Economic Development

Javier Ávila to Bring His Unique Blend of Social Justice and Storytelling to the 2022 Summit

The 9th annual Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit returns for an in-person gathering of business and community leaders committed to advancing workforce diversity, social justice and economic inclusion. Hosted by MadREP and the Urban League of Greater Madison, participants will hear from dynamic national, regional, and local speakers while engaging in ample networking opportunities.

One of the featured keynote speakers at the Summit will be Dr. Javier Ávila. Dr. Ávila is a man of many talents, all of which are on display in his one-man show, “The Trouble with My Name”, where he skillfully combines poetry and comedy to shed light on the American Latino experience.

While Dr. Ávila’s show has been a raging success with 150 shows in 22 different states, he has also experienced success in other avenues, most notably in academia where he was the first Latino to be named Professor of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ávila is also an award-winning novelist having won the ICP Book of the Year Award and the Pen Club Book of the Year Award for his novels El Papel del Difunto and La Simetría del Tiempo, respectively. This will be Dr. Ávila’s first performance in Wisconsin.

The Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit will take place on Tuesday, August 16th at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center (One John Nolen Drive, Madison, 53703) from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased at this link. Purchase your tickets by July 1st to take advantage of the early bird special. On July 2nd, ticket prices will increase from $199 to $249.

Business Facilities | STEM Leaders: This Will Be On The Test

economic development business facilities logo

Business Facilities | Nora Caley

Madison, WI: Helping Students Get An Early Start

To help students discover if STEM courses interest them, in 2015 the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) launched Inspire Madison Region, a software component of the web-based program Xello, which the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) made available to all public school districts. While Xello allows students to learn about specific occupations based on interests and abilities, the Inspire Madison Region component enables students to connect via the interactive platform with mentors and career coaches. Students also participate in job shadowing, internships, and apprenticeships at local employers.

“Through the connections Inspire provides, MadREP is facilitating student awareness of local career opportunities and growing the future workforce in the Madison region,” said Gene Dalhoff, Vice President of Talent and Education. Through Inspire Madison Region, 70,000 students can connect with 500 career coaches as well as over 400 companies, many of which offer career-based learning experiences for students.

Another MadREP and Wisconsin DPI program, Wisconsin Pathways—Madison Region, is a region-wide effort to deliver high-quality career pathways in high schools. The pathways focus on occupations associated with high-skill, in-demand industry sectors. Students complete a pathway by taking a sequence of aligned courses, earning an industry-recognized credential, enrolling in dual college credit classes, participating in career-based and work-based learning experiences, and accessing related Career and Technical Education (CTE) student organizations.

Dalhoff said the pathways offer benefits for high school students and for employers. Students gain education and training that align with the needs of the local job market, and a high school diploma with at least one industry-recognized credential. Employers gain partnerships with a greater number of schools.

Another recent effort is the expansion of Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) in school districts throughout the Madison Region. Fab Labs provide the physical space, equipment, instruction, teamwork, and other resources necessary for students to explore STEM-related topics and engage in projects.

MadREP is working to engage with even more students in the region. “Looking to the future, we will prioritize growing opportunities to support the BIPOC community through economic development strategies and policies that prioritize funding STEM-related endeavors,” said Jason M. Fields, MadREP’s President and CEO. “Students of color need to see themselves reflected in the industry to believe it is possible.”

Originally published on

Daily Citizen | New Horicon business park set to open

Daily Citizen | Kelly Simon

HORICON — Marshland Crossing Business Park makes its debut in Horicon next week more than six years after its inception.

Situated on the far western edge of Horicon, the property features direct access to State Highway 33, over 66 shovel-ready acres of developable land and potential rail connectivity.

The Horicon City Council approved the creation of a new industrial park in July 2016.

The city purchased a 40-acre plot from Cynthia Wrucke, located at W5326 Highway 33, for the purpose of creating a new industrial park. The Horicon Community Development Corporation purchased three separate 40-acre plots from Wrucke in December 2015.

