Wisconsin Development News (click to read online)
Ken Harwood
Advocating for Wisconsin
Ken  [at] KenHarwood.com
608.334.2174





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Developer proposes major mixed-use project for Essen Haus site in downtown Madison

After several unsuccessful attempts to redevelop the aging Essen Haus German restaurant, along with the surrounding properties on East Wilson Street, a new developer is proposing a mixed-use development with about 250 apartments on the downtown Madison site.

Bert Stitt, a former president of Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc., and longtime resident of the First Settlement neighborhood said the proposal by McGrath Property Group is “among the best so far.”...

...McGrath is proposing a primarily residential development with first-floor commercial space, Rummel said in an email, though she noted plans are in the "concept phase." Tim Parks, a planner for the city of Madison, said in an email that the project calls for 250 units, but also noted "there are a lot more details to come and what we know now may still evolve." Representatives from McGrath could not immediately be reached for comment...

Catfish Stephenson - Waiting for a Train

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Ken Notes: A great site and one we need to get the best use out of. I will miss the Ruby, Essen House, and especially Up North which was my "local" bar when I lived around the corner. I included a link to Catfish Stephenson who is at Up North most Thursday`s. I`ll be following this project and may have to make a few trips into the city to here him play in his natural habitat...

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The Masters Live
Georgia – It wasn’t long ago that golf fans who tuned in to The Masters Tournament telecast didn’t get to see golfers hit shots on the front nine at the Augusta National Golf Club.

Starting Thursday morning, they will be able to view every shot hit by every player in the field - on all 18 holes - on the Masters app or on Masters.com. It’s a first for golf and demonstrates the aggressive way the Masters is pushing the digital envelope...

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Ken Notes: Every year I include this link and it is almost always the most clicked link in the newsletter demonstrating, I believe, that Wisconsin`s development community is dedicated to finding the perfect landscaping options for there projects.

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Mayor-elect: Bringing a “fresh start” to the capital city

MADISON (WKOW) — A new era for Madison, Mayor-elect Satya Rhodes-Conway begins her transition into the four-year term. As the first openly gay and second female ever to hold the position, she said it’s not all about breaking barriers, but instead creating a pathway for others to get involved...

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Mayor-elect Satya Rhodes-Conway hires chief of staff, begins administration transition


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Ken Notes: Congratulations, and now the work begins.

Here are some issues at the top of the ED list. Housing not just for the poor but for the middle class and service worker. Smaller units more density? Transit, I have been writing about BRT for 11 years now so hearing it offered as a solution was nice -- but BRT still requires infrastructure in the form of dedicated lanes, transit stations, and signaling. Project development, let the neighborhoods and special interested have a voice but not a mandate or the ability to significantly delay projects - time is money and the burbs are just sitting there. I also applaud the desire to improve relations with the council but there will remain a need to prevent them from micro managing a project once approved. I am looking forward to your vision and wish you the best. Also let me know how I can help.

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Gov. Tony Evers wants to renegotiate Foxconn deal, says company won`t employ 13,000
Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday he wants to renegotiate the state`s contract with Foxconn Technology Group and emphasized the Taiwanese company won`t be creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin as originally envisioned.  

"Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated," Evers told reporters in his Capitol office. 

He said it was premature to say what specific changes he would be seeking. Under existing deals, the state and local governments could provide the company up to $4 billion to establish a massive facility in Racine County and create up to 13,000 Wisconsin jobs.

See Also: (dozens of articles on the subject - I chose JS and NYTimes to get a national perspective)

Foxconn’s Deal With Wisconsin Should Be Revised, Gov. Tony Evers Says

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Ken Notes: I believe it may be premature to renegotiate anything because quite simply Foxconn is not sure exactly what they will be building at the new plant. The current agreement is predicated on job creation so the state is not releasing large tax credits at present. It is the local communities that may have a real problem because infrastructure goes in before the project - so land, sewer, water, power, and roads are currently under construction for a project whose final value may not fully support the investment. I continue to hope that the development agreements are enforceable to support these investments.

One final note, it wold be nice if there were a report available on exactly what has been spent and what our expectations are for repayment. In 2012, yep 7years ago, I said -- "We Need – Rules to play by.  Develop a tracking system for our investments in business based on outcomes -- Wisconsin does not keep score, and recently we have seen more than a few flags tossed by the federal government for this infraction. The new WEDC needs to fix this" This link is to the entire article published - November 14, 2012. WEDC is far better today than they were in 2012, they are using pay as you go options far more today and offering less up front capital -- but still what they spend and how they spend it is still a moving target...


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Tony Evers could re-appoint some appointees of Scott Walker

Judge Niess` ruling gives Evers the authority to appoint a new CEO to lead the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., but Evers said he won`t do that for now.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said Monday he would move as quickly as possible to make appointments to 82 positions that became vacant after a contentious court ruling last week.

The governor said some of those appointments could include people former Republican Gov. Scott Walker appointed and the Senate confirmed in a December session a Dane County judge deemed illegal. The appointments include those to state councils, boards and other bodies....

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Ken Notes: Good move on WEDC. The question needs to be what will WEDC look like... What is the supporting legislation and funding behind the organization... And how will local incentives (TIF) be aligned in support of growth and development... and just because I like to stir the pot, how will local ED professional become more involved.

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Foxconn is confusing the hell out of Wisconsin

Last summer, Foxconn announced a barrage of new projects in Wisconsin — so we went looking for them

was summer in Wisconsin, and Foxconn seemed to be everywhere. But also: nowhere at all.

Starting last June, officials with the Taiwanese tech manufacturing giant began popping up in all corners of the state and announcing new projects. It had been almost a year since then-Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) offered the company a subsidy package that came to total $4.5 billion. Both Walker, who was in the midst of a reelection campaign, and Foxconn, which had just confirmed that it would build a far smaller factory than it had initially promised, seemed eager to make a good impression...

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Ken Notes: It is NOT CONFUSING it is business. The margin on TV`s went away so Foxconn has decided to find other markets for new products to make. It will then manufacture these new products in a facility here in Wisconsin.

They currently do not know exactly what those products are so finding new technology is their focus. This does not make for good press bites so they quiet. This story is not fair and Wisconsin needs a spokesperson that can address the issues with some degree of calm.

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Republicans Call For `Reset` Of Evers` Budget Plan

GOP Lawmakers Scrutinized Key Pillars Of Plan During Budget Committee Meeting

Republican lawmakers challenged top members of Gov. Tony Evers` cabinet to defend the governor`s budget Wednesday, sending strong signals that major pillars of the plan wouldn`t survive the Legislature.

Wednesday`s agency briefings in front of the powerful Joint Finance Committee covered schools, health care and roads -- three of Evers` top priorities when he campaigned for governor in 2018.

They also account for some of the largest spending increases in Evers` budget proposal, driven in part by tax increases that Republicans say are non-starters.

"The governor is raising taxes at a time when taxes to not need to be raised," said state Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who co-chairs the Legislature`s budget committee. "I would say today is a `reset` for the budget as proposed."...



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Ken Notes: I hate that this is partisan not policy driven. We need to tie outcomes to our taxes and spending and joint finance is very numbers only driven. Of course the other side of the coin can be too program driven.

I see tying tax credits and cuts to creating new jobs. What can we expect from new road and gas taxes, they do need help. Can a health care program save businesses money, can we offer badger care to everyone on a sliding scale? Will our schools prepare the next generation workforce to be job ready. Can we increase our apprenticeship offerings and use of Tech and UW Systems without push-back from our teachers...

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Madison gets first look at three new proposals for piece of Judge Doyle Square

Three developers are offering proposals for big mixed-use projects priced between $38.2 million and $52 million above a public underground parking garage nearing completion at Judge Doyle Square in Madison’s Downtown.

