Beloit Rising -
Several weeks ago I posted on a Beloit theme sparked by the owners of the The Phoenix Building Hendricks Development, raising and placing the cupola atop their amazing building downtown. The transformative impact of this and other private and public reinvestment in our community has been astounding. In the face of naysayers both inside and out of our community, Beloit is getting better and better. It is a great place to be and a great time to be a Beloiter
At the time of my last post I referenced many of the redevelopment projects taking place at that time including.
- The Phoenix Building
- First National Bank redevelopment downtown
- The nine Beloit School District schools/facilities redevelopment – specifically Hackett, Gaston & Todd
- The Castle community /performance arts space redevelopment
- The former Beloit Inn – New name to be announced (old website)
- Alliant Power Plant / Beloit College redevelopment – construction not yet begun
- The Iron Works building, former Beloit Corp facilities
- Type A Images downtown Beloit
That was just what came to mind at the time. Actually there were still more projects I could have included but missed.
In the short span of these few weeks since that post the rate of investment and redevelopment marches on at a quickening pace. Last Monday the Executive Director of Economic Development, Andrew Janke, presented to the city council an impressive update on what currently is in development. Just yesterday City Manager Larry Arft presented at the Rotary Club of Beloit an expanded version of the same presentation.
The thing to know about the presentation above and the projects presented is how much of it is taking place without the tax payers of Beloit having to “incentivize” the investment. Developers, employers and others are recognizing the existing and future potential of Beloit.
I find it exciting that as impressive and expansive as the above listing of development projects is can you believe there is still more?
But wait! There’s more!
As mentioned before, these are simply the more physical, tangible projects where I can stand there and take a picture. What’s not included are all the more difficult to photograph things. Things like:
- Civic and community organizations that are expanding and likewise reinvesting in the Beloit community.
- The repeated and ongoing conversations between individuals and within groups about all the positive changes taking place in our community.
- Residents actually moving into downtown Beloit.
- The events and activities both recreational and cause based that are experiencing both increased and broader attendance.
- The volume of Greater Beloit Chamber Ribbon Cuttings as business moves in or expands. Including downtown businesses like Cafe Fromage. (see image rotation at page bottom).
And the list goes on. Yes, we as a community still have work to do. I wouldn’t think anyone would deny there remain things we need to improve. However, I urge those who don’t see this transformation to take a closer look.
Here’s the thing
Beloit holds some key, fairly unique benefits not common within the broader tri-city region. Yes, we have great options for business development in the Gateway Business Park, Iron Works downtown, the Eclipse Center and elsewhere. Consider though, there are many good business parks between Madison, Chicago and Milwaukee. What there are few of are strong, viable and increasingly attractive downtown center city communities. Communities with a strong sense of place, identity and… well… “community.” The spread of unchecked suburban sprawl around cities having peaked is well documented. An increasing percentage of people, particularly young people are choosing differently than their parents and grand parents and are voting with their dollars and residence for the convenience, sustainability and indeed quality of life of attractive, traditional, center-city communities.
Beloit has been working hard at this for many years now. We’re well ahead of the curve. Investors both private and public are recognizing this. And that’s a good thing.