City, university proposing technology park
The city is proposing the creation of Whitewater University Technology Park. The idea is to marry the city's potential with the university's resources and foster the growth of technology in the area.
"We think this type of facility will help propel us into the future," City Manager Kevin Brunner said.
A feasibility study completed this summer by NorthStar Economics and MSA Professional Services shows the relationship between the city and the university would be the key to the proposed technology park's success.
The study pointed to a number research and technology parks in the state, including University Research Park in Madison and the Stout Technology Park in Menomonie, as examples of successful endeavors between a municipality and a college or university.
"We really have not capitalized on the benefits of this university," Brunner said. "It's not a research institution, but there is so much potential coming out of that university, faculty and staff members and students.
"The partnership opportunities are really out there, it's just cultivating them."
Randy Marnocha, vice chancellor for administrative affairs at UW-Whitewater, said the proposed technology park is a chance for the university "to utilize (its) strengths and expertise to build the local economy."
Not only would the park bring high-paying jobs to the community, he said, it also would provide faculty, staff and students opportunities for consulting positions, internships and jobs.
Brunner said the parties are working to establish a corporation to oversee development of the technology park. They also are working to appoint a board of city and university representatives that would oversee the operation of the park, he said.
The site proposed for the technology park is 200 acres south of the Highway 12 bypass and Highway 59 on the southwest side of the city.
According to the feasibility study, it would cost nearly $11 million to develop the site, including:
-- $3.1 million to purchase land.
-- $3.1 million to build streets and extend infrastructure to half the lots.
-- $1.4 million to connect Indian Mound Parkway to Highway 59.
-- $3.2 million to build streets and extend infrastructure to the remaining lots.
The development of the park would take a number of years, Brunner said, pointing to University Research Park in Madison, which took about five years to get off the ground.
The Whitewater Business Park was created in 1986. It sits on more than 540 acres on the city's northeast side but could be expanded to nearly 1,000 acres.
-- 23 businesses
-- 2,504 jobs
-- $65 million in annual payroll
-- $200 million in annual economic impact
-- $780,000 in property taxes
Source: City of Whitewater
Last updated: 10:44 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012