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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Economic Development Group Sees No Value In Economic Development Center

Yesterday's Gazette editorial lamented the city's defunding of the Janesville Design and Development Center and gave a thumbs down to its eventual demise.
JG Excerpt:
Six years after debuting as a catalyst for the economic and aesthetic revitalization of the city's downtown, the Janesville Design & Development Center will close at the end of this year.
Facing a tough budget, City Manager Eric Levitt proposed a decrease in the design and development center subsidy from $50,000 to $20,000 for 2011. According to the lobby group running the center, Forward Janesville, that amount won't be sufficient to continue the operation that requires $50,000 to $60,000 annually.

Strangely left out of equation and absent from the Gazette's articles relating to funding the economic development center is the area's newest economic development marketing initiative known as the Rock County 5.0. Comprised of some of the area's wealthiest business people with direct links to Forward Janesville, the group boasts a private cache of over $1 million to market Rock County economic development. Over the past year, the Janesville Gazette has repeatedly publicized the groups' thirst for new businesses and ideas to foster local economic development.

But their apparent unwillingness to fill the design center's budget gap should leave everyone wondering about what the 5.0's intentions really are. If the Rock County 5.0 doesn't see any value in the marketing and potential development of the county's largest downtown - why should anyone else?


Anonymous said...

But, but, but, that's OUR money.

Anonymous said...

Rock County 5.0 has said it would use as little public money as possible. "The public sector will not be tapped for anything more than it already provides: marginal funding and the time of staff members, organizers said."
While RC5.0 might have more than a few self-serving plans, no one on the RC5.0 board is a public official. If RC5.0 is going to promote the the city and county, then why put money in public coffers? This way, they are only beholding to themselves.
Once RC5.0 starts funding public initiatives, then we have officials and RC5.0 in bed with each other.

Lou Kaye said...

Anonymous 6:38 PM, I agree with most every word you wrote. But the Rock County 5.0, from interactions and membership have a direct relationship with Forward Janesville and Rock County government. Your explanation also shows that the Rock County 5.0 gets the best of both worlds. They have unfettered access to government without having to share in the expenses and costs generated by their extra-curricular needs. If they are a wholly independent, they need to call themselves 4.0 and disconnect themselves from government.

Now if we can only get government officials to feel the same way. Because once they begin funding private initiatives, particularly under the banner of "partnerships", then we have public and private officials in bed with each other.

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