Good news comes in waves for city

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Credit faith in Beloit and hard work for series of big announcements.

IT'S HARD TO REMEMBER the last time Beloit had such a gee-whiz string of good news.

At the top of the list is a major development to house Amazon distribution operations in the Gateway Business Park. It could include a building approaching one million square feet, which is a size almost incomprehensible to the mind. Work on the property already is under way, near the intersection of Gateway Boulevard and Colley Road. The potential - Amazon arguably is the most powerful company in the world - is amazing, likely to create hundreds and hundreds of good jobs.

Then there's the announcement of plans to build a Beloit Snappers stadium along the Rock River in downtown Beloit. More than $30 million would be invested to create a riverfront showplace to further enhance the city's already sparkling downtown central commercial district. The possibilities for creative uses of the site seem limitless.

ADD TO THOSE some additional development projects sure to enhance the central city:

• Residential townhouses are proposed across the street from the Goodwin Hotel, adding both beauty and animation to the downtown. The project also calls for commercial and retail space at the street level, attracting even more development.

• The former Kerry Ingredients site along Grand Avenue by the Fourth Street intersection is being redeveloped into an upscale apartment complex, eventually creating space for hundreds of new residents. Expect the space to be in high demand for two reasons. First, downtown developments have created a lot of new jobs and housing units will be handy for those who work here. Second, the trend nationally is for individuals - young people, in particular - to seek the comfort and convenience of urban lifestyles, which fits these housing projects.

• A new brewpub will be developed downtown - across the street and west of the Goodwin Hotel - adding yet another entertainment and dining amenity to the city center.

THERE'S MORE, BUT that gives readers the idea things are really happening in Beloit.

It seems like ancient history when downtown Beloit was beset with problems like boarded-up storefronts and empty blocks. The successes in the city center are nothing short of amazing.

The list of people who have made this happen is too long to go into, but any report clearly would start here: The Beloit 200 group (formerly known as Beloit 2000, and Beloit 2020) which financed planning and made city center revival its priority, and the Hendricks organization which has conceptualized and produced landmark developments throughout the downtown district. The City of Beloit has been a great partner in working with the private sector to see it through.

Events of recent days are the fruits of such efforts. A celebration is in order.

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