Regional Roundup

Posted on Apr 1, 2016 :: Up Front
Sean P. Johnson
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

» Interstate 41 Corridor

Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Appleton International kicks off latest round of improvements

Appleton International Airport expects to begin work in May on a new external rental car facility planned to be the first step in a series of improvements to the airport’s
public areas.

The $3.1 million, 7,000-square-foot building will replace the current rental car lot east of the terminal and south of short- and long-term parking. While the new facility is expected to displace the first few rows of long-term parking, airport officials say the lot does not reach full capacity, even during peak months for travel.

With the new building, rental car customers will walk the same distance outdoors as they do now, but will
have an easier time finding their designated car thanks to new lighting and signage. Preparing returned cars for future use will be faster and more efficient for the rental car companies, airport officials say.

“They will have to go outside to get to the rental car facility, but things will be consolidated, easier to find and much more customer friendly,” says Abe Weber, airport director. “The rest of the improvements are still theoretical, but we are planning for the future.”

A facility charge assessed on car rentals since 2008 will pay for 75 percent of the project. Future charges will pay off the balance as well as fund other upgrades and maintenance at the airport.

Once work on the new car rental facility is complete, sometime in 2017, the rental counters near the baggage claim area will be removed. Weber says the airport plans a series of changes that include reconfiguring and widening the exit lanes from the exit gates, upgrading the restaurant and bar area, refreshing the baggage claim and adding other amenities such as a conference room. Many of the public area facilities have not seen major upgrades since before 9/11, which changed dramatically how airports operate.

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center hits key financial target, sees uptick in visitors

Donors pushed the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center to a milestone goal in 2015, surpassing $25 million in its Keystone Fund.
That reserve fund now carries a balance of 208 percent of the facility’s annual operating budget, ensuring the long-term stability of the P.A.C. by providing sufficient cash reserves and working capital to weather economic downturns or other unforeseen challenges, according to the center’s 2015 Annual Report to the Community.

There is still work to be done, the report notes. The National Arts Strategies Fund recommends facilities such as the P.A.C. maintain a fund of 200 percent to 500 percent of the annual operating budget. The P.A.C. will continue to seek donors for this fund to meet ongoing needs and supplement growth and innovation for years to come.

In addition to reaching its initial goal for the Keystone Fund, the 2014-15 performance season drew 197,000 people to the venue for 350 events, with 20,000 of those visitors reporting it as a first-time visit.

“The 2014-15 season had some special moments that demonstrated the powerful impact of the performing arts through exceptional live experiences,” says Maria Van Laanen, president.

Other highlights from the 2014-2015 season: 

• More than 5,000 students attended events at the Fox Cities P.A.C. 

• The Fox Cities P.A.C. was voted fifth in Venues Today magazine for “Top Stops in the Nation” for theaters of its size.

• Patrons and artists contributed an estimated $12 million into the local economy through dining, shopping and staying in hotels in the area. 

A full copy of the center’s annual report is available online at

» The Northwoods

Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

New hospital plans move forward in Marinette

The first phase of a new Bay Area Medical Center hospital in Marinette advanced when the city’s plan commission endorsed plans for
the facility.

The new hospital will be located on University Drive. The approved plans for phase one of the project include site grading, utilities and management features.

Bay Area Medical Center and its engineering consultants have been working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and expect to secure a permit to start work on the site. The new hospital will displace a small wetlands area, and plans are under way for mitigation, including the creation of a new wetland somewhere in the Lake Michigan basin.

» West Central

Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

New life for former hospital site in Shawano 

The City of Shawano and ThedaCare announced plans for the redevelopment of 10 acres occupied by the former Shawano Medical Center.

The city and ThedaCare earlier considered proposals to reuse the existing facilities, and neither project materialized. Both parties agreed in 2013 to demolish the property if redevelopment was no longer an option. 

“ThedaCare and the city have been working hard to find a creative reuse for the building,” says Dorothy Erdmann, CEO of ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano. “The building was well-maintained and well-loved, and served the community for over 80 years. Now, it has become apparent that it’s time to move on. ThedaCare will spend the money to take down the building, as we promised.” 

Developers continue to demonstrate interest in the property. Previous proposals from other developers included removing all or most of the buildings to make way for new developments, including senior living and memory care, tax credit housing, market-rate apartments and a hotel. 

Demolition is expected to take about 60 days once permits are secured. Part of the demolition project will include a goal of recycling 90 percent of the old building. On a similar recent project at the ThedaCare hospital in Wild Rose, 94 percent of the building materials were recycled. 

ThedaCare and the city will make the combined 10-acre site available for development once the building is removed and the land is vacant. 

ThedaCare moved to its new hospital, ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, in late September 2015.

» The Lakeshore

Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Car condo project revs up in Elkhart Lake

Wolf Developments launched construction of a new residential community in Elkhart Lake tailored specifically to motoring enthusiasts.

The Motorsport Villas of Elkhart Lake, a private, eight-structure, 32-unit residential community, will be built with an emphasis on enjoying and housing fine automobiles.

While not a new concept, car condominium developments are more likely to be found in larger metropolitan areas such as Minneapolis, Kansas City
or Chicago.

Motorsport Villas is located adjacent to the La Budde Creek State Wildlife Area along the Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, just east of Quit Qui Oc Golf Club. The site was selected for its picturesque surroundings and unique access to the local attractions such as Road America and tree-lined curved roads.

“It provides an unmatched opportunity to merge motorsports, race heritage, and all things motoring with a place for enthusiasts to live and vacation amongst automotive art, as well as stay year-round,” says Bart Wolf, president of Wolf Developments.

The project was created, in part, through the development of a tax incremental finance district by the Village of Elkhart Lake. Business and financial plan development was facilitated through the Small Business Development Center at UW-Green Bay and Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation.

For more information visit

S.S. Badger gains historical moniker

The Department of the Interior designated the S.S. Badger Car Ferry as a National Historic Landmark.

The S.S. Badger is the last remaining example of the Great Lakes rail/car ferry design that influenced the design of such ferries around the world. The first open-water crossing on which railcars were carried onboard occurred on Lake Michigan.

For nearly a century, railroad car ferries extended rail lines across three of the Great Lakes — particularly Lake Michigan.

During that period, the difficulty of arranging track rights on roads, the distance around the southern end of the lake and congestion in the rail yards at Chicago all made the transport of railcars across the lake a more efficient and economical alternative.

National Historic Landmarks are historic resources that illustrate the heritage of the United States. National Historic Landmarks come in many forms — historic buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts.
Each National Historic Landmark represents an aspect of American history and culture.

Bank of Luxemburg allocates $1 million to local revitalization 

The Bank of Luxemburg is dedicating $1 million to fund low-cost loans to local businesses as part of a revitalization program in partnership with the Village of Luxemburg. 

The program is meant to assist business owners with enhancing the physical appearance and economic vitality of their businesses and commercial buildings within the Village of Luxemburg. Long-term objectives of the program include physical improvements of buildings, landscaping and parking lots, plus increased pedestrian functionality. 

“Bank of Luxemburg is a huge advocate for the Luxemburg community,” says Tim Treml, executive vice president. “It is our hope that these improvements will help to retain and attract local businesses, increase property values and create a stronger sense of community.” 

Loan amounts will vary from $5,000 to $50,000, with a low fixed interest rate and special repayment terms based on individual project needs. Eligible loan uses include facade improvements, pedestrian cover, historical preservation, structure renovations and accessibility improvements. 

For more information visit

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