Thumbs down to Interstate site. The Janesville City Council agreed last week to consider two additional sites for a new indoor sports complex, and both have deficiencies. One site would be near Interstate 90/39, Milton Avenue and Kettering Street. Placing a complex there would benefit out-of-towners coming to Janesville via I-90/39, but it would be unfair to south-siders who would have to travel across town to use the complex. The council also added to its list a downtown site. The concept is intriguing, but creating enough parking space at this location--bordered by Court, River, Franklin and Van Buren streets--would be a challenge. The council has three other possible sites in mind, and those seem more promising.
Thumbs up to Janesville prairie pocket. Our editorial board couldn't tell one grassy field from another and was as surprised as anyone to learn Janesville sits near a rare ecological gem, a pristine prairie remnant. The 40-acre property along County G south of Janesville possesses flora found thousands of years ago, according to local botanist Kevin Kawula. He called the site a "time capsule" because of the rare mix of plants and insects living there. The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin acquired the site to build a new headquarters, and Kawula plans to make a presentation to the organization with recommendations on how to continue preserving this piece of living history.
Thumbs down to budget-busting bipartisanship. The two-year spending deal passed by the U.S. House on Thursday is better than the partisan battle of wills that shut down part of the government in January. But if this is what bipartisanship looks like, it could bankrupt the nation. Fiscal hawks are an endangered species on Capitol Hill. Both parties are spending like deficits don't matter. (To his credit, Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, voted against the deal). According to the Congressional Budget Office, the annual budget deficit is expected to hit $896 billion this year and $1.3 trillion by 2029, when the national debt is forecast to total $28.5 trillion, or 92 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. Republicans and Democrats have united but for the wrong cause: to spend money the government doesn't have.
Thumbs up to acquisition of former Town and Country building. Blackhawk Community Credit Union took over the site after its previous owners couldn't make it into a viable development. It's in poor condition and an eyesore amid several new projects aimed at revitalizing the downtown. The credit union will likely demolish the building to make way for new construction. It's easy to envision somebody opening a new restaurant or retail shop here, taking full advantage of the nearby ARISE Town Square and festival street. But if a developer doesn't quickly appear, perhaps the site could be made into parking spaces, which some people say the downtown needs.