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gershwin prize for popular song Music News

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood: On Stage at the Library March 2

Garth Brooks, the 2020 recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Garth Brooks has friends in library places – sorry, couldn’t help it – and one of them will be in the Coolidge auditorium on March 2, as the Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter will be talking about his life and career ahead of receiving the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song later in the week.

Brooks will be joined by his wife, fellow country music icon Trisha Yearwood, in an on-stage conversation with Librarian Carla Hayden at 7 p.m. The power couple will discuss their international success, their careers as music industry change makers and their humanitarian efforts. The conversation is being presented as part of the Library’s initiative to Explore America’s Changemakers.

Country music icon Trisha Yearwood will be in conversation with Brooks, her husband, and Librarian Carla Hayden.

Tickets are available starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 (that’s tomorrow). They’re free, as long as they last, so you’ll want to book your reservations. If you can’t be there in person, no worries: The event will be live-streamed on the Library’s YouTube channel.

The awards ceremony and concert will be taped in D.C. on March 4, then broadcast on PBS stations at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 29.  The show will also be available on the PBS website and video app. It will be broadcast at a later date to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network.

Brooks, 58, was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and began his music career in college. Songs such as “Friends in Low Places,” “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and “The Dance,” catapulted him to the top of all-time record sales, and his energetic, freewheeling concerts made him one of the world’s most popular touring acts. He and Yearwood met in Nashville early on, toured together and later married. She has sold more than 15 million albums and now hosts her own cooking show.

Brooks’ music has received every accolade in the recording industry. He has been named the CMA Entertainer of the Year a record-setting six times. He is the first artist to receive seven Diamond Awards for albums certified by the RIAA at more than 10 million album sales each. He remains the No. 1-selling solo artist in U.S. history, certified by the RIAA with more than 148 million album sales. He has been inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and, most recently, the Musicians Hall of Fame. His tour with Yearwood sold more than 6.3 million tickets, making it the biggest North American tour in history and the biggest American tour in the world.

He’s also the youngest artist to receive the Gershwin Prize. Past recipients include Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Paul Simon and Billy Joel. Last year’s recipients were Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

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Source: LoC Blogs
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood: On Stage at the Library March 2

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City of Park Falls receives $250,000 state grant to support renovation of lodging facility

WEDC investment to help fund construction of 50-room hotel

MADISON, WI. FEB. 13, 2020 – The City of Park Falls is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help finance the renovation and expansion of an existing lodging facility into a rebranded hotel.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the remodeling of a historic facility into a 50-room Cobblestone Hotel & Suites.

A study commissioned by the Park Falls Area Community Development Corporation (PFACDC) determined that the entire northern part of Wisconsin has a severe deficit of quality lodging options. Since tourism represents a significant portion of the Park Falls economy, city officials believe this project has significant potential to build the capacity of the Park Falls area in tourism, business, climate, job creation and the general reputation of the area.

The $3.6 million project is projected to create 14 jobs and is expected to be completed at the end of the year.

“The new Cobblestone Hotel & Suites will not only address a gap in lodging services in Price County but will also create jobs and encourage future economic growth in Park Falls,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development corporation. “WEDC is committed to working with communities throughout Wisconsin as they invest in high-quality infrastructure and services to enhance their business districts.”

Cobblestone Hotels LLC builds, owns, operates and franchises a chain of hotels for leisure guests and business travelers, filling the lodging needs of many smaller communities by introducing this upper mid-scale, all-new-build brand. The company was founded in 2007 and is currently based in Neenah.

“I am pleased that our efforts to secure this grant have been successful,” said Park Falls Mayor Michael Bablick. “We will continue to try and advance the project. The city has been aggressively moving forward since April 2019 to spur new investment and improve the business climate.”

The Park Falls area has a significant number of manufacturers, including Phillips and Prentice, and many domestic and international clients travel to Price County to tour operations or for business meetings. The lack of quality hotels has been a consistent concern for these manufacturers and businesses. In addition, Flambeau Hospital in Park Falls employs many traveling professionals who are also in need of quality lodging.

The city and PFACDC believe private investment will be stimulated to the degree that the new project will attract more people to stay in Park Falls. In all, the project is expected to increase the tax base of Park Falls by more than 1% and increase revenues to all tax jurisdictions by $94,500 per year.

