City of Janesville making headway on proposed ice arena & convention center

A $60 million vision in Janesville is one step closer to becoming a reality, according to city organizers and officials.
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 6:16 PM CST
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CITY OF JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - A $60 million vision in Janesville is one step closer to becoming a reality, according to city organizers and officials.

The proposed Woodman’s Sports and Convention Center would take over a vacant space, formerly known as the Janesville Mall. Organizer of non-partisan group Rock County Civics Academy Richard Gruber said the project has been in the works for some time.

“This project actually goes back to 2016, so when the council completed some improvements on the existing ice arena within the city of Janesville,” Gruber said.

According to Gruber, their group is holding a forum Thursday evening to involve the community in the ongoing process.

“People are interested, people are truly interested in where their tax dollars are going, and if you can provide them a forum to express their feelings and share their thoughts, I’ve found that projects get to be much better projects when you have community support.”

Janesville city council president Paul Benson said the facility has the potential to address a variety of community needs.

“I think the project, number one, is just going to be an amenity for the community,” Benson said. “It’s going to give a place for kids to play sports and participate in different activities in the winter. I think number two, it’s going to help revitalize our Milton Avenue corridor, this will of course go in the old Sear’s building in front of the former Janesville Mall, now called Uptown Janesville, and I think it would just be a real shot in the arm to that part of the city.”

Benson said most residents he has spoken with are on the same page.

“The support is overwhelmingly in favor of the project, probably 80 or 90% of the people I talk to are very excited about the project, their only complaint is that it’s not done yet.”

The council will meet on November 28 where they will receive updates from the city’s public works director on the status of the design, as well as from a private group on how the fundraising has been going.

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