Gebhardt Development and Stone House Development, both of Madison, and Mandel Group, of Milwaukee, on Monday responded to a city request for development proposals with distinct designs for a private portion of the project site, which includes the landmark Madison Municipal Building and aging Government East parking garage blocks....

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Ken Notes: I like Gebhardt and Stone House but I have been asking Mandel to look at Madison for years now - So I need to welcome them to the mix thus the use of their photo. Please make sure we are in line with the current project developer as well...

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SCS - At the forefront of sustainable environmental solutions for over 40 years and ...A sponsor of Wisconsin Development News

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Fiserv Forum Anchors Fresh Activation Of 30-Acre Milwaukee Development

Fiserv Forum opened in Milwaukee in August as the brand-new home of the NBA’s Bucks and Marquette University, but the development was always about more than serving as a 17,341-seat home for basketball and concerts and replacing the aged Bradley Center. The opening celebrates the development of 30 acres surrounding the arena, including a still-growing Entertainment Block...


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Ken Notes: Congrats!!! Nice NATIONAL attention!! This has been fun to watch. I think the downtown will continue to grow and become a global destination. The 2020 DNC event will be huge (yes I am trying to reclaim the term from those who may have stolen it from our lexicon) and a great opportunity for the State!!!!

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Wisconsin Becoming New Hotbed For Industrial Developers And Investors

The Chicago region’s industrial sector keeps setting records for absorption and new construction, but the demand for industrial properties is surging all over the nation, even in small secondary markets, and just over the northern border with Wisconsin a new powerhouse is developing.

The planned Foxconn factory in Mount Pleasant, along with the massive facilities built nearby by ULINE, both larger than 1M SF, are all part of a new industrial corridor along Interstate 94 between Chicago and Milwaukee...

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Ken Notes: There is no doubt that Wisconsin is quickly becoming a hub for manufacturing and DISTRIBUTION in the U.S.. Now we need to level the playing field for tax incentives and credits tied to quality jobs quality brick and mortar. Also transit infrastructure will need to be maintained and improved - Roads and Rail should be on our radar...

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State delivers $23.4 million in tax credits for Madison affordable housing projects

Madison’s Affordable Housing Initiative got another multimillion-dollar boost from the state, although just two of four projects seeking critical financial support received it.

The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has awarded $23.4 million in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to separate projects by Gorman and Co. and Stone House Development that will cost a total $35.4 million and deliver a combined 155 apartments with 131 of the units for those making no more than 60% of Dane County median income, or $49,560 for a family of three...

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Ken Notes: I still wish Madison and Dane County would just build more housing that is affordable rather than "affordable housing". We are perpetuating a system that has never really worked...

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Less educated Wisconsinites faring worse as job growth shifts from manufacturing to service industry
A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found retirement-age Americans without a college degree are worse off than their parents` generation.

The study found white Americans born around the 1960`s who didn`t go to college earned lower wages than the same demographic born 20 years earlier.

The younger cohort were also expected to pay much higher out-of-pocket medical expenses and had lower life expectancies than the older group.

Steven Deller, interim director of the Center for Community & Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the report confirms trends seen in Wisconsin as jobs shift away from manufacturing...

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Ken Notes: I will repeat on the off chance that just one person is listening. We MUST exponentially increase our apprenticeship opportunities and school to work transitional programs to create skill sets in our students not entering post secondary schools. The days of "I`ll just work at the factory or on the farm" are gone. Businesses are begging for skilled labor. Construction, technology, even manufacturing require new skill that are not taught in our high schools....

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Mid-State receives workforce development honor
Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids is one of just seven schools in North America to earn the 2019 Learning Resources Network (LERN) Training Award for Excellence in Reaching Underserved Populations.

Workforce Development Manager Craig Bernstein says the award showed the flexibility that the school offers in bridging the gap between the skills needed by employers in the region and the skill set of the current workforce. "They don`t look at the graduates that the college is putting out there. [They really look at] how the college is helping the workforce through training programs and non-traditional education."...

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Ken Notes: ...and while I am on my soapbox, let me suggest we have the tools in place to create a GREAT workforce. Since I cant find funding for WisconsinApprentice.com I will talk about programs in WDN because our economy depends on using the tools like our Tech Colleges to their fullest capacity. Congrats Mid-State!

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Several development projects in the works on streetcar route

The new $128 million streetcar opened to the public in November. The controversial project has its share of critics, but also has attracted significant interest from real estate developers.

Local developer Charles Bailey has put forward ambitious plans to redevelop the historic building at 600 N. Broadway in downtown Milwaukee into a 62-room boutique hotel with street-level restaurant or retail space.

Bailey says this site was chosen in part due to its proximity to The Hop, the city’s new downtown streetcar system. In fact, the streetcar runs right past the property along North Broadway. The development site is close to a stop near the intersection of North Broadway and East Wisconsin Avenue...

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Ken Notes: For the one thousandth time over the last 11 years. Madison Terrace to terrace -- rubber wheel -- alternative fuel!

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SmartCode version 9-2 - Linked fixed...
The Current version is at the link...

The original SmartCode was released by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company (DPZ) in 2003, after two decades of research and implementation. It has been continually updated with input from scores of practitioners from numerous disciplines. Since 2004, the model code has been completely open source and free of charge....

SmartCode is a unified land development ordinance template for planning and urban design. Originally developed by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, this open source program is a model form-based unified land development ordinance designed to create walkable neighborhoods across the full spectrum of human settlement, from the most rural to the most urban, incorporating a transect of character and intensity within each.

It folds zoning, subdivision regulations, urban design, and basic architectural standards into one compact document. Because the SmartCode enables community vision by coding specific outcomes that are desired in particular places, it is meant to be locally calibrated by professional planners, architects, and attorneys....



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Ken Notes: I included a link to this last week but it was broken -- this one works and I will keep it at the bottom of WDNews for a while as a resource.

If there is enough interest I can put together a seminar on this and bring in some experts to explain it. Fitchburg is using SmartCode for an new subdivision in the community.

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Appeals Court Sides With Evers In Dispute Over Walker Appointees

Judges Found Evers Did Not Violate A Court Stay When He Rescinded The Appointments

A state appeals court has sided with Gov. Tony Evers in a dispute with Republican lawmakers over Evers` decision to rescind 15 lame-duck appointees made by Gov. Scott Walker.

Republican state Senators confirmed 82 Walker appointees during December`s lame-duck session. Evers rescinded all 82 of them last month, shortly after Dane County Judge Richard Niess ruled that the entire lame-duck session was unconstitutional.

Evers later reappointed 67 of those same people, effectively removing 15 of the Walker picks from various state boards and commissions....

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Is Milwaukee ready to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention?

Is Milwaukee ready for all that comes with hosting the 2020 Democratic National Convention? Community leaders, neighborhood groups, business owners and entrepreneurs came together Wednesday to talk about steps we can start taking...

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Ken Notes: This will be great for the State and we will be ready!!!

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Dairyland Power Cooperative
We will power our communities and empower cooperative members
to improve the quality of their lives.
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Wisconsin`s Proposed Senate Bill Can Have Far-Reaching Implications for Wisconsin Municipalities Creating Tax Incremental Financing Districts

What is a Tax Incremental Financing District?...

What Are The Proposed Changes?

While there are many advantages to TIDs, there is concern that TIDs increase the tax burden on citizens within the community. Governor Tony Evers` proposed budget, introduced as 2019 Senate Bill 59 on March 1, 2019, attempts to address this concern by proposing three changes to future TIDs. Those changes are:

  1. Capping the developer allocation to 20% of the NIR (currently, there is no statutory limit to the amount of NIR that can be allocated to a developer),

  2. Requiring TID project plans to include "stress tests" to test the "TID`s finances and feasibility under different economic situations, including a slower pace of development and lower rate of property value growth than expected in the TID," and

  3. Allowing cities and villages to transfer TID money to its general fund if the "city or village erroneously report a higher value increment for its TID by an aggregate amount of at least $50 million."...

