Rock Renaissance Redevelopment & Implementation Strategy


Where is the Rock Renaissance area, where is it?

The Rock Renaissance Area is a 240 acre area within the City’s central business district (the downtown) which lies along both banks of the Rock River from the Memorial Drive bridge south to the Jackson Street bridge. The Rock Renaissance area was identified as a priority for assessment, planning, cleanup, and targeted redevelopment through a public process within the city’s Comprehensive Brownfields Program.

 What is a “brownfield”?

A brownfield site is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as any real property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, controlled substances, petroleum or petroleum products, or is mine-scarred land. Since 2011, the City of Janesville has increased its efforts to identify brownfield sites and to work with property owners and tenants to build awareness of the issues associated withbrownfields and explore opportunities for addressing those issues. The Rock Renaissance Area includes a significant percentage of brownfield sites, so the city is using this process to further assess the issues present on particular sites, build public awareness of the challenges and opportunities for redevelopment in the downtown and on the river, and prepare redevelopment strategies for the area. 

Why does this area need a plan; don’t we already have a comprehensive plan and a downtown plan?

Within the Rock Renaissance Area are several public and privately owned environmentally contaminated browfield sites that if cleaned up would potentially lead to further redevelopment in the downtown area. The purpose of this project is to develop site reuse strategies for six key sites that will lead to their clean up and spur redevelopment as green space or private development. The city’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan and 2007 Downtown Vision and Strategy both recognize the importance of Janesville’s downtown area and adjoining neighborhoods as the geographic center of the city and the historic, cultural and entertainment heart of the community. The Rock Renaissance Redevelopment and Implementation Strategy is an initiative that uses the vision of those past plans as a foundation, complements those plans with updated analysis and strategies that capitalize on the city center assets of location, walkability, employment opportunity and historic river-edge setting, and – most importantly – provides detailed action steps that the City of Janesville and other public and private partners should take in future efforts to physically develop specific sites in the downtown.

 Who is paying for this plan?

In late-2013, the city was awarded a $200,000 United States Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Area-wide planning grant to cover city and consultant costs.

What will the planning process entail?

The work process will entail community engagement, a market analysis with a focus on the identified catalytic redevelopment sites, identification of further environmental assessment needs, evaluation of land use alternatives for each of the targeted brownfield sites and specific reuse strategies and priorities for the preferred land use option for each of the sites. In addition the work process will develop an area-wide concept for tying the targeted brownfield sites together with other infill development and  public space recommendations.

 What are the six targeted brownfield properties?

Area #1, inclusive of 55 South River Street

Area #2, inclusive of 110 South Water Street

Area #3, inclusive of 411 and 553 North Main Street

Area #4, inclusive of 000 to 300 Blocks of North Main Street

Area #5, inclusive of 000 to 100 Blocks of West Milwaukee Street

Area #6, inclusive of 100 Blocks of South River Street and South Franklin Street

 What is the project schedule?

Work on this project will begin in January 2014 and be completed by late October 2014

How can I get involved in this planning process?

A robust city center stakeholder and city resident engagement process will be part of the redevelopment strategy process with the goal to identify community priorities and identify market feasible redevelopment or public space alternatives for the priority sites.  Public and stakeholder input  will be sought through public meetings, interviews and a project website  which will provide access to project documents and an opportunity to ask questions, review alternatives being considered and offer comment on project issues, opportunities and work products.

If I have questions whom can I speak to and get them answered?

The following are ways to make contact on this project:

City of Janesville:

Ryan Garcia, Economic Development Coordinator, (608) 755-3180,

Consultant : SAA Design Group, Madison, Wisconsin

David Schreiber 608-255-0800,

Bruce Morrow, 608-441-3582,

 Project Website, click "Get Involved" tab above to ask questions or send a comment