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County Executive, Supervisors Support Good Jobs, Good Growth Initiative — Improve Process for Businesses to Site in Vacant Space

For more information contact:

Brett Hulsey, 334-4994
Sharyn Wisniewski, 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/4/2004

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, County Board Supervisors Al Matano, Paul Rusk, Judy Wilcox, Don Eggert, Penny Rollins, Rob Fysrt, Kevin Kesterson, Andy Olsen, Kyle Richmond, Bill Graf and Brett Hulsey announced today that the supervisors will introduce a resolution to identify and promote vacant buildings for new businesses to create good jobs.

“We want to work together to promote good jobs for county residents and good growth,” said County Executive Falk. “This is a chance to work with all units of government to get better jobs near existing workers.” The measure was a follow up from recent Big Box Conferences sponsored by County Executive Falk and the Dane County BUILD program, that works with communities on downtown and neighborhood revitalization.

The resolution instructs the Dane County Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee, Housing and Economic Development work group, and BUILD advisory committee to develop a composite map and inventory of abandoned and underutilized commercial and manufacturing parcels throughout the county as part of the Dane County Comprehensive Plan.

"We need to redevelop the empty boxes we have now, not build more big boxes," said Supervisor Al Matano. “Redevelopment creates less new traffic than sprawl development.”

The resolution acknowledges that Dane County has lost jobs recently and tries to turn that around.

"This resolution will help us build better communities, more jobs, and improve our tax base," said Supervisor Paul Rusk of Madison’s east side. “It will help us redevelop the north side and get new businesses and jobs into our neighborhoods.”

"Providing potential employers with a one stop shop will help keep the good jobs we have, and attract more high paying jobs," said Supervisor Judy Wilcox.

This will help us get new businesses and jobs in Verona at sites like the vacant Hardees," said Sup. Penny Rollins.

“This resolution is to encourage local-county cooperation. The City of Madison's South Madison Neighborhood Plan and Park Street Redevelopment Plan are focusing on redeveloping the Park Street corridor, especially the Villager Mall,” said Supervisor Don Eggert. “This will help.”

The next step is for the measure to go to county committee. The County Board will consider it in the coming weeks.

"In Monona, one of our newer malls already has empty spaces at each end where Sentry and K-Mart used to be,” said Supervisor Bill Graf. “Our problem isn't big boxes, it's big empty boxes."

“This resolution is a chance to create more jobs and improve county service for businesses,” said Supervisor Brett Hulsey, chair of the Strategic Growth Committee.

A copy of the resolution is below.

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RES. , 2003-04

IDENTIFYING AREAS FOR SITING BUSINESSES TO CREATE GOOD JOBS THROUGH THE COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING PROCESS

Dane County, like the state of Wisconsin as a whole, has suffered significant job losses in the economic turndown of recent years. For instance, Dean Morningstar dairy announced last month that they would close and eliminate 100 jobs; Kraft let go of 75 workers last month; CUNA eliminated 100 jobs last year, and Rayovac moved 250 jobs to Illinois. At the same time, state and local governments have also been downsizing their workforces. Retail malls have likewise suffered losses of tenants, with vacant storefronts in many of the county’s major retail malls. It is important to provide assistance to grow the economy, not only to replace the jobs that have been lost in both the public and private sectors, but also to provide new opportunity for the County’s growing population.

Last month, county and local officials held a conference on the challenges of “big box” development; that is, the siting of large retail centers. One of the recommendations from this conference was to identify and redevelop existing abandoned or underutilized retail malls or other commercial properties.

Currently, there is not a countywide composite map with an inventory of parcels available for potential infill development. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, it is possible to identify abandoned and underutilized parcels, including parcels with lower average improvement value than that of surrounding properties. The City of San Francisco has developed this information as an approach to assist businesses to locate and create jobs while making use of existing infrastructure.

Obviously, the majority of sites appropriate for infill development are located within municipal boundaries. While the county does not have authority for land use decision-making in these areas, the development of an inventory could be part of a countywide effort to plan for economic development.

Dane County is currently developing a comprehensive plan as required by Section 66.1001, Wis. Stats. The Housing and Economic Development work group is addressing issues regarding job creation and economic growth, while the Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee is responsible for addressing intergovernmental cooperation. An effort to develop a composite map and inventory of abandoned or underutilized sites would involve both these groups. The comprehensive plan provides an opportunity for Dane County to play an active role in improving the economic vitality of individual communities and the county as a whole.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Dane County Board of Supervisors requests the Dane County Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee and the Housing and Economic Development work group to develop a composite map and inventory of abandoned and underutilized commercial and manufacturing parcels throughout the county as part of the Dane County Comprehensive Plan.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Dane County Board of Supervisors requests the Dane County Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee to work with the cities and villages of Dane County, the BUILD Advisory Committee, in addition to local chambers of commerce, not only to develop the map and inventory, but also to implement the approach to encourage infill development and provide good jobs to the residents of the county.

Submitted by: Al Matano, Paul Rusk, Judy Wilcox, Don Eggert, Penny Rollins, Rob Fysrt, Kevin Kesterson, Andy Olsen, Kyle Richmond, Bill Graf and Brett Hulsey.
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