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Ken Notes: I have been advocating for simpler TIF rules with stronger guarantees especially for smaller communities. These changes are anything but that. The stress test specifically would be both difficult and expensive for cities to complete. Also how do you develop infrastructure for a project with no specific project on the boards. We need a simple TIF program for smaller cities to help expanding or new businesses with a development agreement based incentive that is bank financed up front.

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Wisconsin unemployment rate drops to 2.9 percent

Unemployment rate stuck at 3 percent for five prior months

After a five-month stagnation at 3 percent, the Wisconsin unemployment rate fell to 2.9 percent in February 2019.

The 2.9 percent rate is the first time unemployment in Wisconsin has dipped below 3 percent since February 2018...

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Ken Notes: This is great, now if we can get more of these working adults into skilled positions with a great wage and good benefits!

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WHEDA Issues $165 Million in Single Family Bonding
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) has issued $165 million of Home Ownership Revenue Bonds that will be used to fund WHEDA first-time home buyer mortgages.

Proceeds are expected to be spent before June 30, 2019, during the heart of the annual spring home buying season.

“I’m excited about the bonding because this provides funding for our first-time home buyer loans in addition to some down payment assistance,” said WHEDA Chief Financial Officer Sherry Gerondale. “The first-time home buyer represents about 65% of our volume, so the bonding will be a substantial benefit to our customers.”...

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Ken Notes: I Madison we need a two pronged approach. Loans for first time home buyers and HOMES THEY CAN AFFORD...

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Census: Dane County leads state in population growth; more than double any other county in Wisconsin

Though the rate of growth continued to slow, Dane County accounted for a quarter of Wisconsin’s population growth in 2018.

County-level population estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show the county added about 5,584 people, more than any other county in the state.

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Ken Notes: This is good and bad news. We need to develop market value housing stock that is affordable to the service industry, trades and entry level labor market. We do not build 100K or 150K new homes in Dane County, we should, but we do not. This by the way should not be a government subsidized or mandated program it should be a zoning and development partnership with the private sector. We are forcing thousands to commute into the County every day...

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WEDC awards $7.5 million in tax credits to Amazon for Wisconsin projects

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has awarded up to $7.5 million in tax credits to Amazon.com for job creation and capital investment for any investments Amazon makes in Wisconsin, including the company’s new $200 million Oak Creek distribution center.

The actual amount of credits the company will receive is contingent on the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment the company makes through 2024, WEDC said Monday. All tax credits are “pay as you grow,” which means the company must create the jobs and invest the capital before it can receive any credits...

...This is the second time in recent years WEDC has provided tax credits to Amazon. Previously, Amazon committed to its Kenosha project that opened in 2014, and secured a combined $32.3 million in incentives from the state of Wisconsin and city of Kenosha....

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Ken Notes: I do not have a problem with offering incentives to Amazon, I just wish we had a program for EVERY growing business in the state to benefit from expanding their workforce. It has to be frustrating for a small Wisconsin firm wanting to bring on two or three employees to see big brother get millions.

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Natural Resources Board Approves Hearings For Proposed Phosphorus Rule

Rule Would Create A Process For Setting Site-Specific Standards

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board unanimously approved public hearings on a proposed rule that would create a process for setting site-specific phosphorus standards on the state`s bodies of water.

Wisconsin already has statewide water quality standards for phosphorus, but these vary depending on the water system. Phosphorus in the water can support the growth of algae and other plants, but too much can overwhelm the system....


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Ken Notes: Algae is a huge problem, I will again suggest we visit the twin cities to see how they addressed this issues several years back. This is not a punitive issue it is a cooperative issue...

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Some outdated Wisconsin malls see success in redevelopment while others struggle

While buying goods online continues to become the norm, there were still plenty of people venturing inside a suburban Milwaukee mall on a recent afternoon. At Brookfield Square, shoppers can still pick up a book at Barnes & Noble or buy a sweater at J.C. Penney.

Like most shopping centers, Brookfield Square has had some setbacks. It lost anchor stores Sears and Boston Store in 2018, along with many other retailers. But the city created a special taxing district to help revive the mall and other businesses are in the works.

"Consumers are starting to look for more entertainment and experience focused retail," said Stacey Keating, a spokeswoman for Chattanooga, Tennessee-based CBL Properties, which owns Brookfield Square....

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Ken Notes: Malls and abandoned big box must become a destination or die. I can address this issue with your group if you need a speaker...

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Miron’s comprehensive range of construction services are designed to meet the unique and diversified needs of our clients. Contact Us.
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Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Medical College of Wisconsin advance community-based partnership
MILWAUKEE — The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation have established a joint vision for impact, selected a developer and announced the future neighborhood and home of their community-based partnership as it moves forward into development stage.

The shared vision is “a Milwaukee that is equitable, healthy and thriving for all.” Achieving this vision requires focusing on places where investment has been scarce and supporting people of color, who are disproportionately affected by disparities in the community. Together, the Foundation and MCW will:
  • Engage resident and community partnerships.
  • Improve social determinants of health.
  • Catalyze change that leverages resources and invest

The site chosen is in the Halyard Park neighborhood, at 2153 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The location will be home to MCW’s community engagement programs as well as the new headquarters for the Foundation. Future opportunities for convening space, programming and additional local partners are expected to amplify community impact.

The site was once home to Gimbels-Schuster’s Department Store and received major additions in both 1914 and 1950. The natural façade of the historic building will be restored in the redevelopment process...

Royal Capital leads $100M development for Medical College, local foundation on King Drive

What started as a Medical College of Wisconsin initiative to address health disparities in Milwaukee and open a central city facility has blossomed into a multi-partner, $100 million project in a former anchor department store on North Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive....

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Ken Notes: Perfect adaptive reuse of a great building!!!

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Wisconsin must compete in tech environment
Gone are the days when people associated Kansas City only with factories, railroads and great barbecue, even though all three still flourish.

Today, Kansas City is also a technology hub for companies such as Cerner, Garmin, DST Systems, Honeywell and Sprint, and it’s one of the most wired cities in America.

With a metro population roughly the size of Milwaukee, Kansas City and the region’s 68,000 tech workers stand as a Midwest example of how sectors such as software, digital media and health information are no longer the exclusive domains of Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin...

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Ken Notes: As I follow Foxconn and others it is obvious that our ability to develop and manufacture new tech will be key to Wisconsin`s success. I would love to see us expand in battery tech, records management, medical tech, renewable energy, transportation, and robotics and automation.

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Boulder still working in Wauwatosa after rejection of development that includes Tesla showroom

Boulder Venture LLC will continue working on a Wauwatosa development that could bring Wisconsin its first Tesla showroom and service center after city officials on Tuesday rejected its most recent plan.

City officials who voted against the plan said it is not dense enough and they would rather hold out for a more valuable project with more commercial or residential space. It is proposed at the former Dodge and Buick dealerships on the south side of West Burleigh Street, east of 114th Street, near the Mayfair Collection and Meijer...



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Ken Notes: I would love to see a Tesla facility in Wisconsin and I alos get that it is difficult because car dealerships are not "dense". I see a multi story care dealership coming soon... Like this??...

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OP ED: Imperiled again: one of Wisconsin’s great achievements

Name one achievement by the state government in the past 30 years that has done more to benefit the people, land, water and wildlife of Wisconsin, as well as the state’s essential outdoor recreation economy and its overall quality of life, than the creation of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.

If this were a quiz, that would be a trick question, because there is nothing that surpasses the positive impact of the Stewardship Fund.

