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JANESVILLE

Agreeing Monday with votes by other committees, the Janesville Plan Commission decided the Janesville Mall would be the best place for the city to potentially build a new indoor sports facility.

The commission unanimously recommended that the city council should consider the mall the first choice for a sports complex. A site adjacent to the Youth Sports Complex on South Wuthering Hills Drive is the recommended second choice.

Committee pegs Janesville Mall as preferred site for sports complex

Chairwoman Kathy Voskuil said there wasn’t much for the plan commission to discuss Monday night because the panel does not review financial aspects of projects and no designs have been created.

The primary purpose of the commission’s review was to assure the proposed site can accommodate the development and that the site conforms with the city’s comprehensive plan. Commissioners unanimously agreed both were true.

State statute requires the plan commission to review and recommend to the city council a site for any public building or facility, according to a city memo.

The commission based its recommendation on information from Johnson Consulting, which indicated in its business plan that the mall site provides the best access to amenities and highest chance for success.

A project steering committee and the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee both chose the mall as its preferred site.

The plan commission’s recommendation is for anywhere in the mall, not a specific portion of the mall. Early plans have shown the complex would likely go where what remains of the former JCPenney space is on the north end of the mall.

Mall representatives have said they are willing to work with the city to make the sports complex a reality, offering to sell the space for $1 and to try to attract a family activity center to the mall.

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The complex is slated to include:

  • A main ice rink.
  • A secondary rink with removable ice to transform into multipurpose sports courts or a turf field.
  • Flexible space capable of holding four additional sports courts, a turf field or an additional sheet of ice.
  • Amenities such as a pro shop, medical office, locker rooms, meeting rooms and concessions.
  • Parking.

The city council will vote whether to approve the mall site and to authorize spending on designing the potential complex when it meets Nov. 11.

If approved, the design phase would take at least a year. The earliest an indoor sports complex could open is fall 2022.

Once designs are created, the plan commission would review those plans and consider any needed conditional-use permits, Voskuil said.

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