WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The City of Wisconsin Rapids has been awarded a $144,000 U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act Grant to conduct revitalization and redevelopment planning for the paper mill and adjacent parcels. In addition, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) awarded a $36,000 Capacity Building Grant Program match to round out the total proposed project cost of $180,000.
This EDA investment supports the City in recovering from the recent closure of the paper mill and reduced economic activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will include a market assessment, community participation in goal-setting, site area redevelopment planning, strategy and an action plan. Once implemented, the strategy will help create economic resiliency in downtown.
The next step is for the City to release a request for proposals for contractual services to conduct the planning efforts. Once a qualified consultant is selected, the process is anticipated to take 1-2 years and would be implemented over several years.
“This is very exciting for the City, as it allows us to proactively plan for the future of the site and areas adjacent. It is important to note that we recognize other opportunities exist for the Paper Mill and do not wish to detract or divert from those opportunities, with which we are continuing to provide assistance as necessary. Should any opportunities come to fruition, the proposed redevelopment planning efforts will still have great value given the large expanse of the property and adjacent uses that have been impacted. We are very thankful for the U.S. EDA and WEDC, whom recognized the need for assistance in our community, and look forward to the ongoing partnership with them.,” said Director of Community Development for the City of Wisconsin Rapids, Kyle Kearns.
The City partnered with the North Central Wisconsin Regional Plan Commission (NCWRPC) for technical assistance on the proposal. The NCWRPC is a voluntary association of governments, which provides assistance to communities in the areas of economic development, land use and transportation planning.
“The North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, as a federally designated economic development district, was provided technical assistance funding as part of the CARES Act to help local communities in the ten-county area apply for grants through the EDA. In that capacity, the NCWRPC worked with the City of Wisconsin Rapids to prepare and submit an EDA planning grant application. That grant will allow the city to undertake a planning effort, which will lay the groundwork for future infrastructure and other projects for the community,” said Executive Director of NCWRPC, Dennis Lawrence.
For more information about EDA CARES Act grants, visit eda.gov/coronavirus. For questions about how the funds will be used, contact Kyle Kearns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-421-8225.