Town sees economic growth

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TOWN OF BELOIT - Several economic development projects in the Town of Beloit could be coming to fruition this year.

"There are great things happening in the region, not just the town," said Town of Beloit Administrator Ian Haas. "There are good things going on in Janesville and Beloit. It's great, and it's only helping us out, and vice versa."

The Department of Corrections building on Prairie Avenue, which was constructed last year and is privately owned, is adding approximately $1.8 million in value to the town. Also, Alliant Energy and American Transmission Company's continued construction of the $750 million energy facility will add revenue to the town.

Haas said an undisclosed company is in discussions with the town to possibly locate a $50 million agriculture industry facility, and the town also is in discussions to build a $3-9 million assisted living facility.

Several smaller commercial and industrial projects totaling approximately $6 million are in varying stages of discussions.

As previously reported, Casey's General Store is set to begin construction on a $2.5-$3 million building at the northwest corer of Inman Parkway and Prairie Avenue in the spring.

"It's definitely an improvement in the market comparatively in the last 10 years," Haas said. "A lot of the projects that are being completed now residential-wise were contemplated back in 2007 or 2008, so that's all coming to fruition now."

Within 10 years 382 new housing units representing $76.2 million (in today's dollars) are predicted to be built, bringing in approximately 1,200 new residents. Haas said this is based on development agreements signed in 2017 and those currently in discussion.

"Quite honestly a lot of what's helping us out right now is Illinois and the state that they're in," Haas said. "There is a mass exodus from Illinois. Not just residents, but businesses. It's unfortunate for neighbors to the south, but it is helping us out here in the Stateline Area, more so in Wisconsin."

In addition to these projects, building permits issued in the town have more than doubled in the last year. In 2016, a total of 245 building permits were issued compared to 530 in 2017, which has resulted in more than $7 million of development and improvement.

Haas partially attributes this increase to work the town has done, such as hiring a full-time building inspector in house and revamping the town's website to have information, including permit fees and the costs for building permit fees, online.

"The more people come to reside here the more small businesses are going to come to reside here," Haas said. "Not that Casey's is small, but businesses such as Casey's that are commercial or are a walk-in or drive-in business, they're precipitated by increases in residential growth. It's a really positive thing to see that, because it just puts a stamp on the fact that yes we are growing. It's a permanent thing."

Haas said the town is looking to collaborate with even more businesses looking to make the township their home.

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