Wisconsin City Receives Funding for New Performing Arts Center

The state of Wisconsin has awarded a $240,000 grant to the city of Onalaska to support the construction of a new performing arts facility – a project expected to draw more visitors downtown and provide a boost to local businesses.

The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will help fund the International Performing Arts Campus on 12th Avenue S.

The 21,190-square-foot facility, which is now under construction, will house three dance-related businesses and a café, and will have 3,500 square feet of space for a complementary use and/or future growth. It is campus expected to open in May.

Mary Gage, WEDC’s senior director of economic development, joined city officials, and local business and economic development leaders in announcing the grant in Onalaska on Monday.

The facility will be the new home of Misty’s Dance Unlimited, a dance studio that was established in 1998 and has more than 700 students of all ages; More than Just Great Dancing, a business that provides on-site and virtual training services to danced studio owners and instructors, nearly 200 studios nationwide; and Everything Dance, a dance apparel store.

“The concept for this training center has been six years in the making,” said Misty Lown, who owns the three businesses.

“From the day we took our business model and curriculum international, we knew we wanted to bring the benefit economic activity associated with our training programs home to Onalaska.”

The project is located in a key commercial corridor near downtown.

Given the expected number of visitors to the campus each week for classes and the large influx of visitors who will be in the city several times a year for dance training events, the campus is expected to have a significant economic impact on the city and downtown.

Once completed, the campus is expected to add more than $2 million to the city’s tax base and increase the number of visitors to the city.

This facility also will serve as a community gathering space centered around arts. The campus also is expected to be made be made available to community events.

WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas.

Awards are based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.

Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $16 million in Community Development Investment Grants for projects expected to generate more than $186 million in capital investments statewide.