This project is not only remodeling a historic facility but expanding it from 30 rooms to 50. The project is located at the south end of the city, and plans for bike races, ATV and snowmobiling activities, seaplane festivals and further promotion of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are all in development in anticipation of the new hotel.

“I applaud the efforts of everyone in Park Falls who advocates for new ways to improve the community, as well as the State of Wisconsin for this much-needed investment,” said state Rep. Beth Meyers. “This project has significant potential to grow tourism, outdoor activities and business development for the already dynamic Park Falls area.”.

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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Source: In Wisconsin
City of Park Falls receives 0,000 state grant to support renovation of lodging facility

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Secretaries Brennan, Frostman and Hughes travel to highlight Governor Evers’ State of the State initiatives

Events focus on jobs, education and rural development initiatives

MADISON, WI. Jan. 23, 2020 – During a series of events on Friday, Administration Secretary Joel Brennan, Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes are sharing Governor Evers’ message of rural prosperity that was highlighted in Wednesday’s State of the State address.

The secretaries are visiting Stevens Point, Crandon, Shell Lake and Cumberland to listen to members of the community and showcase agency initiatives aiming to address worker training and retention, rural economic development, transportation and health care.

Governor Evers’ State of the State Address focused on investing in rural communities, reducing student debt, and nonpartisan redistricting.

“The people of Wisconsin expect their elected officials to work together on the challenges facing our state,” said Secretary Brennan. “Meeting with different companies in rural Wisconsin is a great way for our agencies to share the governor’s message and collaborate with the people in the community.”

“The projects visited today demonstrate how state agencies, with the help of the private sector, can connect the dots between education and employment, health care and quality of life, and diversity and economic growth,” said Secretary Frostman. “The Department of Workforce Development is eager to showcase how successful businesses and communities leverage state resources to attract, develop and retain talent here in Wisconsin.”

Secretary Hughes added, “One of the best parts of my job at WEDC is seeing firsthand the innovative approaches Wisconsin businesses and local leaders are taking. I’m so pleased that Secretaries Brennan and Frostman will be joining me, especially as WEDC and our agencies explore new ways to help our rural communities grow and thrive.”

The secretaries will visit:

Stevens Point: Marten Machining

Marten Machining has been involved in DWD’s Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program for more than 20 years. Throughout this time, Marten Machining has been a huge advocate of the YA program, and this fall the company started using Registered Apprenticeship to train machinist apprentices. Marten Machining also utilized the new YA to RA bridge program to transition one of the new machinist apprentices from a youth apprenticeship into the current Wisconsin Registered Apprentice Program.

Marten Machining is a family-owned business that started in Alan and Deb Marten’s garage in 1984, and continues to experience growth and innovation. Their current planned move into a new 50,000-square-foot facility will add space for additional employees as well as future manufacturing equipment. Marten Machining partners with local area high schools in Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Rosholt and Amherst, as well as technical colleges—Mid-State Technical College and Northcentral Technical College—and campuses in the UW System to help provide students with opportunities to pursue careers in manufacturing through scholarships, youth apprenticeships, internships and flexible scheduling to work around their classes.

Crandon: Hometown Trolley

With help from WEDC, Hometown Trolley has developed a $20 million-a-year manufacturing business with more than 50 employees in the heart of Crandon. The third-generation, woman-owned company started out in the 1990s making hand-crafted replicas of turn-of-the-century trolley buses for tour companies and shopping districts. The company’s line has expanded to include custom-made tour buses, with sales of both products throughout the U.S., Canada and South America.

Shell Lake: Indianhead Medical Center

WEDC is assisting the City of Shell Lake with a $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant to the Indianhead Medical Center (IMC) hospital and the attached Shell Lake Clinic. IMC is a privately-owned 25-bed critical access hospital with a 24-hour emergency room that has aided the community since 1947, and today offers services such as medical testing, consultation and rehabilitation, general surgery, urology, cardiology, podiatry, orthopedics and radiology. The WEDC grant will support construction of a new 9,000-square-foot clinic building, an ambulance garage, remodeling of the emergency room and operating room, and other improvements.

Cumberland: City of Cumberland

The Department of Administration (DOA) is assisting the City of Cumberland with upgrades of its aging sanitary sewer system, the oldest components of which date back to the 1960s. The system has many pipe joint failures, service connection failures and manhole leaks, while inflow and infiltration issues have increased water treatment costs and health concerns. DOA is providing $1 million in assistance through the Community Development Block Grant Program, which will cover about 60% of the total project cost.

