The city council gave Janesville permission Monday to apply for a grant that would help offset environmental testing and cleanup costs at the potential site of Blackhawk Community Credit Union’s new headquarters.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation grant could provide up to $150,000 for the city to conduct environmental testing at the site.
Blackhawk unveiled designs in September for a new headquarters along the eastern shore of the Rock River, tucked between East Court Street and Hedberg Public Library. The multipurpose, 130,000-square-foot building would also include a “legacy center” honoring General Motors, a credit union branch and space for other tenants.
Blackhawk made the formal announcement at a downtown event featuring GM memorabilia and an assembly plant retiree who helped found the credit union. Blackhawk CEO Sherri Stumpf said at the time the $30 million development could have room for restaurants, retail, offices and housing.
Since then, there have been few public updates about the proposal.
Janesville Deputy City Manager Ryan McCue said the first phase of environmental cleanup—research—has finished. Phase two, which the grant would help pay for, would test the site to figure out which contaminants need to be removed.
McCue declined to provide details of possible city incentives for the Blackhawk project, saying those discussions were ongoing.
Council President Doug Marklein said he heard the city might cover $8 million or so in site cleanup and infrastructure costs. He wasn’t sure if that would be enough to finalize a deal or what contaminants might be at the site.
Bee Line Wheel Alignment’s former building remains on the riverbank after the company changed locations. There also used to be a car dealership on East Court Street near the former Mercy Options building, which was demolished last year, Marklein said.
Automotive businesses could have contaminated the site with oil or fuel, he said.
Marklein is not part of incentive discussions, but he said the city and Blackhawk are meeting again later this week.
To Marklein’s knowledge, Blackhawk has not submitted formal drawings other than the conceptual designs presented last fall. Despite few public updates, he remains optimistic the headquarters will eventually be built along the shore.
Large projects such as this one, which would be downtown’s biggest in years, often experience minor setbacks during early planning stages, he said.
“Patience, I think, will be the key word on that,” Marklein said. “Not everybody has patience.”
Harlow Phillips got to swim this week for the first time in nearly two years.
For a 5-year old, that can seem like a lifetime.
Harlow was not able to swim or take a bath because she had a central line—a device used to deliver chemotherapy and medication and take blood—through her body, and she could not get it wet.
The central line was needed to help her fight Stage 4 neroublastoma, a cancer commonly found in the adrenal glands. She was diagnosed in September 2017, the weekend of her third birthday.
Harlow was deemed cancer free about a month ago, said her mother, Melani Phillips.
The 5-year-old still must take medication and visit the hospital for monthly scans for a few years, but Harlow's life is more normal now than it has been since her diagnosis, Melani said.
This week, Harlow and her family are taking their first vacation since the diagnosis. They're staying in Gulf Shores, where Harlow has been able to swim and be a normal kid, her mother said.
But the Phillipses aren't turning their backs on neuroblastoma now that their daughter is free of the disease.
Harlow's father, Andy Phillips, with help from dozens of residents, organizations and businesses, has built a 1,429-square-foot home at 359 Hickory St. in Evansville, which is up for sale. Profits from the sale will be donated to BeatNb, a neuroblastoma research and awareness organization.
Volunteers are now putting the finishing touches on the house, which is expected to be move-in ready in coming weeks, Melani said.
Andy, a builder and Realtor, is ready to schedule showings and expects the house to sell for about $275,000, she said.
Melani has lost track of how many people have volunteered time, money or resources for the house, which was built entirely with donated materials and labor.
Family members did not expect to get as much help as they did with the project, Melani said.
"It blew Andy and I away," she said.
Harlow’s father brainstormed the house project in January while sitting in the hospital with his daughter. He shared his ideas with others, and the project snowballed from there, he told The Gazette in July.
Andy owns Phillips Contracting and has built homes since 2011.
It typically takes about five months for Andy and his team to build a house, but this house took about eight months because it was built with donated materials.
Orval L. Appleman
Lucy E. Berry
James F. Conway
Doris May D’ Angelo
Florence I. Falk
Michael P. Helm
Michael James Hoeppner
Darlene E. Ingrassia
James “Jim” Knull
Keith Alan Shallcross
Agnes Ardyce “Blinky” Shepstone
Jason Gene St. Clair