Regional Roundup June

Posted on Jun 1, 2011 :: Up Front
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Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

HIGHWAY 41 CORRIDOR
Brown, Calumet, Outagamie, Winnebago, Fond du Lac Counties

Brown County Culinary Kitchen incubator opens

The Brown County Culinary Kitchen, a shared use kitchen incubator located at NEW Curative Rehabilitation Inc., is now open for business.

The incubator is the culmination of a year’s work to develop a fully licensed, non-profit, shared-use commercial kitchen at 2900 Curry Lane, Green Bay. It is the collaborative effort of Advance, a program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce; N.E.W. Curative Rehabilitation; Algoma Farm Market Kitchen; and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

“The Brown County Culinary Kitchen fills an existing void in the community,” says Fred Monique, interim president of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and vice president of Advance.
The kitchen’s mission is to provide economic development through entrepreneurship, providing opportunities for sustaining local agriculture and promoting best practices for food processors. It’s the outgrowth of a need for usage by new and existing culinary entrepreneurs including food growers, chefs, cooks, caterers, bakers, canners and restaurateurs.

Outagamie airport’s weather system gets an upgrade

The State of Wisconsin has given the green light to a $100,000 project at the Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville to upgrade an automated weather observation system.

The state will contribute $80,000 to the project, with the county picking up the remaining cost.
The new equipment will provide continuous weather reporting at the airport so departing and approaching aircraft will get real-time local conditions. The project will be complete by winter.
Flexible packing plant moving into former K-C diaper plant

A portion of Kimberly-Clark Corp’s former Lakeview diaper plant in the Town of Menasha will come back to life this fall as a state-of-the-art flexible packaging plant.

Prolamina, which designs and manufactures packaging for the food, dairy and medical markets, will lease about 200,000-square-feet of the 781,000-square-foot facility that K-C sold for $4.75 million to a development group.

Prolamina plans to invest $25 million to transform the space to fit their needs and to hire 70 full-time employees within the first year. It hopes to hire more than 100 people as time goes on.

Prolamina is the newly trademarked name of a company formed last August by Wellspring Capital Management, a private equity firm, and Harold Bevis, an industry executive.

Packaging Solutions Holdings, headed by Bevis, who is chairman and chief executive officer, acquired Jen-Coat Inc., of Westfield, Mass., in August, and Excel Pac of Montreal, Canada, on March 1, with the intention of locating a new packaging plant in the Midwest.

Moraine Park Tech College’s new leader to start in July

Sheila Ruhland will start as Moraine Park Technical College’s president in July.She succeeds Gayle Hytrek, who is retiring in June after serving the college as president since 2004.
Ruhland comes to MPTC from Rockingham Community College in Wentworth, N.C., where she was vice president of instruction and served as the college’s accreditation liaison.

Marquis Yachts earns grant to fund expansion project

Marquis Yachts of Pulaski is expanding its product line to include small, portable offices for National Guard recruiters. The move has the potential to create 379 jobs at the yacht maker.

The company received a $2 million grant from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to buy new equipment and provide working capital.

The making of the mobile offices for the National Guard will likely open other markets for the company’s portable 8-by-10-foot structures.

Fox Cities visitors spent $363.5 million in 2010

Visitor spending in the Fox Cities increased 1.2 percent to more than $363.5 million in 2010.
A study estimates this direct spending created 5,613 jobs and $101.93 million in income for Fox Cities residents. The visitor spending figures are from a statewide economic impact study conducted by Davidson-Peterson Associates of Maine.

“We’re optimistic that tourism will continue as a good source of economic development for the Fox Cities in 2011,” says Lynn Peters, executive director of the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau.

A study released by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism shows the state’s tourism industry is turning the corner. Traveler spending in the state during 2010 increased 1.8 percent over 2009.

U.S. 41 in line for possible interstate upgrade

The region’s main highway – U.S. 41 – could earn interstate designation under a plan presented by Gov. Scott Walker.