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Secretaries Brennan, Frostman and Hughes travel to highlight Governor Evers’ State of the State initiatives

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WEDC lists top economic development deals of 2019

MADISON, WI. DEC. 26, 2019 — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) today released its list of Wisconsin’s biggest economic development deals of 2019. This calendar year, WEDC assisted 289 businesses and communities across 16 industries, totaling more than $250 million in awards.

The more than $1.2 billion in planned capital investments for the projects supported by WEDC this year are expected to create more than 3,165 jobs and retain almost 14,000 jobs across the state. Of these awardees, 31 have planned capital investment of more than $10 million.

WEDC’s 2019 awards consisted of 158 grants, 47 investor tax credit awards, 20 loans and 57 historic preservation or business tax credit awards.

“These companies and communities play a key role in strengthening our state’s economy by investing in Wisconsin and creating jobs that pay well,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “2019 was a successful year for WEDC in carrying out our mission to advance and maximize opportunities for Wisconsin businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment.”

The list is based on all corporate expansion and attraction projects in which contracts between WEDC and the company were executed in 2019. The job projections, estimated project costs and the award amounts from WEDC are based on the requirements set forth in each contract. All WEDC tax credits are performance-based, and the amount of credits a company receives is contingent upon the actual numbers of jobs created and the amount of capital investment made.

2019 top Wisconsin economic development projects:

  1. ND Paper Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $189 million WEDC investment: $1.7 million in tax credits
    Project scope: Expansion at Biron mill
    Estimated job impact: 27 new jobs created and 342 jobs retained
  2. Nouryon Pulp and Performance Chemicals LLC
    Estimated total project cost: $99 million
    WEDC investment: $850,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: Manufacturing facility expansion in Howard
    Estimated job impact: 56 new jobs created
  3. Catalent Pharma Solutions LLC
    Estimated total project cost: $74 million
    WEDC investment: $1.3 million in tax credits
    Project scope: Madison facility expansion
    Estimated job impact: 145 new jobs created and 277 jobs retained
  4. Matalco Wisconsin LLC
    Estimated total project cost: $70 million
    WEDC investment: $1.5 million in tax credits
    Project scope: New facility in Wisconsin Rapids
    Estimated job impact: 80 new jobs created
  5. Nexus Pharmaceuticals Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $67 million
    WEDC investment: $1.5 million in tax credits
    Project scope: New manufacturing facility in Pleasant Prairie
    Estimated job impact: 77 new jobs created
  6. Sub-Zero Group Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $70 million
    WEDC investment: $1 million in tax credits
    Project scope: New research and development facility in Fitchburg
    Estimated job impact: 100 new jobs created and 1,759 jobs retained
  7. Badger Solutions LLC
    Estimated total project cost: $49 million
    WEDC investment: $600,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: Conversion of existing commercial building into a full-service box plant in Sturtevant
    Estimated job impact: 88 new jobs created
  8. Eurofins Food Chemistry Testing US Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $41 million
    WEDC investment: $400,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: New lab facility and administration space
    Estimated job impact: 85 jobs created and 325 jobs to be retained
  9. Salm Partners LLC
    Estimated total project cost: $38 million
    WEDC investment: $600,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: Expansion in Denmark, Brown County
    Estimated job impact: 55 jobs created and 388 jobs retained
  10. City of Stevens Point
    Estimated total project cost: $31 million
    WEDC investment: $250,000 grant
    Project scope: New mixed-use housing and commercial development
  11. American Builders & Contractors Supply Co. Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $25 million
    WEDC investment: $950,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: Construction of new shared service center in Beloit
    Estimated job impact: 195 jobs created and 637 jobs retained
  12. Deere & Company
    Estimated total project cost: $24 million
    WEDC investment: $250,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: Expansion project in Horicon, Dodge County
    Estimated job impact: 12 jobs created and 768 jobs retained
  13. Faith Technologies Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $20 million
    WEDC investment: $800,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: New manufacturing expansion
    Estimated job impact: 275 jobs created and 1,517 jobs retained
  14. Menard Inc.
    Estimated total project cost: $19 million
    WEDC investment: $500,000 in tax credits
    Project scope: Expansion project in Eau Claire
    Estimated job impact: 35 jobs created and 2,988 jobs retained

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WEDC lists top economic development deals of 2019

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Governor Evers: Brookings/ITIF proposal would significantly boost funding for Wisconsin tech leaders

Report calls for 10-year, $100 billion federal Investment in “heartland” tech centers

MADISON, WI. DEC 9, 2019 –Governor Tony Evers today urged Wisconsin’s congressional delegation to give careful consideration to a new proposal that would provide up to $100 billion in the next decade to fund technological entrepreneurship and innovation in so-called “heartland” states.

