand for dry ice from the food/beverage and pharmaceutical sectors has competitively positioned Welders Supply as a critical input into those industry sector supply chains.

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) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Many Beloit residents soon will get phone calls from a polling firm conducting a quality of life study in the greater Beloit area. The study, conducted by Mason Dixon Polling and Strategy, is funded by Beloit Sky Carp owner Quint Studer and his wife, Rishy Studer, in coordination with the City of Beloit, Downtown Beloit Association, Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation and Visit Beloit.

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(Beloit, WI)  Austin Montgomery, BDN

It appears OrthoIllinois will be coming to Beloit after all, with the company’s site plans for a surgery center on Freeman Parkway receiving approval from the City of Beloit Community Development Department.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Welders Supply Company in Beloit is growing its roots further in the community, with the company announcing plans for a production expansion and new administrative office facility in Beloit.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Students in the Beloit College Career Accelerator are not only learning about landing a job, but they also are learning about negotiating and problem solving in the eight-day program that includes online workshops, panels and other career-related exercises.

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(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Erin Davis, an assistant to Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag and a grant-writer by trade, is at the helm administering “Pay it Forward”—a new, city grant program that leverages some of the $11 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds the federal government disbursed last year to the city.

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(Janesville, WI) Gazette Staff

Forward Janesville plans to rekindle its annual, in-person awards luncheon this spring with a banquet and reception program March 1 at the Glen Erin Golf Club in Janesville. The local chamber of commerce group uses the annual banquet to honor local member businesses and business people for their achievements.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN                   

Grab your skates and make your way to The Rink at ABC Supply Stadium in Beloit for a unique outdoor experience as the Sky Carp start on the first phase of offering events outside of baseball season.

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11

(Beloit, WI) Clint Wolf, BDN

Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD) has acquired Federal Equipment Company (FEC), which like Fairbanks has contracts with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

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04

(Milton, WI) A century-old historic building in downtown Milton will be brought back to life as a classic car showroom and parts dealership with the help of an $88,800 state grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

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04

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Nothing emerged in a Tuesday meeting of the Janesville Plan Commission that would prevent a developer from building a 40-bed stroke and heart attack rehabilitation hospital at one of the busiest traffic intersections on Janesville’s northeast end.

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03

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Rock County businesses and economic development groups are participating in a regional broadband study to determine what steps need to be taken in the coming years to improve internet access for private use and business services.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Supporters gathered for the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly constructed Joel Barrett Boys & Girls Club, 202 Maple Ave., on Tuesday afternoon.

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(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The City of Beloit continued to see economic success in 2021 led by business and residential developments, even as the pandemic created challenges.

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(Black River Falls, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

The Ho-Chunk Nation is in the process of amending its compact agreement with the State of Wisconsin to allow sports betting, including at the yet-to-be-built Beloit casino, the Beloit Daily News has learned.

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(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

The School District of Beloit is moving into the next phases of the development and expansion of the Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) career academies. Students will have additional work-based learning experience and by the time they graduate they will have either industry certifications or college credit and an understanding of which careers they are interested in pursuing, according to Career Academy Coach Deb Prowse and Chief of Communications and Marketing Monica Krysztopa.

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17

(Milton, WI) Gazette Staff

The Milton Public Library has received multiple grants from the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation and Wisconsin Humanities.

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15

(Janesville, WI) Zilber Property Group (ZPG) is continuing its investment into the Janesville-Beloit MSA, by adding another 300,000 SF to its Janesville industrial portfolio. Construction is scheduled to begin Spring 2022, with an anticipated Q4 2022 market delivery date. This new industrial / warehousing facility, much like Zilber's other Janesville investments, will be located in the City's Beloit Ave. Industrial Corridor.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our development activities in the City of Janesville,” stated Chad Navis, Director of Industrial Investments for ZPG. “This site offers us the ability to invest in a growing and dynamic market; and a community we are confident will continue to exhibit strong economic and geographic fundamentals that have proven effective in attracting high-quality, industrial users. We look forward to working with our extended public / private sector team on delivering another successful project.”

Over the last four years, ZPG - which is headquartered in Milwaukee and is the trade name that Zilber Ltd. markets its commercial real estate activities - has been very active in the Janesville-Beloit MSA. To date, the aggregate impacts of ZPG's I-39/I-90 Corridor new construction and existing portfolio acquisition activities are approaching nearly two 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, "These investments continue to provide important growth-related assets that assist with fueling the economy of the Janesville-Beloit MSA forward."

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14

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Milwaukee developer Zilber Property Group continues to leverage its success in building and filling large-scale distribution warehouses in Janesville.

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09

(Beloit, WI) Austin Montgomery, BDN

Regional partnerships and area growth were key topics discussed at the Greater Beloit Economic Development Corporation’s Annual Investors meeting held Wednesday at the Beloit Public Library as the area continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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08

(Milton, WI) Scott Froehlich, Gazette

Things are on the right track for the new chocolate factory under construction in Milton. During a virtual common council meeting Tuesday night, members of the board discussed and approved an industrial track agreement with Clasen Quality Chocolates to construct a new rail spur which will service the new the 390,000-square-foot facility currently under construction north of Putnam Parkway.

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06

(Beloit, WI) Hillary Gavan, BDN

Beloit College’s array of career preparation offerings is helping students to find a precise career fit and score jobs post-graduation. A year ago, Beloit College started Career Channel—a professional community of peers, faculty, alumni and outside experts who can match students field of study including business and entrepreneurship, justice and rights, health and healing.

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03

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

The 240 acres of the former General Motors plant site in Janesville could be sold in its entirety to a single company that bid on it last month in a private sealed auction, insiders say.

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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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(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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22

(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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27
(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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01

(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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17

(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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16

(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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15

(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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18

(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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28

(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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22

(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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15

(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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13

(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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10

(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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08

(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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24

(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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23

(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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01

(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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(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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28

(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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10

(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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(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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