Former General Motors site receives $500K Wisconsin grant

JANESVILLE — Wisconsin is contributing $500,000 to clear a former General Motors plant in Janesville.

Government officials and representatives of Commercial Development Company, the property's current owner, recently announced the grant provided by Wisconsin Economic Development Corp, The Janesville Gazette reported . It's part of WEDC's idle sites redevelopment program.

The funds will be used to assist in keeping the dismantling process of the 250-acre (101-hectare) brownfield site on track. The grant will help fund the asbestos abatement and demolition work on the estimated $10.2 million project.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said the grant program has also helped convert the Beloit Corp. property into the Ironworks complex in downtown Beloit. The former foundry now has several technology firms.

Plans as to how Commercial Development will transform the site are still uncertain.

"We want to come up with a use that's the highest and best use for the site given the heavy-duty infrastructure, electric and the rail, things like that," said John Fonke, Commercial Development's executive vice president. "But we're also cognizant and aware of what's going on in the residential components in the area. We all have to live together."

Demolition of the site will take up to 18 months to complete. Fonke said new users could wait until 2020 or 2021 before constructing their own facilities. He said he expects businesses in the light industrial, manufacturing and distribution industries to eventually populate the site.