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The Woodman's Center Project Gains Significant Financial Momentum with $15M From Gov. Evers

Today marks fantastic news for our Janesville and greater Rock County communities about the future reality of the Woodman's Sports and Convention Center!

On Nov. 2, 2023, Gov. Tony Evers, known for his commitment to the development of Wisconsin and ongoing support of the Woodman's Center, announced a $15M state investment in the project. The funding aligns with building projects in Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Door County.

Noted in the Governor's press release, "The effort, funded using American Rescue Plan Act funds, will ensure the projects can move forward and build upon Gov. Evers' and the Evers Administration's strategic investments that will have long-term impacts on the state's workforce and economy."

The Friends of the Woodman's Center responded with this statement from Co-Chair Christine Rebout.

"Observing community enthusiasm over the last few months is heartening, but receiving a nod of support like this from the state is truly uplifting. Our gratitude extends to all our local and state officials, with special thanks to Gov. Evers for sharing our vision."

This endorsement wasn't the Governor's first show of faith in the project. During a February 2023 visit to Janesville, he vocalized his support for the public-private partnership, amplifying its significance and influence in the broader Wisconsin landscape. He previously recommended $15M for Woodman's Center funding in his 2023-25 Capital Budget.

More than Just Bricks and Mortar

The Woodman's Center will create spaces that do not currently exist in our community or Southcentral Wisconsin. In addition, the facility will generate long-term financial returns for the city, region, and state, create new employment opportunities, and serve as a beacon of community development and progress.

The Woodman's Center, near I-90, offers essential space for athletics, events, and conventions, featuring an all-year ice arena and diverse event spaces.

  • With the demolition of the vacant Sears at Uptown Janesville, the Woodman's Center will emerge as the cornerstone of the redeveloped Milton Avenue retail corridor, offering versatile facilities and a convenient location that caters to a wide range of events.

  • The project revitalizes the area, leveraging existing structures and preventing local economic decline.

  • The project is estimated to cost $50M and offers a return on investment in less than ten years.

  • Based on a 20-year, 5.35% loan, the average homeowner's annual expense would be approximately $38.25, or $3.19 monthly.

  • The center will generate 228 permanent jobs, 480 construction jobs, and an annual income rise of $7.2 million.

  • The project meets the demand for youth sports facilities, retaining local family spending and supporting the community.

The Woodman's Center isn't just another construction project. It's a beacon of community innovation, anticipated to draw visitors from across the Midwest and fuel economic progress beyond Janesville's boundaries. It is set to inject $23M in annual economic impact and an initial $74M surge during its construction.

What's Next for the Woodman's Center?

With the Janesville City Council's intent to provide $17.3M for the project (Dec. 2022), private funding momentum and community excitement continue to grow. Soon enough, building plan proposals will be formalized and bids in place. The former Sears building will pave the way for a state-of-the-art facility where sports teams can practice, tournaments can ignite excitement, and events and conventions can foster connections starting in Spring of 2025.

Together We Can

Local businesses and organizations, including Woodman's Markets, Mercyhealth, the Kennedy Family Foundation, Janesville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Uptown Janesville/RockStep Capital, and dozens more have all contributed, tallying over $9M in private donations. The state funding news is followed by an unexpected financial boost in August 2023 when the Friends collected a $1M donation from an anonymous benefactor. The donor's identity might remain a mystery, but their faith in the cause resonated with others as private fundraising efforts increased.

The Friends fully support the City of Janesville's vision of bringing forth the designed project. We are committed to privately supporting the project as it moves ahead, ensuring the Woodman's Center project's long-term success. If you are interested in joining us by making a meaningful contribution to the project and want to discuss pledging a gift that will make a difference now and into the future, please contact us at



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