The Rock River flows under the partially demolished Milwaukee Street bridge in what is considered the nexus of the ARISE downtown revitalization plan. ARISEnow, a private group, is hosting a reveal Tuesday to show designs for a pedestrian bridge planned just south of the Milwaukee Street bridge.


ARISEnow has planned a public reveal next week of a major private project it’s tackling as part of the city’s ARISE downtown riverfront revitalization strategy.

On Tuesday, the private-side redevelopment group will give a sneak peek at the Janesville Performing Arts Center of conceptual drawings of the Blain Gilbertson Family Heritage Pedestrian Bridge, a planned footbridge that will span the Rock River at the town square between Court and Milwaukee streets.

The bridge is one project in a slew of initiatives ARISEnow plans in tandem with public ARISE improvements.

The Tuesday reveal will feature a panel of six speakers who want to raise public awareness about private projects rolling out downtown. Speakers include Mick Gilbertson, one of several private donors supporting ARISEnow projects, including the Blain Gilbertson bridge.

Other panelists will discuss a related project: Blackhawk Community Credit Union’s Reflections Plaza, a multimillion-dollar development planned along the riverfront just south of the downtown core.

JoLynn Burden, director of development and community engagement for ARISEnow, said the event aims to show how some developments and revitalization projects link together as part of a larger revival of downtown.

“The goal is to kind of help connect the dots for the layman out there who isn’t as close to the projects as some,” Burden said.

Also Tuesday, Burden said, officials for Downtown Janesville Inc. and downtown’s business improvement district will talk about new events being planned for 2019.

She said panelists will take questions from the public, and they’ll have tables set up in JPAC’s gallery for one-on-one conversations after the talks.

The reveal comes as ARISEnow continues a “community” fundraising campaign to spur a $1.5 million set of private projects, including bridge lighting in the town square and upgrades to JPAC.

Earlier this fall, ARISEnow announced it had raised nearly $5 million in donations, some from individual donors who gave gifts of as much as $1 million.

The group initially set a $10 million fundraising goal for a slew of riverfront revitalization projects. It’s still actively seeking donations to fuel other projects.

Burden said Tuesday’s event is an outreach for ARISEnow projects, but it’s more than a fundraising effort.

“The goal of Tuesday night isn’t necessarily to ask for money. It’s information, bringing people together and giving them an outlet to ask more,” she said. “The more you know, the more people might get excited about all that’s happening.”

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