Contact: Ariana Vruwink Contact: Sharon Corrigan
Exhibition Hall Project Would Create Jobs, Generate Tourism, and Strengthen County’s Venue for Ag. Industry Shows; Commission’s Vote Puts Project at Risk of Not Receiving State Funds
Yesterday afternoon, Republican members on the Wisconsin Building Commission refused to endorse Governor Evers’ capital budget proposal. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan are disappointed in the lack of bipartisanship among commission members to vote in favor of the budget. The move to reject the Governor’s capital budget means that Dane County must redouble its efforts to find bipartisan support for including Evers’ proposed $30 million in state funds to expand the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center in the budget ultimately passed by the Wisconsin Legislature.
“The state and county have a precedent of working together to enhance the Alliant Energy Center campus and bolster state tourism,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “I am disappointed commission members failed to come together and support projects like the Exhibition Hall expansion—a project that would benefit our entire state and help us further promote our agriculture industry.”
In the fall of 2018, County Executive Parisi wrote a letter to the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration’s Building Commission asking the state to help fund the Exhibition Hall expansion. Earlier this month, Governor Evers announced at the AEC that his budget proposal would allocate $30 million to support redevelopment of the Exhibition Hall. Dane County’s Alliant Energy Center is the premier venue in the country for agricultural shows, and the investment would help Dane County keep pace with shows eager to grow into more space.
In the past, Dane County received $9 million from the state to build the New Holland Pavilions, which total 290,000 square feet and have made the AEC an industry leader in agricultural shows. The pavilions have brought around two dozen new national agriculture shows to the AEC in the past few years alone and have kept the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin, highlighting the success the state and county’s partnership can have on the Midwest.
“State investment in the Alliant Energy Center expansion will enrich Wisconsin’s position as a premiere global convener in the agricultural industry and will boost state revenues at the same time,” said Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan.
Corrigan emphasized that investment in the Alliant Energy Center expansion would drive significant return on investment to the state. If included in the budget ultimately passed by the Wisconsin Legislature, the project would create 1,400 new jobs, generating an additional $670,000 in annual state income taxes, or $25.3 million over 20 years. It would generate $58.9 million in state sales tax. The state would also benefit with an estimated $31 million in additional state taxes.