The legislation that established this institution in 1989—bipartisan and proud of it as evidenced by its name honoring Republican and Democratic governors—has done incalculable good in ways that range from saving endangered natural areas to strengthening the tourism business sector.

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Ken Notes: I have to agree that the Stewardship Fund is one of our greatest assets. If we do anything to alter it`s course we should address ways to improve the funds available and their use.

I have proposed a TIF like structure to buy and protect Wisconsin lands. Imagine a State Park or Forest with some lands available for use as a private development for tourism.

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Top Note Tonics to move production to Wisconsin

Milwaukee adult soda maker partners with Octopi Brewing

Based in the Lincoln Warehouse in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood, Top Note parent La Pavia Beverage LLC makes non-alcoholic sparkling sodas and aromatic tonics often used in mixed drinks.

“The combination of sweet, sour, bitter, savory, they’re a little more adult,” said co-founder Mary Pelletieri. “They’re kind of like adult soft drinks.”

Its five tonic flavors – Classic Tonic Water, Indian Tonic Water, Ginger Beer Soda, Bitter Lemon Soda and Grapefruit Soda – are currently developed in-house and then manufactured by a Pennsylvania co-packer. But with the installation of a cold pasteurizer and customized bottling line at Octopi, the products will be manufactured in Wisconsin beginning in July. A $150,000 Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. loan helped make the new equipment a reality....

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Ken Notes: I sse a niche market in Wisconsin for "Craft Alcohol" beer, wine, spirits, mixers, and more... There must be a CBD soda coming soon!

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An Interview With Wisconsin`s Head Of Workforce Development

Wisconsin’s Secretary-designee of the Department of Workforce Development joins us for an interview. We talk about how the state is look to attract workers to Wisconsin, the low unemployment rate, efforts to boost the minimum wage, job creation and much more...

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Ken Notes: Lots of great info in this interview.

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Wisconsin launches worker misclassification task force

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers this week signed an executive order launching a joint enforcement task force on payroll fraud and worker misclassification. The task force will coordinate worker misclassification matters handled by the Departments of Revenue, Workforce Development, and Justice, as well as the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and other agencies; it will report to the governor on or before March of each year on their activities.

“Last year alone, UI Division auditors conducted 2,459 audits, identifying 8,677 misclassified workers and recouping more than $1.5 million in UI taxes...   ...more

Ken Notes: I agree that this is a major problem but I worry that unless we change the legislation, the task force will simply encourage companies to increase their use of third party contract employees. To avoid the "grey areas" companies will staff using even more contract, temp and temp to hire options readily available...

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The Gialamas Company






 “Founded in 1976 by George and Candy Gialamas, The Gialamas Company specializes in Class A Commercial Real Estate. Old Sauk Trails Park, is one of the most prestigious business parks in Wisconsin; containing numerous office buildings supplemented by restaurants, hotels, financial institutions, a childcare facility and a walking/jogging trail system....
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Wisconsin`s Proposed Senate Bill Can Have Far-Reaching Implications for Wisconsin Municipalities Creating Tax Incremental Financing Districts

What is a Tax Incremental Financing District?...

What Are The Proposed Changes?

While there are many advantages to TIDs, there is concern that TIDs increase the tax burden on citizens within the community. Governor Tony Evers` proposed budget, introduced as 2019 Senate Bill 59 on March 1, 2019, attempts to address this concern by proposing three changes to future TIDs. Those changes are:

  1. Capping the developer allocation to 20% of the NIR (currently, there is no statutory limit to the amount of NIR that can be allocated to a developer),

  2. Requiring TID project plans to include "stress tests" to test the "TID`s finances and feasibility under different economic situations, including a slower pace of development and lower rate of property value growth than expected in the TID," and

  3. Allowing cities and villages to transfer TID money to its general fund if the "city or village erroneously report a higher value increment for its TID by an aggregate amount of at least $50 million."...

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Ken Notes: I have been advocating for simpler TID rules with stronger guarantees especially for smaller communities. These changes are anything but that. The stress test specifically would be both difficult and expensive for cities to complete. Also how do you develop infrastructure for a project with no specific project on the boards. We need a simple TIF program for smaller cities to help expanding or new businesses with a development agreement based incentive that is bank financed up front.

Social Links

Wisconsin`s Proposed Senate Bill Can Have Far-Reaching Implications for Wisconsin Municipalities Creating Tax Incremental Financing Districts

What is a Tax Incremental Financing District?...

What Are The Proposed Changes?

While there are many advantages to TIDs, there is concern that TIDs increase the tax burden on citizens within the community. Governor Tony Evers` proposed budget, introduced as 2019 Senate Bill 59 on March 1, 2019, attempts to address this concern by proposing three changes to future TIDs. Those changes are:

  1. Capping the developer allocation to 20% of the NIR (currently, there is no statutory limit to the amount of NIR that can be allocated to a developer),

  2. Requiring TID project plans to include "stress tests" to test the "TID`s finances and feasibility under different economic situations, including a slower pace of development and lower rate of property value growth than expected in the TID," and

  3. Allowing cities and villages to transfer TID money to its general fund if the "city or village erroneously report a higher value increment for its TID by an aggregate amount of at least $50 million."...

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Ken Notes: I have been advocating for simpler TID rules with stronger guarantees especially for smaller communities. These changes are anything but that. The stress test specifically would be both difficult and expensive for cities to complete. Also how do you develop infrastructure for a project with no specific project on the boards. We need a simple TIF program for smaller cities to help expanding or new businesses with a development agreement based incentive that is bank financed up front.

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Sara Meaney views 2020 DNC as opportunity to tell Wisconsin`s story
Sara Meaney discussed the opportunity presented by the 2020 DNC and the creation of the Wisconsin Office of Outdoor Recreation...
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Ken Notes: MBJ is behind a paywall so I did not get to read the story but I am guessing Sara, secretary-designee of tourism for Wisconsin, was correct. Wisconsin has a great story to tell and if we work at it we could have even more to say by 2020. I vote for a newly restructured WEDC and TIF reform offering incentives to every growing business in the state paying good wages and offering great benefits.

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Analysis: Tax Increment Financing In Wisconsin

Tax increment financing, or TIF, has built an incredible reputation in Wisconsin when it comes to local economic development. Sen. Rick Gudex summed it up in a 2015 memo, “TIF is the only tool that Cities, Villages, and Townships have for economic development across the state on a local level.”

TIF certainly is popular. In 2018, there were 1,261 active TIF districts in Wisconsin worth a combined $20.9 billion, up from 1,151 in 2014 worth $16.2 billion. That’s a 29 percent increase in value just over four years. However, that alone doesn’t prove Gudex’s statement that local governments needed TIF in order to facilitate that growth....

See Also:

A resource from the League of Wisconsin Municipalities

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Notes: I agree with the premise that development would happen without TIF, but strongly disagree that TIF may not be an important element of local development. TIF brings the community to the table! TIF can be used to create infrastructure that might not otherwise be developed or improved. TIF can encourage the development a community wants.

We need to restructure our TIF laws moving forward, allowing support for individual projects, requiring a development agreement, and controlling the effect on the local property tax rates. This is a baby bath water issue - We can learn from the successes and problems of the past. I do have some real concerns with the legislative trend in the past to legislate stopgap tweaks rather than improve the program...

This article is both very biased and with that in mind somewhat informative. I would love to see an article covering the same issues using successful projects and creative uses as the examples (See Link Above). Finally I see many communities that do not fully understand the tool and its uses.

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Streetwise: Opportunity Zones could help spur development in Green Bay

GREEN BAY - An Iowa development group could be the first to use a 2017 federal tax incentive to redevelop property in Green Bay. 