A report released today jointly by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) notes the growing economic gap between a handful of highest technology, highest R&D “superstar” metropolitan areas, mostly located on the east and west coasts, and the rest of the country.

The report, The Case for Growth Centers, calls for federal funding of up to $10 billion annually over the next 10 years to advance “eight to 10 new regional growth centers across the heartland.” The federal money would include increased support for institutions of higher education, workforce development, and potential tax incentives for investments in these new regional tech centers.

In a letter to Wisconsin’s members of Congress, Governor Evers noted that the report identifies Madison and Milwaukee high among the top 20 best-positioned communities in the country to become major tech innovation growth centers.

“Based on the study’s proposed criteria, we believe Wisconsin is uniquely poised to lead the nation in this exciting next phase of entrepreneurship and innovation. Therefore, we urge you to give close attention to this proposal as it advances in the coming weeks and months and the potential it offers to build on our state’s strengths,” Governor Evers wrote.

The report ranks Madison at the top of the list on the basis of university STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) spending per capita, share of residents holding at least a bachelor’s degree, and percentage of STEM doctoral degrees. Milwaukee ranked 17th on the list.

Paul Jadin, the CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP), said the recognition of Madison’s status as a national leader in innovation is an honor: “Stratospheric growth in our information communications technology and biosciences sectors, combined with our economic stability as the most industrially diverse MSA in the country, makes the Madison region an ideal location for this type of investment. MadREP has pledged its support to our state, to the University of Wisconsin System and to our Milwaukee partners to do what we can to assist Brookings and ITIF in advancing the concept.”

“This recent recognition from the Brookings Institution highlights the Milwaukee-Madison corridor’s remarkable potential for additional tech sector growth,” said Pat O’Brien, executive director of the Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership (M7). “To unlock that potential, we are engaged with regional and statewide partners to develop and attract the talented employees it takes to support the innovative companies that are here already, and those that will arrive in the future. We welcome additional resources that can accelerate that growth.”

The governor noted that Wisconsin’s strengths include having:

  • An economic development strategy that features a wide array of partners and a collaborative framework to both coordinate and capitalize on the type of investment proposed by Brookings, including efforts led by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and its more than 600 local and regional partners
  • A strong educational infrastructure, including STEM focus in the state’s K-12 schools, at the University of Wisconsin System and in the Wisconsin Technical College System
  • Four major technology transfer offices at public and private universities in Madison and Milwaukee and an umbrella organization that works with 13 comprehensive University of Wisconsin campuses
  • Support from the state’s major corporations to capitalize on technology and innovation as economic differentiators. Milwaukee has established the Tech Hub initiative, while Madison has significant corporate investments in its tech startup ecosystem. Both communities are home to a growing number of corporate venture capital funds

“Our state has demonstrated it has the infrastructure, institutions, and importantly, the relationships and commitment to transform ideas into successful outcomes, and Wisconsin could benefit immensely from the type of initiative proposed in the report. Moreover, this type of bold initiative could not only support the communities that receive funding, but ultimately strengthen our state and our country and support our position on an increasingly competitive world stage,” Governor Evers said.

Download a copy of the governor’s letter

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Governor Evers: Brookings/ITIF proposal would significantly boost funding for Wisconsin tech leaders

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WEDC Vice President for International Business Development Katy Sinnott receives Anthony J. Gradisnik Award from WAFLT

MADISON, WI. DEC 9, 2019 – Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Vice President for International Business Development Katy Sinnott has received the Anthony J. Gradisnik Award from the Wisconsin Association of Foreign Language Teachers (WAFLT) in recognition of her contributions and service to the study of world languages in Wisconsin and across the country.

