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Beaver Dam Common Council approves submitting WEDC grant application

December 4, 2018

The Beaver Dam Common Council unanimously approved submitting an application for a grant to help a new business open in downtown Beaver Dam.

Should the application be approved, the business would receive a community development investment grant from Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the public-private agency that awards money to help promote job growth. Moving ahead with this process comes at no cost to the city, which has not offered any additional financial incentives to the potential business. The city will simply submit the grant on behalf of the business.

What the business is still has not been disclosed. Mayor Becky Glewen said that the WEDC asks to be able to announce the project itself when things are nearly finalized, but that she can ask on behalf of the council what information the city can share itself ahead of any WEDC announcement.

The business would be a part of downtown redevelopment efforts that city leaders have been working on for some time.

One future business has already received a WEDC community investment grant. Ooga Brewery received $126,100 to develop a property on Spring Street that had been a used-car lot. Construction work has been underway for awhile now and the new brewery is expected to create six-full time jobs. Business owners receive grants from the WEDC alongside their own investments.

Ooga Brewery, which is named after the sound an old car horn makes, is under the leadership of Jim and Ruth Metz, who are also the founders of Animart.

The WEDC has been in the news recently as Gov.-elect Tony Evers has said he plans to propose dissolving the public-private agency and return its functions to a full state department. Mark Hogan, the secretary of the WEDC, said he believes the idea would need approval from a legislature that will still be under the control of Republicans. Gov. Scott Walker and legislators started the agency to replace functions of the state Department of Commerce.

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