Merge Urban Development Group, of Cedar Rapids, has secured a six-month planning option a vacant, narrow strip of city-owned land at 321 and 325 N. Broadway. The group is developing plans for a three-story, 33,000-square-foot building with 24 apartments, underground parking and 2,000 square feet of first-floor commercial space. Work would likely start in 2020. 

The $5 million project would capitalize on the property`s inclusion in one of four Opportunity Zones in the Green Bay area   ...more

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Wisconsin CDFIs Lending Strengthens Communities
Wisconsin’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) gathered in Madison on Tuesday, April 16 for the third Annual CDFI Day at the Capitol.  Certified by the US Department of the Treasury, these 22 organizations are charged with lending in under-served markets, and as such bring value to the areas they serve.  Loan products can include business financing, home ownership and home rehabilitation, consumer financing (auto, credit builder) as well as community economic development financing for the development of affordable housing and community facilities.  CDFIs often partner with conventional lenders.  From 2005 to 2017, these organization have lent over $2 billion, often to low- to moderate income households, people who face barriers to financing and to people of color, as well as to nonprofit organizations and affordable housing developers....
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Ken Notes: I promise that public private partnerships like CDFI`s are the solution to many of our problems. This program is one being considered for elimination in the federal budget... Because it works???

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Foxconn awards contracts for utility and road work at Mt. Pleasant project site

Foxconn Technology Group has awarded contracts to five companies for utility and road work at the site of Foxconn`s planned manufacturing complex in Mount Pleasant.

The contracts are to be formally announced later this morning, but the names of the firms receiving the work were posted Thursday on the state`s WisconnnValley.gov website.

Contracts to build internal roadways at the Foxconn site are going to Giles and Hoffman, as well as to A.W. Oakes & Sons Inc., of Racine; and Payne & Dolan Inc., Waukesha...

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Report: More Than 1K Wisconsin Bridges In Need Of Repair

Wisconsin has 14,275 bridges. Of those, 1,054 — or 7.4 percent — have been deemed structurally deficient in a new report.

According to the report issued by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the state has identified necessary repairs on 1,955 bridges in Wisconsin at an estimated cost of $1.4 billion.

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Engineered Construction Inc. / General Contractors

   
GENERAL CONTRACTING
     Residential - Commercial - Retail - Controlled Environments
          FIRE /   WATER / STORM DAMAGE RESTORATION
               DESIGN / BUILD & REMODELING


“Located in the Madison region for over 30 years, Engineered Construction is an industry leader in commercial construction and the restoration of commercial and residential fire and water damage.” See comments from our clients here.   ...more
...A sponsor of Wisconsin Development News

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https://isthmus.com/news/cover-story/administrative-roadblocks-set-back-research-at-uw/

By now it’s well documented that UW-Madison lags behind most of its peers in turning its esteemed research into marketable goods. The question is what would it take for the university to get on track and become a pacesetter in the lucrative development of pharmaceutical drugs and cutting-edge medical treatment? One answer: a “major culture change spearheaded by top leadership.”

That’s the wake-up call sounded in a provocative study commissioned by UW Health and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. Conducted by consultant Mary Westrick, who has 35 years of experience in clinical testing, the study lays out a series of stark challenges — both organizational as well as attitudinal — that threaten the campus’ declared goal to be a national leader in translating basic research into cutting-edge medical treatment....

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Ken Notes: Interesting read. I am still a fan of WARF and we get some wonderful research grants but much of our research does enter the private sector more quickly than on other campuses. The article does identify a number of private sector startups - but then suggest even our own companies are funding research at other institutions.

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Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty plans growth in face of Democratic administration

Taking questions from reporters after a Feb. 20 event in downtown Madison, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers was asked about a report knocking his proposal to expand Medicaid released the previous day by “a conservative law firm.”

“Well, I’ve dealt with that conservative law firm once or twice,” Evers said wryly, going on to question the accuracy of the report.

Years before he was elected governor, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty was a thorn in Evers’ side, suing him and otherwise challenging him in his capacity as state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Since Evers was elected governor, the organization has added five people to its team as it seeks to expand its footprint and serve as a leading opposition figure in the face of a new Democratic administration.

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Ken Notes: Why can`t the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty work with the new Governor to shape policy in the interest of Wisconsin citizens. Partisanship must end and it could start in Wisconsin, alas we have deepened the trenches and are looking for more ammunition. I believe the result will be a battle where everyone looses - Except Lawyers. Scary isn`t it!

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Badger Institute: Federal grants are turning states against their own people

States are increasingly “lured by the federal government” to receive so-called free money, but in the process have become “branch offices of Washington – or, even worse, indistinguishable from the federal government itself,” according to an analysis published by the state’s fiscally conservative think tank, the Badger Institute.

This costs taxpayers money and increasing intrusion into their personal lives that is unwarranted, the authors of the report argue.

The report, Federal Grantstanding, how federal grants are depriving us of our money, liberty and trust in government, concludes that Wisconsin taxpayers would be better off if the state received fewer federal grants-in-aid, and suggests changes to the state government administration...

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Ken Notes: Very interesting read. I am not sure I agree with the premise that we should get less, I do believe we need to level the playing field so that all our businesses can participate and/or benefit. Our federal parks and nation forests are a wonderful resource. Our federal programs supporting AG, and the food industry also come to mind as a pretty important resource. we need to look at this from BOTH sides...

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UW System Restructure Gets Final Approval From Accrediting Agency

Nearly two years after the biggest restructuring of the University of Wisconsin System in 40 years was announced, President Ray Cross said that the plan has been granted final approval by the accrediting body overseeing Wisconsin campuses.

In early March, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accrediting agency notified UW System administrators that it had given final approval to the merger of the state`s 13 two-year colleges with seven of its four-year universities. The restructure also eliminated the UW Colleges and Extension and moved its services, including Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television, to new homes within the UW System.

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Ken Notes: I hope the next move is to focus on school to work programs that augment the Tech programs...

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Italy-Based Centro Sperimentale del Latte USA Plans Production Center in Wisconsin
Centro Sperimentale del Latte USA Inc., a probiotic company, plans to establish its first operations in the U.S. with a manufacturing facility in Franksville, Wisconsin. The investment is part of a multimillion-dollar project expected to create up to 31 jobs over the next four years.

PROBIO RE LLC, Centro Sperimentale del Latte’s related entity, recently purchased its first U.S. location, with plans to establish a newly constructed manufacturing facility on a 25-acre site in Racine County. The facility will produce probiotics and related materials.

The company chose the facility due to the growing probiotic supplement market in the U.S. as well as the close proximity to specialty cheese makers throughout Wisconsin, according to Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

WEDC is supporting the project by authorizing up to $350,000 in state income tax credits over the next four years...    ...more

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Access To Affordable Child Care Remains Barrier For Wisconsin Workers

At a time when many Wisconsin employers are having difficulty finding and keeping workers, the man picked by Gov. Tony Evers to lead the state Department of Workforce Development is pointing to barriers for workers like housing and transportation. And for parents, what to do about kids when they`re not in school...

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Ken Notes: We need solutions for this that are neighborhood based. This is also an area where quality jobs and income are a factor. It is difficult to pay $200 - $300 when you make $10 / hour.

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National report shows Wisconsin had fourth-largest decline in higher education funding over five years

A national report ranked Wisconsin as having the fourth-largest decline in per-student higher education funding between 2013 and 2018.

The State Higher Education Executive Officers Association released the report looking at higher education finances since the Great Recession. Nationwide, education appropriations fell by more than 24 percent since 2008 because of enrollment increases and funding decreases...

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Ken Notes: And yet we have one of the best systems in the nation and the world. It is not just what you spend but how you spend it and we do a pretty good job. It would be nice if we could create a fixed revenue source that rewarded the system in times of economic upturns and encouraged them to control spending in times of shortfalls. Currently the legislative support will not increase spending because it is one of the things they can control. For changes to happen we will need compromise and I just don`t see it -- which is to bad...