The award recognizes enthusiasm and advocacy for language education in areas such as international education, early language learning, and creative initiatives in language education, especially in individuals and groups outside the language teaching profession.

In her role at WEDC, Sinnott is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to grow Wisconsin’s economy through helping Wisconsin companies expand their exports and through attracting foreign direct investment in Wisconsin.

Sinnott represented WEDC during the creation of the Wisconsin Language Roadmap Initiative, a strategic planning document meant to enhance Wisconsin’s economic competitiveness and to meet workforce and community demands for language and cultural competencies. She also had an instrumental role in designing the Wisconsin Language Summit, a collaborative working meeting of representatives from the business, government, community and education sectors.

Prior to joining WEDC in 2014, Sinnott had more than 20 years of business management and financial services experience, including work in more than 40 countries. Her experience included running a chain of hair salons in China and working as a management consultant with McKinsey & Co., as well as several positions in Hong Kong with HSBC Ltd.

Sinnott holds a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. After college, she was awarded a Yale University scholarship to attend the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she completed a nine-month intensive studies course in Mandarin. She is conversant in Chinese and French.

“Foreign language and cultural competency skills are of significant benefit to our Wisconsin companies, as these skills always make it easier to do business in another country,” Sinnott said.

WAFLT has presented this award since 1998, in commemoration of Gradisnik’s enthusiasm and advocacy for language education. Through a comprehensive slate of initiatives, including outreach to K-12 language programs, support of undergraduate students and advocacy for language education, the Language Institute exemplifies the values Gradisnik demonstrated over the years.

Tony Gradisnik was a foreign language supervisor in Milwaukee for decades. He started the German Immersion School and was its staunch supporter even after retirement. Along with partner Frank Grittner, he helped create the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language, and was its executive secretary for several years. He also was one of the founders of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and served on its board for years.

The Gradisnik family created the Gradisnik award at WAFLT to honor his contributions and commitment to second language teaching.

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WEDC Vice President for International Business Development Katy Sinnott receives Anthony J. Gradisnik Award from WAFLT

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Door County boutique hotel breaks ground

WEDC will provide $250,000 to the Village of Sister Bay to help fund the project

MADISON, WI. DEC. 3, 2019 – Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Deputy Secretary Sam Rikkers will be on hand today at noon, along with developers and state and local officials, for a groundbreaking on the new Dörr Hotel in Sister Bay.

The Dörr Hotel project is Door County’s first hotel development in nearly 20 years, and is intended to complete the Sister Bay downtown area by developing a lot that has been vacant for more than nine years. The new boutique hotel consists of 47 rooms and 4,300 square feet of retail space.

WEDC is supporting the $8.1 million project with a $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2021 and to provide full-time employment for 10 to 15 employees.

“A vibrant downtown is vital to a community’s overall economic success, and the Dörr Hotel will play a key role in attracting more visitors to downtown Sister Bay to enjoy the many amenities the village has to offer,” said Sam Rikkers, deputy secretary and chief operating officer of WEDC. “I applaud the community for working together on this important project that will serve as a foundation for future economic growth.”

According to a press release from the developer, Bayland Buildings Inc., the new hotel will replace the 45-unit Helm’s Four Season Hotel that was located on the water at the current site of the bandshell and Sister Bay public beach. The project will fill the need for additional hotel units since this loss.

“For the past dozen years, the Village of Sister Bay has been executing a progressive plan to enhance the vibrancy of the community, and the results have been unmistakable,” said Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Schuessler. “Not only is the addition of Dörr Hotel the next logical step toward continuous enhancement of the community, but the hotel will in many ways serve as the centerpiece for Sister Bay’s growing four-season economy.”

The new hotel will transform Sister Bay and will likely garner significant attention from both Door County familiar visitors and new visitors alike, spurring economic growth and support for local businesses. Its position in the heart of downtown eliminates the hassles of driving and parking for the weekend traveler. The availability of a new lodging option that is open year-round should also benefit local retail businesses by drawing more shoppers during the low season.

The Dörr Hotel website will begin taking reservations in the spring of 2020 to secure stays for dates in 2021. As construction is completed, earlier reservation dates will be added.

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 $24 million in Community Development Investment Grants to 101 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.