Walker announced a plan to turn the 142-mile stretch of U.S. 41 between the Mitchell Interchange in Milwaukee and Green Bay by 2015 into an interstate. Before that can happen, the Federal Highway Authority would need to approve the change.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will spend the next few years making improvements to the stretch to bring it up to interstate standards at an estimated cost between $15 million and $20 million.

The DOT is currently working on road improvements in both Winnebago and Brown counties, including new interchanges, a new causeway over Lake Butte des Morts and widening the highway in several sections from four to six lanes. Construction on those projects is expected to wrap up by 2017.

The interstate designation will be good for the entire region, says U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac. “Upgrading U.S. 41 will give a boost to the regional economy,” he says since businesses are attracted to the prospect of being located right off an interstate.

$12 million Watermark project construction starts

Construction has started on the $12 million Watermark development in downtown Green Bay on the east bank on the Fox River.

The project includes office and retail space, a parking garage, the Green Bay Children’s Museum and Hagemeister Park restaurant. Vetter Denk Architects of Milwaukee is the project’s lead developer. Ganther Construction is building the project.

After years of financial juggling and changes, the City of Green Bay is loaning the project $3.5 million, Calumet County Bank and its partners will loan $4.5 million and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority is providing about $2.1 million in tax credits. In addition, Vetter Denk Architects has about $1.7 million in project equity.

Faith Technologies earns national construction honor

Faith Technologies of Menasha earned a National Excellence in Construction award from Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) for work on ONEOK Field — the Tulsa Drillers Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.

Faith Technologies received an Eagle Award, which is the highest award given out by the ABC, in the electrical-commercial $2 million to $14 million category.

THE LAKESHORE
Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan Counties

Plastics firm eyes $5 million facility in Sheboygan

Green EnviroTech Holdings Corp. has announced it received a commitment for $5 million in financing to open a closed Sheboygan factory as a plastics recycling operation.
The firm plans to turn now-unusable waste destined for landfills into increasingly valuable plastics and even oil. The idea is to take “fluff” — the nonmetallic waste that remains after shredding old cars and appliances, then harvest plastic and rubber that can be made into resin and reused.
Sheboygan’s Common Council approved issuing $25 million in bonds to help the company buy and equip the former International Automotive Components facility. The company says it plans to hire 125 employees.

Dominion looks to sell Kewaunee nuclear plant

Dominion Resources is looking for a new owner for its Kewaunee Power Station, which is located in Kewaunee County on the shore of Lake Michigan.

The Virginia-based power producer purchased the 38-year-old plant in 2005 for $220 million as part of a plan to expand into the Midwest. After losing out on buying other Midwest power plants, Dominion announced plans to sell the Kewaunee plant since it no longer fit with the company’s strategic plans.

The plant received a 20-year license renewal in February from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

THE NORTHWOODS
Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto Counties

Marinette Marine recalls last of laid-off workers

Marinette Marine Corp. has started hiring employees to work on its four current projects after recalling the last of its laid-off workers.

The shipyard has 1,000 employees and recalled 110 production employees from layoff last month. Marinette officials previously announced plans to hire up to 1,000 additional people over the next two years to fulfill its Navy shipbuilding contracts.

WEST CENTRAL
Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara, Marquette, Green Lake Counties

Clintonville airport’s weather system receives update

The automated weather observation system at Clintonville Muncipal Airport is getting an $83,490 upgrade.

The Federal Aviation Administration is providing a majority of the project funding, kicking in $79,315. The City of Clintonville will contribute $2,088 from its capital budget while the State of Wisconsin will provide $2,087.

The project, which will be finished this summer, will enhance safety by providing pilots with continuous, real-time local weather information.

Waupaca manufacturer earns tax credits for expansion

Gusmer Enterprises, a developer and manufacturer of fermentation nutrition in Waupaca, received $73,000 in economic development tax credits from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce for an expansion project.

Gusmer is upgrading its facility and purchasing new equipment to help handle business growth.
The $1.45 million project is expected to create 16 jobs and retain 82.

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