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IPR (Integrated Public Resources) / McMahon Associates


As an affiliate of McMahon Associates, Inc., IPR provides Public/Private Partnership (P3) opportunities for a vast array of projects in small to medium-sized communities, as well as offering Municipal Administrator Services to local governments on an as-needed basis... and... A sponsor of Wisconsin Development News   ...more

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Skywaukee tours take visitors through Milwaukee`s skywalk system

The temperature outside was in the single digits, but it was a balmy 65 degrees from my perch in a skywalk above Water Street on a March Saturday. Historic Milwaukee Inc. volunteer Steve Kessel spoke to our group of about 20, explaining how some people were unhappy when this skywalk was built, since it disrupted street-level views of City Hall to the north...

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Ken Notes: This is a brilliant idea. I used to find my way around via the Skywalk during the state school board convention in the 90`s. It is VERY cool. Second only to the Riverwalk...

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SSM Health details plan for $75 million redevelopment on South Side

One of the city’s health care giants is detailing plans for a $75 million first-phase of a multi-decade redevelopment that would transform a big chunk of a triangle-shaped area bounded by Fish Hatchery Road, South Park Street and Wingra Drive on the South Side...

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Faith Technologies Plans Little Chute, Wisconsin, Manufacturing Plant
Faith Technologies Inc., a leading electrical planning, engineering, design and installation firm, is expanding its Excellerate division with the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Little Chute, Wisconsin. The expansion is part of a $20 million project expected to create 275 jobs over the next three years....

...“This new facility is the first truly smart manufacturing building in Wisconsin. With it, we are excited to showcase the things we are doing to industrialize the construction industry, as well as the energy components like our on-site microgrid,” said Scott Romenesko, President of Excellerate Manufacturing. “The support from our local communities, organizations like WEDC, and the hard-working, skilled tradespeople we have in Wisconsin made it possible to build this state-of-the-art facility right in our backyard.”

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is supporting the project by authorizing up to $800,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years as an incentive. The actual amount of tax credits Faith Technologies will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created during that period...   ...more

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Thinkful Announces Partnership With the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Thinkful, the school that brings high-growth tech careers to people everywhere, today announced a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee`s (UWM) School of Continuing Education. This first-ever partnership offers the UWM community access to job training and potential career opportunities as software engineers throughout Wisconsin...

See Also:
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Ken Notes: I would love to see more innovative programs coming out of the UW and tech systems. I would love to see more partnerships wit actual businesses - Have I ever mentioned apprenticeships???

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Wisconsin Supreme Court throws out annexation for Trempealeau County sand mine on technicality

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a western Wisconsin city improperly annexed land for a proposed sand mine but sidestepped larger questions about the legality of such “balloon on a string” takings...

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Ken Notes: We need to address annexation legislation and more importantly the ability for towns and cities to work cooperatively for the common good of both communities.

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Applications open for Scale Up Milwaukee Growth Accelerator

The accelerator, formerly called Scalerator, was revamped last year in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Its faculty now teach the five-month business growth training program, which covers sales and marketing; finance and operations; and management.

An initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Scale Up Milwaukee’s mission is to help existing southeastern Wisconsin businesses accelerate their growth to drive economic development.

Applications will be accepted through May 3. Scale Up will select 15 participating companies, generally with revenues of between $1 million and $10 million, via a competitive application process. The program begins in June....

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Ken Notes: I am looking to scale up WDN and the development network or return to a position where I can work in communications, promoting economic development.

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MadREP Report
Stay up to date by reading our MadREP Report, a bi-monthly newsletter that features regional economic development news, events and opportunities.

Find older issues here.
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$90K in Grants to Support Fond du Lac Building Renovation
A $90,000 state grant awarded to the City of Fond du Lac will assist in redeveloping a vacant commercial building into a mixed-use development. 

The building, located at 18 E. Division Street, will become The Livery Lofts, featuring an upscale tavern and residential lofts, according to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). An existing asphalt parking lot will also be redeveloped into a new outdoor dining area for the tavern.

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Governor Evers announces more than $90 million in payments to local governments
Governor Tony Evers announced that local governments received quarterly payments on Monday totaling $90,431,667 for General Transportation Aids, Connecting Highway Aids and Expressway Policing Aids from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Local governments will also receive an estimated $473 million from the state transportation fund in 2019 “to build and maintain local roads and bridges,” per the release. This also includes expressway policing aids to the Milwaukee County Sheriff Department for patrol of Milwaukee expressways...

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`How it`s made in Dane` manufacturer open houses
"Manufacturing, believe it or not, is a driving industry here in Dane County," Danica Nilsestuen, Director of Business Development and Workforce Programs for the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, said.

Over 600 manufacturing companies call Dane County home and the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin wanted to highlight some of them for their first `How it`s made in Dane` open houses.

Three featured in the `How it`s made in Dane,` open houses include Royle Printing, Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove and Saris. During the open house there are staff available to give tours and answer questions about the company, products and available careers...

...More information: click here.

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“Insights on Economy’ event offered here

Visions Northwest, Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board and the Northwest Wisconsin Educators for Regional Development again are partnering on the Regional Insights on the Economy (RIsE) Breakfast Series.

The 2019 series will focus on “Rising to Success: Business Startups in Northwest Wisconsin.” Sessions are scheduled from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, May 2, at Flat Creek Lodge in Hayward and Wednesday, May 22, at North Central Technical College in Phillips.

Space will be available at each location until 11 a.m. after the event for networking...

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FIRE Cluster Can Help Grow Economy

Finance, real estate and insurance businesses are one of our best bets for state prosperity.

Back in 2000 to 2003 when the Wisconsin Summits were being sponsored by the University of Wisconsin System, it jumped out that our manufacturing and farm clusters were not producing big new job numbers and that the FIRE cluster – Finance, Real Estate and Insurance – was one of our best bets for state prosperity.

Not many political leaders read or paid attention to the Summit’s distillation of thoughts from the best and brightest minds from across the state, and they keep making bigger and bigger bets on our bedrock clusters of manufacturing and agri-business...

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Ken Notes: GREAT READ...

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Annual Luncheon Looks At The Future Of Economics In the Northwoods

Wisconsin`s Lt. Governor will be the keynote speaker next week as Oneida County Economic Development Corporation hosts it`s annual luncheon at Holiday Acres near Rhinelander.

The topic this year is "The Future of Economics in the Northwoods" and the Corporation`s Director Stacey Johnson says within a decade, the jobs in this region could look much different...

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Economic Development Resources


Dane County ED





Got Moo-La?








???

Madison Area Chambers -- New!

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Hy-Vee proposes health market for Sun Prairie
A new concept for Hy-Vee is being planned for Sun Prairie.

The Iowa-based grocery retailer has received approval from the city to construct what is being billed as a Hy-Vee HealthMarket. 

The 19,650-square-foot facility would include a grocery store with fresh produce and meats, natural and organic items plus a health clinic, pharmacy and a fitness studio....

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Ken Notes:Sheesh Neil toss the rest of us a cookie now and then!!!

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State aid to help Door County ship goods to China

Door County`s effort to improve business ties with its sister city Jingdezhen, China is getting help from the State of Wisconsin.  During the Door-Kewaunee Legislative Days in Madison,  Door County Board of Supervisors Chair Dave Lineau learned there are programs that could help local businesses overcome the challenges of doing business in China.

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A juggernaut of convenience: Kwik Trip continues its rapid expansion
In its stores, Kwik Trip customers may see baskets filled with muffins, a cooler with white and chocolate milk and a case that holds a few salads, cups of parfait and fresh turkey sandwiches on cranberry wheat bread.

But on a 120-acre corporate campus in La Crosse, food production is measured in the millions — a strategy that is helping to fuel Kwik Trip’s rapid growth as it approaches having 700 stores in three states...