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Businesses gear up for Small Business Saturday

WEDC Secretary and CEO will visit Viroqua retailers on Wednesday to raise awareness for the event

 MADISON, WI. NOV. 19, 2019 – To show support for locally owned independent businesses during the coming holiday shopping season, WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes will kick off preparations for Small Business Saturday with a visit to retailers in her home town of Viroqua on Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Hughes will encourage Wisconsin residents to take part in Small Business Saturday, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, the event will be on Nov. 30.

“Most of us have our favorite downtown retailers where we can find just the right gift for our families and friends,” Hughes said. “Small Business Saturday is a great tool for communities to showcase these unique local businesses.”

For the past 10 years, Small Business Saturday has provided a counterweight to after-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” sales, when malls and large-scale retailers try to draw shoppers by offering deep discounts and extended hours. Small Business Saturday is focused on getting shoppers out to downtowns and local shopping districts and is a welcome kick-start to the holiday season for mom-and-pop operations.

Hughes noted the small businesses in the participating communities of the Wisconsin Main Street and Connect Communities programs have a strong impact on their communities all year long, in terms of not only economic impact but also diversity of ownership. For example, 39% of these businesses are owned or managed by women.

These businesses also are strong traffic generators: in Wisconsin Main Street communities, downtown district businesses account for 14% of total retail sales and 27% of restaurant sales, said WEDC Downtown Development Account Manager Errin Welty.

“Since more than 90% of the businesses in our downtown districts are locally owned, this emphasis is a huge opportunity for them to introduce their goods and services to the community and make a personal connection,” Welty said. “Often locals are unaware of the wide variety of business offerings that are available, and any events that encourage them to visit new businesses are great for retaining local consumer dollars in the community.”

Welty said the average amount spent per shopper in Wisconsin on Small Business Saturday is $76, with 60% of that going to retailers and the remainder split between restaurant and service businesses. In communities with collective seasonal shopping incentive programs that extend from Thanksgiving through Christmas, Small Business Saturday represented between 10% and 13% of all spending for the season.

Small Business Saturday highlights the ongoing work of the Wisconsin Main Street and Connect Communities programs, whose purpose includes supporting local small businesses. Last year, more than 80 communities from these two programs hosted activities and promotions to draw shoppers to their downtown businesses.

To find information about Small Business Saturday in your community, visit: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/

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Door County Maritime Museum breaks ground on construction of new lighthouse tower

WEDC will provide $250,000 to the City of Sturgeon Bay to help fund the project

MADISON, WI. NOV. 19, 2019 – The Board of Directors of the Door County Maritime Museum (DCMM), along with developers, donors and local officials, broke ground on the 10-story Maritime Lighthouse Tower museum expansion Wednesday, signaling the start of construction activities.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is supporting the project with a $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant. The project is expected to be completed by the end of October 2020.

“This project will not only draw new and returning visitors to the Door County Maritime Museum and promote firm foundations for ongoing economic growth, but it also will create educational experiences for visitors, keep history alive and help to promote interest in maritime-related local career opportunities,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “This project has been a real community effort, and I look forward to seeing the lighthouse tower become one of the major attractions in Door County.”

“This is a historic day that has been a long time coming for the Door County Maritime Museum,” said John R. Asher, CEO of Roen Salvage Company and DCMM board member. “So many people have worked very hard for many years to make this dream a reality. This project will be a significant economic stimulus that will bring long-term stability to the museum and more business to many others throughout Sturgeon Bay and Door County.”

The Museum Board also recently announced the receipt of a $1 million pledge from the George Kress Foundation and announced the selection of the Boldt Company as the general contractor for the Maritime Lighthouse Tower.

The groundbreaking event included remarks from DCMM Board President William Harder and Executive Director Kevin Osgood; Bob DeKoch, president of the Boldt Company; and Green Bay Packaging President Will Kress.

The Kress family’s charitable foundation has been supporting the Green Bay area for years. Will’s father, James F. Kress and his love for Door County also inspired the $1 million donation.

“We congratulate the members and the board of the Door County Maritime Museum on this wonderful investment,” said DeKoch. “It is a very important project for the community of Sturgeon Bay and all of the Door County region. It expresses a huge commitment and vote of confidence to the mission of the museum. It is an exciting celebration of the maritime heritage of the area. We at Boldt are honored to be part of bringing this vision to reality.”