At that time, City Clerk/Treasurer Kristen Jacobson said Horicon couldn’t attract new industrial business because of a lack of available space.

“The city is currently out of vacant land in our industrial park except for a three-acre plot,” she said.

The land was annexed by the city of Horicon from the town of Oak Grove and rezoned to limited industrial and heavy industrial land from prime agricultural land.

The property was also added into the Tax Increment District No. 5, which was created in 2015 to help with the John Deere expansion on East Lake Street.

According to Jacobson, Horicon has completed multiple studies on the site to determine its true development potential and, in partnership with Dodge County, the site received Gold Shovel site verification from Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) in 2021.

Former Mayor Jim Grigg said the project picked up speed in 2021.

“We had approval from the state to put in two inlets and turning lanes along the highway and got that done last summer,” he said.

He said there have been discussions on and off with a couple of interested parties this past year but no signatures were put on paper.

The business park is available for a mix of uses including: manufacturing, warehousing, corporate, restaurant, multifamily, healthcare, and hotel or retail. The city is offering TIF assistance, as well as assistance with utility extensions, site improvements, infrastructure and reduction in land price.

The property is now featured on multiple nationwide site selector websites including MadREP and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s LocateInWisconsin website.

On Tuesday, May 24, at 5 p.m., a ribbon cutting ceremony open to the public will take place at the property to unveil the new signage.

More information on Marshland Crossing is available at

Article originally published on

Madison365 | Evers adds $25 million to Main Street Bounce Back grants

Economic Development Madison 365 Logo

Source: Madison365

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced Monday that his administration will invest an additional $25 million to a fund making grants to storefront small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Evers made the announcement at events alongside Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. Evers said the programs has already helped more than 4,200 small businesses and nonprofits across all 72 Wisconsin counties. In total, the announcement brings the governor’s total investment in the program to $75 million, which the administration said will enable 2,500 more small businesses and nonprofits to fill empty storefronts throughout the state.

The grants are administered by regional economic development agencies.

recent analysis of state allocations showed that as a share of federal aid received by states, Wisconsin ranks second in the country for aid directed to economic development and first in the country in aid to businesses.

“The impact we’ve had through our Main Street Bounceback Grant Program over the last year has been tremendous, truly helping small businesses and main streets in every corner of our state,”  Evers said in a statement. “We’ve heard from folks from across the state about how these funds have helped them take their businesses to the next level. We’ve also seen firsthand how these investments have helped support local economies in downtowns and communities that are now filled with unique businesses that otherwise might not be there today. I’m proud of our work making strategic investments in small businesses and I’m excited that today’s announcement means we’ll be able to continue our work supporting main streets and communities across Wisconsin.”

The Main Street Bounceback Grant Program was first announced in April 2021, and since, more than 4,200 small businesses and nonprofits across all 72 Wisconsin counties have been approved for $10,000 grants to help them move or expand into vacant commercial spaces.

“From barbershops to candy stores and from physical therapists to local economic development groups, the businesses and organizations that have received Main Street Bounceback grants vary widely,” Hughes said in a statement. “But what we’re hearing from all of the communities where these businesses are opening is the sense of excitement that they bring. Whether it’s a new restaurant, a hair salon, or an accounting business, there’s a feeling that there are new reasons to come to our downtowns and spend a little more time there.”

The deadline for grant applications for the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program has been extended to Dec. 31, 2022, and grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until all the funds are disbursed. WEDC is working with nine regional economic development organizations to quickly disburse grant funding to eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations. More information about the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program and how to apply is available on the WEDC website here.

Article originally published on

Herald-Independent & McFarland Thistle: Amazon neighborhood listening session draws local residents

Capita Herald Independent McFarland Thistle Logo

The Herald-Independent and McFarland Thistle | Madeline Westberg

More than 80 Cottage Grove and Sun Prairie residents participated in a neighborhood listening session about a proposed Amazon distribution facility this week.

A site on the corner of County Highway N and County Highway TT totaling 130 acres has been sold by Cottage Grove Business Development LLC to Services LLC for $29.7 million, records from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue say.