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Findorff - Character Community Craftsmanship
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Findorff, builders of Wisconsin`s finest projects...and ...A sponsor of Wisconsin Development News

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Dairy Task Force 2.0 supports 49 recommendations
Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 members passed 49 of the 51 recommendations on which they voted during the group’s full meeting on March 15 in Sheboygan County.

The recommendations were developed by task force members with the intent of maintaining a viable, profitable dairy industry in the state.

Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0, with nine sub-committees, was created in June 2018 as a joint effort between the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin System....

The Full Set of Approved Recommendations is Here

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Ken Notes: GREAT REPORT!

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Plover-based developer seeks to buy old Sears space in Wausau Center mall

WAUSAU - Shoppers at the Wausau Center mall could see a new development in the former Sears space, one of the previous anchor stores in the mall during its heyday. 

A Plover-based company, Secure Fund LLC, offered $700,000 in late February to purchase the old Sears space in the Wausau Center mall from the city, according to a purchase offer made public in a city meeting agenda. The city owns the space, at 411 Washington St., and purchased it from Sears in December 2016, according state property records. 

The purchase offer from Secure Fund LLC does not include information on what the developer plans to do with the space in the mall if the city accepts the deal...   ...more

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Milwaukee officials issue condemnation order against former Northridge Mall to help spur redevelopment

The city is bringing a condemnation case against the former Northridge Mall — an effort to eventually redevelop the long-closed property on Milwaukee`s far northwest side.

An order from the Department of Neighborhood Services, posted Thursday, demands the mall`s owners, a Chinese investors group, demolish the 900,000-square-foot building because it`s dilapidated and a threat to public safety.

That could lead the city itself to demolish the former mall, which closed in 2003, and then bill the cost to the property owner: U.S. Black Spruce Enterprise Group Inc.

Once demolished, the land beneath the the building and its parking lots, north of West Brown Deer Road and west of North 76th Street, could be used for light industrial buildings, housing or other new developments.

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Ken Notes: If you have empty stores act quickly to reuse the brick and mortar because vacant in deteriorates quickly.

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Racine a winner in Smart Cities Readiness Challenge

RACINE — The Smart Cities Council has chosen Racine as one of the five winners of its Smart Cities Readiness Challenge, the council announced Tuesday.

As one of the winners, the city will have access to expertise and financing for projects “using technology and data-informed decisions to better deliver City services and create a more equitable community,” according to a city release....

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MacDon breaks ground for new Sun Prairie facility

City officials participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony at MacDon’s new research and development facility in the Sun Prairie Business Park on March 27.

Sun Prairie Mayor Paul Esser and City Council President Bill Connors were joined by Michael Gay, Senior Vice-President of Economic Development for the Madison Region Economic Partnership, and Melissa Hunt, Regional Economic Development Director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)...

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Ken Notes: Neil must have been playing with the backhoe when the photo was taken....

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Celebrating Ag Day with a glimpse at Wisconsin`s diverse ag industry
Students at SAGES, the school for agriculture and environmental studies at Fox Lake celebrated Agriculture Day on March 20 with an interactive event that featured lessons in biotechnology, and presentations from area agribusiness professionals, a visit with a Wisconsin author and tours of two area businesses.  During the day-long event the students gained a “behind-the-scenes” look at how agriculture is “Food for Life.”

During the course of the day more than 130 kindergarten to sixth grade learners from the school got a glimpse of the diverse cross-section of the state’s agriculture industry....

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Local tech and biotech startups land state matching grants

Six young high-tech businesses in the Madison area are getting a financial push from the state to get their products ready to sell.

The startups are developing products ranging from bio-renewables to drug development tools to software programs.

They will receive matching grants from the SBIR Advance program, a collaboration of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the UW System Administration`s Center for Technology Commercialization. ..

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In a run-down electric building in downtown Wausau, city leaders see an opportunity

WAUSAU - An abandoned brick building sits on the edge of downtown behind the train depot and overlooking the river, covered in overgrown branches. It was once used as a power plant for local electric companies, but has been vacant for over a decade now and shows signs of wear.

One December day, the building caught Jon Roberts` eye as he walked along the riverfront. Roberts, an Austin-basedconsultant who has three decades of experience in economic development, had been hired by the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce to help create a long-term economic development strategy for Wausau and Marathon County....

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Ken Notes: These project are fun but you need some creative local innovators to manage the space. I have seen many great build-outs sit empty. Also using existing brick and mortar can be pricey -- get a expert like Gorman & co. to give you some ideas...

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Sun Prairie Council appoints downtown committee, OK`s redesign pact
The City of Sun Prairie will have a Downtown Steering Committee to assist a newly hired design firm tasked with the role of redesigning the buildings destroyed at the Main and Bristol street intersection and in the 100 block of West Main Street...   ...more

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Monarch Private Capital Finances New Affordable Housing Development in Wisconsin
Apr 18, 2019--Monarch Private Capital (MPC), a nationally recognized tax-advantaged investment firm that develops, finances, and manages a diversified portfolio of projects that generate federal and state tax credits, is pleased to announce the financial closing of low-income housing tax credit equity (LIHTC) for a 28 million-dollar mixed-use residential development called Badger State Lofts. MPC has partnered with Indiana-based KCG Companies to develop the project, which expects to be placed in service in the spring of 2020.

Badger State Lofts is the conversion of a historic tannery complex into a mixed-use and mixed-income residential community in downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Once completed, the project will provide 149 apartment units

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190418005242/en/

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Groups sue city again over TIF district

Eau Claire is facing a new lawsuit from two groups that have previously challenged the city’s use of a tool intended to spur redevelopment.

Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning on behalf of Eau Claire group Voters With Facts in opposition to the city’s tax increment financing district in the Water Street area...

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Ken Notes: With our TIF laws going from four pages to a book, we may need to sit down and rewrite the entire section. I would hate to see communities across the state having to go to court to defend their actions.

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Wisconsin ginseng industry relies on UW–Madison expert
As ginseng growers in Wisconsin prepare to export fresh ginseng roots to Taiwan, they need to be able to show that the roots will not carry a harmful nematode that could infect Taiwan’s banana crop.

Nematodes are a broad phylum of soil-dwelling animals that includes some important plant pests. Taiwan is concerned about Radopholus similis, a voracious nematode that occurs in Florida and other warm climates, says Ann MacGuidwin, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, who is involved in the effort to prepare the state’s ginseng growers to enter this new export market....
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Optimism for second train grows after 2nd WisARP meeting in Portage
Those hoping for a second daily Amtrak train traveling across Wisconsin got good news from the passenger rail manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Arun Rao spoke Saturday at Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers’ meeting in Portage -- its second meeting in Portage in two months as the group tries to raise awareness and support for a proposed “TCMC” train....

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MAC restoration brings new hotel operator to Wisconsin

Local developers who will buy the Milwaukee Athletic Club in April partnered with a Denver operator for the 96-room hotel and restaurants planned as part of the downtown building’s “top-to-bottom” restoration.

That’s according to a letter sent to MAC members this week by J. Jeffers & Co., which teamed with Interstate Development Partners on the $70 million project at 758 N. Broadway in downtown Milwaukee...

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Wausau River District Receives National Main Street Award
We`ve seen the importance of Main Street districts in communities across the Northwoods, now one has received a national award for their efforts.

Wausau River District has been named a recipient of the 2019 `Great American Main Street` award. The selection committee included community development professionals and leaders of economic development and historic preservation.
The River District was recognized for becoming an amenity-rich arts and cultural destination. Founded in 2002, the Wausau River District hosts around 100 downtown events each year, ranging from concerts to art fairs. Those events draw over 72,000 visitors annually.

