1/25/12 – The Beaver Dam Community Development Committee met last night for the first time in six months and the main agenda item was whether or not to consider dissolving the committee. The CDC was put in place back when Beaver Dam had a full-time economic development officer on the payroll. In 1997, the city decided to essentially contract out for those services and the Beaver Dam Area Development Corporation was formed. The Development Corp, a public-private partnership with the city, crunches numbers and negotiates with companies looking to set up shop behind closed doors and brings the findings to various city committees for approval. CDC Chair Robert Ballweg called the committee to session yesterday to ask if they’re still relevant, and he was met with mixed reactions. Discussion then turned to the possibility of establishing a new role for the CDC, shifting its scope to smaller projects that may not be practical or cost-effective for the Development Corp to focus on, like land purchase negotiations and downtown revitalization. Another possible new area of focus would be for the CDC to coordinate a revolving loan fund with revenues generated from the downtown Tax Increment Finance District #6, where the new Madison Place and the Lake Historic Lofts are located. Ballweg says between $25,000 and $30,000 could be accumulated annually for downtown businesses to use toward remodeling and façade improvements. After reaching consensus in committee, Ballweg agreed to meet with the city attorney, the mayor, the director of finance and officials with the Development Corp to draft a resolution outlining plans for a revolving loan fund.
If the resolution is not approved by the committee and council, Ballweg says it would be time to revisit the necessity of the Community Development Committee.