What: Forum on the proposed Woodman’s Ice Arena and Convention Center in Janesville.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, Italian House, 1603 E. Racine St. Janesville.
Who: Hosted by the Rock County Citizen Civics Academy.
WHAT THE JANESVILLE CITY COUNCIL DOESN’T KNOW AND SHOULD REALLY ASK
The Rock County Citizen Civics Academy hosted a special public forum at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Italian House Restaurant, to try to sort out how much the proposed Woodman’s Sports and Convention Center may cost taxpayers and what the council will need to understand to make this critical decision.
(The council approved a 17.3 million non-binding resolution at its Dec. 12 meeting on a funding commitment.)
The forum dove into tough questions that have not been answered to date: Is this a worthwhile investment or another albatross on the backs of the taxpayers? Who may benefit, and how much “skin” do they have in the game? What have the experts had to say? What is the spin-off economic development value that the community might expect? Why now as we recover from a pandemic induced record inflation, chronic shortages of construction and other materials?
Host Rich Gruber interviewed a panel consisting of Acting Janesville City Manager David Moore, city council members Heather Miller, Paul Williams and Dave Marshick, County Board Supervisor Connie Winter, and WCLO Radio Host Tim Bremel to learn what data has driven the council to the point where they are expected to declare their intent to borrow $15 million or more for the project.
“The most recent economic impact statement presented to the Janesville City Council suggests the creation of hundreds of jobs and some amount of dollar value spinoff from the project,” said Gruber. “Yet the numbers show a mere $48,000 per year in sales tax revenue from operations to support a $50 million price tag for the project.”
“We need to better understand the projected values that are being touted from studies authorized by the proponents,” Gruber said.
The Rock County Citizen Civics Academy is a program offered by Common Sense Reestablished, a non-partisan public affair, good-government organization committed to bringing prominent issues to the attention of the public through educational forums.
CSR is committed to the principles of good government guided by an informed citizenry armed with the facts to make rational decisions based upon objective, unbiased data. The goal of CSR is to facilitate a citizenry who is involved, is informed, and is making a difference. For more information about CSR and its programs, go to their website at https://commonsenserockcounty.org. To view recordings of previous forums, look for them on YouTube at Rock County Civics Academy or JATV Media.