Developer Trammell Crow Company (TCC), one of the largest industrial and healthcare developers in the country, is working to develop the property, which TCC is calling “Project Silver Eagle.”

TCC is proposing a five-story warehouse distribution facility, set on 145 total acres located behind the BP gas station on that corner. The plans propose a 650,000 square foot base footprint, with the building standing 93 feet tall. The total square footage of the facility would be 3.4 million, with 90,000 square feet devoted to office space.

The facility would include 60 loading docks, 326 trailer parking stalls, 1,700 car parking stalls and four entrances. Three of those access points are proposed on County Highway TT for passenger vehicles, with one driveway on Highway N for truck traffic.

Developers say it’s estimated that the facility would see $200 million in capital invested by the project and create 1,000 to 1,500 full-time jobs. The facility would be used for storing, sorting and transporting product.

The property was annexed from the Town of Sun Prairie into the village of Cottage Grove about ten years ago.

TCC held two listening sessions on the project on Monday, Feb. 7, moderated by senior associate Morgan Baer Blaska of TCC and MadREP, an economic development organization that serves eight counties, including Dane County.

“This meeting is to give you all the opportunity ask questions…voice some of your opinions and concerns,” said MadREP CEO Jason Fields.

More than 80 community members signed on to join the evening listening session. While a handful of written comments during the meeting expressed support for the project, the majority of comments were opposed.

Some of the questions asked by participants focused on stormwater retention plans, property value concerns, concerns on Amazon business practices, environmental impacts on McCarthy Park, impacts on surrounding neighborhoods, traffic and lighting impacts, and others.

At the session, Baer Blaska said she would not share any information about “the user and potential operations,” referring to Amazon. Developers didn’t respond to any questions about Amazon’s operations or planned uses for the facility, saying it was “not our area of expertise.”

Developers and engineers instead focused on the facility design, sharing additional information about the stormwater management strategies on the property, lighting and window concerns and sound pollution.

Baer Blaska and engineer Adam Artz said the property’s grading decreases toward the center of the property, which will allow for stormwater drainage and noise buffering due to the topography of the property.

“The building sits deep in its own crevice,” Baer Blaska said.

Artz added that the project shouldn’t impact well levels of residential wells, and the stormwater systems are designed to protect from any potential contaminants to area wells.

Baer Blaska and Artz added that there will be a lighting study submitted to the village for approval, but that the facility would run 24/7. The developers don’t have data presently on windows and compositions, but have a fully-glass facility. They also said there would be landscaping and retaining walls to curb noise pollution.

When asked aboutthe Silver Ridge neighborhood nearby, Baer Blaska said a conservation easement owned by the town of Cottage Grove prevents developers from moving the site further away from neighboring residences.

Baer Blaska asserted that TCC has seen property values near facilities like this one tended to go up, and that the developer has not applied for any tax breaks from the village or state.

“This will be a tax-paying entity and revenue-generating facility for the village,” she said.

One participant in the call asked “why this project is so far along.”

Baer Blaska responded that the developer held its first neighborhood meeting in December, and has engaged with the village in public meetings in January.

“We have been actively public since December, and will continue to host these meetings as necessary,” she said.

Village administrator Matt Giese and Director of Planning and Development Erin Ruth say the next step for the process will be TCC presenting a “precise implementation plan,” a more specific plan involving more concrete engineering information. That plan is set to come to the Cottage Grove Plan Commission on Feb. 16, and to be considered by the village board on Feb. 21.

From there, the developers would need to create a developer’s agreement with the village, which would likely come forward in March. Then, the developer would be responsible for getting the building plans reviewed by the state.

Giese said it’s possible that developers could consider starting construction in 2022.

Participants on the neighborhood listening session said they intend to participate in the village approval process.

“The village of Cottage Grove and the town of Sun Prairie are where a lot of your issues need to be raised,” one participant told others during the session. “That’s where your voice will be heard.”

Article originally published on The Herald-Independent and McFarland Thistle.