Governor Walker announcing a $500,000 Idle Sites Redevelopment Grant. Submitted photo
Governor Walker announcing a $500,000 Idle Sites Redevelopment Grant. Submitted photo

Submitted by Bill Ruben, St. Croix EDC

HUDSON, WI – On July 3 Governor Scott Walker presented the City of Hudson with a $500,000 Idle Sites Redevelopment Grant administered through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The grant offsets a portion of the costs associated with the demolition of the multi-story grandstand structure and other outlying buildings on a 130-acre site at 2200 Carmichael Road in Hudson, Wisconsin.

It is the location of the former St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Park, which closed in 2001. The uniqueness of the facility made it difficult for reuse and the structure had been vacant since closing. Demolition commenced in April and is complete.

The site was acquired in late March by a development group named St. Croix Meadows, LLC. The developer envisions a new, mixed-use campus comprised of corporate sites, office, research and development, hospitality, commercial, retail, recreation, and a privately-financed baseball stadium that will be home to a team franchise awarded through the Northwoods League. Officials estimate the new development will result in $200 million in additional land and improvements and is projected to create approximately 1,000 new jobs.

In announcing the award, Governor Walker said, “The state’s investment in this redevelopment represents a new beginning for this important site, and this project has the potential to make a significant economic impact on the region by attracting new businesses, new residents and thousands of visitors to St. Croix County and western Wisconsin. Our grant will not only help the city remove what has become an eyesore in the community, but it is paving the way for an ambitious project expected to create hundreds of jobs and pump millions into the local economy.”

“The former dog track property, which has sat idle and vacant for nearly two-thirds of its life, has been a fixture in Hudson’s landscape for almost 30 years. The demolition and rebirth of this development has ushered in a newfound excitement to many of our citizens who have felt that the property had been a missed opportunity for years,” said Hudson Mayor Rich O’Connor.

According to WEDC, the Idle Sites program has helped jump-start major redevelopment efforts in every region of the state. Eighteen communities have received more than $15 million in Idle Sites funding, resulting in projects that are expected to create nearly 5,000 jobs and an economic impact of more than $600 million.