By Ryan Spoehr - Sep 8, 2022
Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag on Thursday night asked for a $2.5 million contribution from Rock County for the proposed Woodman’s Sports and Convention Center.
Freitag asked the Rock County Board for $2.5 million in cash up front to pay for construction costs “immediately.” He called the $2.5 million “an investment’’ and said the new ice arena and convention center is expected to bring in an extra $10 million in annual revenue to the city.
“When you use the very conservative $10 million revenue generator (annually), I think a $2.5 million ask is a very reasonable investment,” Freitag said.
The city is proposing to partner with private investors to build the complex on the site of a former Sears store at the Uptown Janesville shopping mall on Milton Avenue.
A recent estimate put the price tag of the new facility at $60 million, an increase from $35 million projected earlier in the year.
Freitag was optimistic about the city being able to trim costs.
“We are only a third of the way through the process, so there is still time,” Freitag said.
City Neighborhood Services Director Jennifer Petruzzello and Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Christine Rebout also spoke Thursday night.
The proposed facility would serve as a replacement for Janesville’s existing ice arena, and would also have space to host conventions. The facility would also be able to host sports other than hockey and skating, Freitag said.
When asked, Freitag said it was not known how much money the Janesville Jets hockey team would contribute to the project. He was also unsure about what may happen to the current ice arena if the new facility is built.
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