ARISE: Rock Renaissance Redevelopment & Implementation Strategy Overview
Downtown Janesville has all the elements that make Midwest cities strong: historic districts and building stock, and the kind of character that can only be found in well-placed riverfront downtowns that grew up around industry and agriculture. The Rock River is a featured asset in “Wisconsin’s Park Place”; the gem in a necklace of citywide public recreational and green spaces. Just over two hours from Chicago, Janesville also has a strong workforce and market demand for new downtown housing, retail and entertainment.
Today, the City of Janesville ties these assets and developer incentives into a number of diverse redevelopment and reuse opportunities downtown that are on or near the river. The project marks the commencement of a series of catalytic projects and public improvements laid out in the 2015 ARISE Rock Renaissance Redevelopment and Implementation Strategy: A Brownfields Area Wide Plan, which was funded by a USEPA Areawide Brownfields Planning Grant.
ARISE is intended to position downtown Janesville as a vibrant neighborhood where commerce, culture, entertainment, and history intersect. The plan serves as a “playbook” for aligning and focusing resources in such a way as to draw a consistent and sustainable critical mass of people to the downtown, thereby encouraging diversity in downtown development, businesses, and activities and fostering private development.
In late 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) awarded the City of Janesville a $200,000 Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant to undertake an action-oriented redevelopment and implementation strategy for the “Rock Renaissance Area”, including detailed redevelopment planning for six Catalytic Sites. A team of consultants has assisted the City to provide technical assistance in planning, engineering, market study, and environmental/risk analysis in the development of the ARISE project. This team has conducted substantial analysis, worked with the Downtown Revitalization Committee at six work sessions, and engaged the public at four well-attended community engagement forums. This work has led to the development of the proposed/preferred concepts with action-oriented implementation steps for each of the catalytic sites.
Proactively engaging the public in the design process has been a cornerstone of ARISE. The following Goals and Outcomes were developed through public input workshops and sessions.