It’s possible Janesville could explore two more sites in addition to its three finalists as it tries to find a home for an indoor sports complex.
Although three finalists were selected in April, city staff received two late inquiries in recent months. City officials will present more information about both locations Monday and will ask the council whether they should be considered.
Janesville usually has a firm rule that late bids cannot be considered for a project. But the city has money in its existing budget to add one site, and doing additional design work will not delay the current timeline, Neighborhood and Community Services Director Jennifer Petruzzello said.
“We want to be upfront about the additional information we’ve now received,” she said. “We just want to ask the council whether or not they’d like to see us add either or both of these sites for further evaluation.”
One of the new sites is near the intersection of Interstate 90/39, Milton Avenue and Kettering Street. The spacious location measures more than 92 acres, of which 7 acres would be available.
The other is a collection of parcels downtown in an area bordered by Court, Franklin, River and Van Buren streets. Not all the properties are owned by one person; if all within the two-square-block area were acquired, they would total 3.8 acres.
City officials have spent the past year researching whether to build a new sports complex to replace the Janesville Ice Arena. A sports complex steering committee has said 5.5 acres is the desirable size plus additional space for parking, according to a city memorandum.
The three location finalists, all of which are being reviewed for design, include the Janesville Mall, the Janesville Youth Sports Complex and a vacant lot near Wright Road and Milwaukee Street.
Dan Silha owns the site near the Interstate. He contacted the city shortly after the council selected its three finalists, Petruzzello said.
The steering committee has not yet done an in-depth review of either new site. The memo says the Silha location has ample space and no known environmental issues. It would need extensions on Kettering Street and Kennedy Road, and coordinating with the adjacent Interstate expansion could cause delays.
The city estimates it would cost $500,000 to acquire part of this site.
Downtown, Brad Losching contacted the city June 28 to offer five parcels he owns, totaling 2.4 acres.
Another property owner on the block indicated a willingness to cooperate on this site, but Janesville officials have been unable to reach the other property owner, Petruzzello said.
Losching’s properties there include some warehouses and a building whose sign says it is home to Enginaire and American Farm Implement and Specialty. It is unclear how many of those properties are actively being used.
The downtown site would be centrally located and fit nicely with ARISE redevelopment plans. But it is smaller than the desired size and could have issues providing sufficient parking, according to the memo.
Acquisition of the downtown parcels is estimated at $2 million. The city would also have to pay demolition and business relocation costs.
In April, the council authorized $25,000 for business plan and site design.
The Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau matched that.
There’s enough money within this phase’s $50,000 budget to consider one more site, but considering both likely will require the city to dip into its operating budget, Petruzzello said.
The business plan and site design phase is already underway and is expected to finish in early September. Adding either or both of the additional locations likely would not change that timeline, she said.
The information eventually will return to the sports complex steering committee, the parks and recreation advisory committee, and the plan commission.
A community engagement forum will be held in September or October.
The city council likely will vote on a final project proposal sometime in October.
Because the sports complex will be city-owned, it will not require tax increment financing.
Janesville likely will need some form of private-sector funding to make the project happen, Petruzzello said.