County Board Approves Alliant Energy Center Market Study and Master Planning Process

County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan: 608.333.2285
County Board

The Dane County Board of Supervisors on Thursday approved a resolution calling for a market study and comprehensive master plan for the redevelopment of the Alliant Energy Center (AEC) property.  The Dane County AEC is a complex of four venues including the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Exhibition Hall, the New Holland Pavilions, and Willow Island.

The resolution, approved by a vote of 28 in favor and 6 opposed, follows a report presented to the Alliant Energy Strategic Design Study Committee by the Hammes Company, a consulting firm which presented three broad options: minor deferred repairs, limited upgrades and replacements, and comprehensive redevelopment of the entire 164-acre site.

Prior to embarking on the full master plan, the County Board requires the completion of a comprehensive market study of the AEC facilities to determine the nature and order of potential improvements to the facilities and grounds and all costs and returns on investment associated with such improvements. The study will include an analysis of current, past, and potential future customers and event industry trends.

“When it comes to major issues, our approach has been careful study, data collection, evaluation, discussion, planning and action,” said Supervisor Jeff Pertl, Chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee. “This pretty modest proposal is very much in line with all of that work.”

Once the market study has been completed to support continued county investment in the AEC, the County will undertake the master plan process.  The plan will provide a vision of future development and will set in place a roadmap to increase the tax base and economic and event activity at the AEC, to include private investment. The County can then consider a phased implementation of the master plan, specifying opportunities over time for private and public investment.

“The County is looking for the highest and best use of this property as determined through a master planning process,” said Supervisor Robin Schmidt, Chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee. “There is no predisposition to any one option.”

The resolution calls for input from neighbors and community members as well as study of factors like mass transit and environmental impact.  The goal is to allow the County to maximize its own future investment according to a plan that reflects the community’s priorities, including economic, social, environmental sustainability and equity priorities.

“It is imperative and essential that the neighbors and the neighborhood surrounding the Alliant Energy Center have a meaningful master planning process that includes all neighbors’ input” said Supervisor Shelia Stubbs, who represents the district where the center is located. “Oftentimes communities are left behind.”

The resolution also calls for the establishment of an Alliant Energy Center Comprehensive Master Plan Oversight Committee, to include Madison and Dane County elected officials, as well as business, environmental, and neighborhood representatives.

”I am pleased that the County Board strongly backed a data-driven process for guiding future investments in the Alliant Energy Center,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan.  “Knowing the value that the facility brings to Dane County, understanding the changing market forces and hearing from the community will direct us toward sustainable solutions that embrace the highest and best use of the campus,” she concluded.