Errin Welty with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation noted, "While the River District has always been an employment hub and shopping destination, it is increasingly attracting visitors and residents that appreciate the district`s ample dining, nightlife, and recreation amenities."

Wausau becomes the 6th Wisconsin community to receive the honor, which they share this year with Portland, Oregon and Wheeling, West Virginia.   ...more

Notes:

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Nearly 2,500 employees in Wisconsin to lose jobs once all Shopko stores close, state says

A total of almost 2,500 Wisconsin workers will have lost their jobs when the last Shopko closes for good, a state agency said Thursday.

The Department of Workforce Development said Shopko, the bankrupt Wisconsin retailer, would lay off another 1,715 employees in the state from 39 stores as it winds down operations and goes out of business.

Thursday’s announcement brings the total number of employees to lose a job as the company closes all of its stores to 2,496, according to the state...

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Ken Notes: Shopko is a nice sized footprint for a grocery / distribution outlet, Amazon are you listening....

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JSD Professional Services
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JSD provides complete services in Planning & Development, Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Water Resources, Landscape Architecture, Construction Services, Surveying & Mapping, and Environmental Services. Offices in Madison - Milwaukee - Kenosha - Fox Valley & Wausau.

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Online marketplace launches for Wisconsin businesses in search of tech providers

Advancing AI Wisconsin, a not-for-profit focused on elevating the implementation and knowledge of disruptive technologies in Wisconsin, and Green Bay-based New North Inc. have collaborated on a new online directory of technology providers and consulting firms across Wisconsin.

The Digital Transformation Marketplace is an added directory on the Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace website, which was developed by New North with funding assistance from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Centergy, Madison Regional Economic Partnership, Milwaukee 7, New North and Prosperity Southwest...

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International Trade Team works for Wisconsin exports
Wisconsin currently ranks 12th in the U.S. for agricultural exports, with those specific exports generating $3.5 billion for the state in 2018. Those Wisconsin products traveled to 143 countries last year, including the state’s top markets of Canada, China and Mexico.

Additionally, total Wisconsin exports, including manufactured goods, were valued at $22.7 billion in 2018, an increase of nearly 2 percent from the same period last year.

Working for Wisconsin exports behind the scenes at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is a team at the International Agribusiness Center, who, since 1966, have been helping Wisconsin companies succeed in their exporting efforts. Whether an agribusiness in new to exporting or seasoned at international business, the team makes their expert knowledge, connections and resources available to help Wisconsin companies grow their business worldwide.

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Notes:

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Optimism for second passenger train on Amtrak line grows after Portage meeting

Those hoping for a second daily Amtrak train traveling across Wisconsin got good news from Arun Rao, the passenger rail manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The Federal Railroad Administration recently told the DOT the proposed “TCMC” train should qualify for a “categorical exclusion” — a cheaper and less exhaustive way for Wisconsin and Minnesota to study the train’s potential impact on the environment, Rao said...

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One Central development will create $120B in public revenue, says Chicago Chamber

One Central, the ambitious plan to cap the train tracks west of Soldier Field with a massive mixed-use development and transit center, earned the backing of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. On Wednesday, the group released a 36-page study touting the economic benefits of the proposal including $120 billion in taxes and transit revenues over 40 years....

...As presented by Wisconsin-based Landmark Development in March, the 34-acre One Central project would sit atop a 50-foot-tall deck supporting ten skyscrapers, public open space, and a landscaped pedestrian bridge connecting the South Loop to the lakefront. A proposed transportation hub would serve Metra, CTA, and Amtrak trains and a proposed “Chi-Line” circulator utilizing the sunken busway between McCormick Place and the Loop...

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Sanford Burnham Prebys, WARF Partner on Drug Discovery

A program launched last year by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to invest in promising biotech discoveries made on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus will also work with the La Jolla, CA-based Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, the organizations said recently.

The partnership is part of a broader movement to accelerate the “bench to bedside” process by better integrating those in academia, government, and industry in the hopes of more rapidly pushing ahead pharmaceutical innovation. The San Diego-area medical research institute inked a similar deal with the Mayo Clinic in 2012.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), an independent, nonprofit organization, handles patenting and licensing for UW-Madison. Its portfolio includes more than 2,000 patents and investment assets worth $2.7 billion.

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Ken Notes: I remain WARF`s largest cheerleader, I wish we could work with the State to leverage more local jobs from our patents but the money is pretty nice as well!!! Sorry about placing you so far down in my report but I always save on of the best for last.

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Baraboo `Discover Wisconsin` episode debuts Monday with Al. Ringling Theatre premiere

Before it stars on regional television, Baraboo will take to the big screen.

An episode of “Discover Wisconsin” about Circus City will premiere Monday evening at the Al. Ringling Theatre. The episode features local history, attractions and parks, with hosts Collin Geraghty and Mariah Haberman interviewing Baraboo personalities.

Haberman said narrowing down footage from the crew’s visits to Baraboo — including shots of the Big Top Parade, which she helped judge — into a 19-minute episode was challenging....

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Ken Notes: Discover Wisconsin is one of our greatest assets. It is a perfect example of partnering public and private sector to promote the State.

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Great cheese and big appetites make Wisconsin a frozen pizza leader

It`s late February and in a couple of hours, another blizzard will swallow up Green Bay. But that hasn`t deterred people from standing in line to buy a case or six of Hansen`s frozen pizzas. 

It didn`t use to take a Herculean effort to get a Hansen`s pizza. They could be found at the sub shops that dotted the Green Bay landscape. Those days are gone and Hansen`s pizzas are left at a single shop or available through fundraisers.

While in line, a selection of `80s music plays and if you`re paying attention, you will occasionally see a customer leaving the warehouse, trailed by an employee pushing a cart loaded with five or six cases of frozen pizzas....

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The winners: Cool Science Images 2019

Ten images and two videos by University of Wisconsin–Madison students, faculty and staff have been named winners of the 2019 Cool Science Image Contest.

A panel of eight experienced artists and scientists judged the scientific content and aesthetic and creative qualities of 95 images and videos entered in the ninth annual competition....

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Ken Notes: Just plain cool....

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Ken Notes: WDNews relies on the actual journalism provided by your local media outlets. Without these partners we can not bring you the unbiased news, leads and updates you need to thrive in Wisconsin. Support your local media...

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Land and Space / Tom Daykin
Note: I changed the link here to Toms Twitter account. JS limits the number of articles I can read so I look at TD`s Twitter feed every week. I`ll Still include JS articles but after ten you need to subscribe.

I also updated the picture because, well Tom is getting old and development is taking it`s toll!!!

Milwaukee - 1/1/2020 Journal Sentinel business reporter Tom Daykin talks about commercial real estate and development, including stores, hotels, offices, condos, apartments and industrial buildings...

Land & Space Development Database


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Ken Notes: Tom Daykin is the source for ED news in MKE. This is a permanent link to articles in his blog which is updated daily...

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The Wisconsin Development Network
Our Current Publications:
WDN
WDNGreen
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WisconsinApprentice
DriftlessNotes

  CirexNews.com
MadisonNotes
    
Ken Harwood
Advocating for Wisconsin
Editor [at] WisconsinDevelopment.com
608.334.2174
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WDN Notes...
Online at WisconsinDevelopment.com (4 weeks of articles) - Searchable at Search WDN - WDN Tool Box, Links you can use everyday to help you and Wisconsin grow! Edited and published by Ken Harwood @ LinkedIn. 

Click Here To Subscribe or add Friends and Colleagues... WDN si Available free thanks to our SPONSORS...  Why I publish WDN...  WDGreen Environmental News From a Business Perspective!
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Ken Notes: "Ken Notes" may be reprinted in context without permission. Attribution should be Ken Harwood, Editor Wisconsin Development News or Ken Harwood Advocate for Wisconsin.

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