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Dishing the dirt on Rock County’s shovel-ready sites

By Keith Barber

They mean business!

The Rock County 5.0, a public/private economic development initiative, was established in early 2010 and is here to promote Rock County and revitalize the economy throughout the region. Rock County 5.0 represents five key economic development implementation strategies: business retention and expansion, business and investment attraction, real estate positioning, small business, and entrepreneurship and workforce profiling.

It gets its money from business, individual, foundation and governmental sources. The alliance was put together by development professionals and business people in Rock County.

One of many accomplishments was to certify two industrial parks within the county as shovel ready sites. To do that, the alliance hired consultants well-versed in corporation site selection consultation. Ady International of Mount Prospect, Ill., is a certification consultant whose job is to completely research potential development sites, the goal of which is to allow for immediate or shovel ready construction. Ady partnered with Austin Consulting of Cleveland, Ohio, another national research firm, to certify the sites.

It can take an average of six to eight months for a firm to explore a site in which to build, and cost more than $15,000. The program allows a quick entry into the market, and clears the site for construction.

As long as a project fits zoning and environmental issues, all that is needed is municipal approval to construct, and in most cases that can be obtained only 30 days after application.

The consultant examines more than 200 aspects of a particular site — everything from ownership to transportation, community and utility issues, and environmental, archaeological and historical issues.

Rock County 5.0 is encouraging the industry to dust off blueprints and learn more about the shovel ready construction sites now available. They include lots in the 224-acre Highway 11 Business Park in Janesville and the 230-acre Gateway Business Park in Beloit.

Keith Barber is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He’s getting his cubicle shovel ready.

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