The Maritime Lighthouse Tower, situated along the Sturgeon Bay inner harbor, will offer 10 floors of creative and interactive educational displays that will feature highlights of maritime history. Educational programs at the newly renovated museum will emphasize the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills used throughout the maritime and marine industries and in careers vital to the economy of Door County.

The tower is planned to be the flagship for the museum’s new approach to attracting and connecting with visitors. According to the city, the new Maritime Lighthouse Tower will become a must-see maritime experience that will draw visitors from near and far, generating interest and activity and creating a significant economic boost for an already prominent tourist destination.

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 $24 million in Community Development Investment Grants to 101 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.

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Door County Maritime Museum breaks ground on construction of new lighthouse tower

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City of Baraboo receives $54,700 state grant to support renovation of historic AL. Ringling Mansion

WEDC investment to help fund transformation of historic mansion ballroom into new brewpub

MADISON, WI. NOV. 18, 2019 – The City of Baraboo is receiving a $54,700 state grant to help transform the historic AL. (Albert) Ringling Mansion Ballroom into a new brewpub located in downtown Baraboo.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the renovation of the tourist attraction into a microbrewery and restaurant featuring a beer recipe that was discovered in a small box hidden under a floor in the mansion.

“The new brewpub will not only attract visitors and create jobs, but will also preserve a piece of Baraboo’s history by redeveloping a building that is over a century old,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization. “I applaud the City of Baraboo and owners for working together on a project that will honor the historic significance of the site while creating future opportunities for development.”

The City of Baraboo is working with AL. Ringling Brewing Co. to renovate the AL. Ringling Mansion’s ballroom into a new brewpub. The 18,000-square-foot Romanesque Revival mansion was built in 1905 by the oldest of the Ringling brothers, of Ringling Circus fame. It remained in the Ringling family until 1936 and then became an Elks Lodge. The Elks constructed a 6,000-square-foot, 300-person ballroom and six-lane bowling alley at the rear of the mansion in 1948. The Elks operated on the property for over 80 years until selling the property in 2013 to its current owners, Don Horowitz and Joe and Carmen Colossa.

Since purchasing the property, the Colossas and Horowitz and his partners have worked to transform the building into a bed-and-breakfast and museum called the AL. Ringling Mansion, which currently offers tours and event space. Since the discovery of the recipe they have been working with brewery partner Jon Bare to convert the ballroom in downtown Baraboo.

“We are proud to be part of Baraboo’s continuing development,” said Horowitz. “Opening our microbrewery will be a welcome addition to downtown Baraboo for residents and visitors alike. We are looking forward to the spring of 2020 and welcoming the community to enjoy our brewery and restaurant.”

The owners now plan to turn the home’s ballroom into a microbrewery and restaurant featuring the long-lost Ringling Family Original Beer Recipe from more than a century ago. The recipe was perfected over the last two years for production and will be considered the beer company’s flagship recipe.

The 6,000-square-foot brewpub will feature a seven-barrel brewhouse on display, a 40-foot bar offering the Ringling Family Original beer, and a taproom with a diverse list of beer styles and a menu featuring South American empanadas and Ringling family favorites. The open-concept taproom will have beer hall–style seating, live music and entertainment.

Expected to be completed by the spring of 2020, the planned AL. Ringling Mansion Inn & Brewery will be the first brewery in the nation housed inside a historic mansion.

The new brewpub plans to utilize local resources by hiring all local contractors for construction. Most of the brewing equipment is being constructed in Viroqua from Wisconsin Dairy tanks. The beers will be made using local ingredients, and entertainment will be provided by local bands and performers. Upon opening, the brewpub expects to employ at least 14 people.

According to the company, 3 million tourists visit Devils Lake each year, and this brewpub will help draw some of those tourists to downtown Baraboo.

“I am proud to see the City of Baraboo, AL. Ringling Mansion and WEDC all work to support the newly formed AL. Ringling Brewing Company,” said state Rep. Dave Considine. “I firmly believe that by rejuvenating this historic space, the AL. Ringling Brewing Company will be able to expand Baraboo tourism and increase the availability of economically valuable assets in the area. I enthusiastically support investing in our local communities, which is why I have worked with AL. Ringling Brewing Company to ensure that the state is doing all we can to help advocate for this project.”

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 $24 million in Community Development Investment Grants to 101 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.

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Source: In Wisconsin
City of Baraboo receives ,700 state grant to support renovation of historic AL. Ringling Mansion