Janesville starts multi-million dollar project despite economy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Janesville starts multi-million dollar project despite economy


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- The City of Janesville hopes fundraising and property sales will help pay for a multi-million dollar project it's starting this week.

The city will start clearing land to build eight new baseball diamonds at the Youth Sports Complex. The project will cost about $4 million.

The cost will be split between the city and the Janesville Youth Baseball and Softball Association.

"It's not quite 50-50, usually it's more like 60-40, where the city is providing about 40 percent of the cost," explained Mike Williams, Janesville Leisure Services Director.

That means the city will be responsible for about $1.2 million. Some of that money has been budgeted, and the rest will come from selling some of the property lining the sports complex as residential lots.

"They're on the market, I mean they're available and even though they're not moving really fast because of the real estate climate out there, it's still a cash assett," said Williams.

The Janesville Youth Baseball and Softball Association (JYBSA) will then be responsible for about $2.5 million. It also plans on selling some property, as well as, doing some fundraising. The group says it has seen some success among businesses looking past the current economic situation.

"First of all, it's a hundred year project, it's going to benefit youth in our community for a century or more, and secondly with the new facility we hope to bring in a lot more tournaments, generate a lot more economic activity than we currently are," stated Duffy Dillon, a representative of JYBSA.

As the City of Janesville prepares for numerous plant closures around town, the city council says it will need to start scrutinizing projects like this more in the future. However the way the sports complex project is structured does make it appealing to the city.

"I think it's great because it's a public private partnership where the public is helping out the private sector but the private sector is bearing the brunt of the cost," said Tom McDonald, Janesville City Council Member.

"In the years to come, once the project is paid for, we'll be self-sustaining and we'll never be coming back to the city again for more money," added Dillon.

JYBSA says even if it is unable to raise all of the $2.5 million, it is confident it will have enough money to start playing on the new diamonds in 2010.

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