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Growing Quality Of Life

Community Programs and Resources

Community Assistance Programs

Main Street Program
The Wisconsin Main Street Program is a comprehensive revitalization program designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Wisconsin. Communities selected to participate in the Wisconsin Main Street Program initially receive five years of intensive technical assistance aimed at enabling them to create and manage a downtown district that is economically stable, attractive and competitive. For additional program details, click here.

Connect Communities
Connect Communities offers technical assistance and networking opportunities to local leaders interested in revitalizing their downtown or urban commercial districts. The program provides immediate access to resources that will help launch a commercial revitalization effort. For additional program details, click here.

Capacity Building Grants
Capacity Building (CAP) Grant funds assist local and regional economic development groups with assessments of the economic competitiveness of the area and with the development of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. For additional program details, click here.

Community Development Investment Grant Program
The Community Development Investment Grant Program will support redevelopment efforts by providing financial incentives for shovel-ready projects with emphasis on, but not limited to, downtown community driven efforts.  Successful recipients will demonstrate significant, measurable benefits in job opportunities, property values and/or leveraged investment by local and private partners. For additional program details, click here.

Certified Sites Program
WEDC and partners have created consistent standards for this competitive industrial site certification program in Wisconsin for sites with at least 50 contiguous, developable acres.  Certification means key approvals, documentations, and assessments for industrial uses will already be in place and the sites are truly shovel-ready. For additional program details, click here.

Idle Industrial Sites Redevelopment Program
The Idle Industrial Site Redevelopment Program is a highly competitive, offering grants to Wisconsin communities for the implementation of redevelopment plans for large industrial sites that have been idle, abandoned or underutilized for at least five years. Grants may be made to government entities for sites over 10 acres where redevelopment is impeded due to existing site conditions. An approved redevelopment plan demonstrating strong potential for significant measurable economic benefits such as increased generation of property taxes and the creation of full-time permanent jobs will increase the competitiveness of a proposed project. For additional program details, click here.

Board of Commissioners of Public Lands – Loan Program
The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) operates one of the largest public lending programs in the state. The BCPL State Trust Fund Loan Program finances community and school projects across Wisconsin. For more information, visit BCPL.

Economic Development Administration Federal Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s mission (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting innovation and competitiveness, preparing American regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. The EDA provides grant programs for economic development assistance, regional planning and local technical assistance, and disaster prevention and relief. For more information, visit the Economic Development Administration.

Forward Community Investments Loan Programs

Forward Community Investments offer loans to organizations in Wisconsin that are making a significant impact in improving their communities. This community development financial institution works with nonprofit clients to provide loans to build or improve facilities, bridge funding gaps and expand capacity.

  • Secured Real Estate or Equipment Loans — Used to purchase property, build a building, buy equipment, refinance existing debt or for other expenditures related to your organization.
  • Bridge Loans — Provides money to keep a project moving forward while an organization is waiting for pledged dollars (via grants, fundraising, etc.) to come in the door.
  • Working Capital Loans — To be used for occasions when working capital is tight, oftentimes due to a late government payment, cancelled contract or seasonality of fundraising revenues.
  • Construction Loans — A short-term loan used to secure funds to build or rehabilitate a physical structure.
  • Predevelopment Loans — Short-term loans that provide the initial seed money for a project, typically associated with property acquisition or construction.

For more information, visit Forward Community Investments.

National Trust Preservation Funds

The National Trust for Historic Preservation offers grants that encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects. For more information, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Public Finance Authority

The Public Finance Authority (PFA) was established to provide a means to efficiently and reliably finance projects on behalf of local governments in Wisconsin and throughout the country. PFA’s mission is to provide local governments and eligible private entities access to low-cost, tax-exempt and other financing for projects that contribute to social and economic growth and improve the overall quality of life in communities throughout the country. For more information, visit the Public Finance Authority.

Infrastructure Assistance

Wisconsin Coastal Management Grant Program
The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP) is dedicated to preserving and improving access to the natural and historic resources of Wisconsin’s Great Lake coasts. WCMP Grants are available for coastal wetland protection and habitat restoration, nonpoint source pollution control, coastal resource and community planning, Great Lakes education, public access and historic preservation. For more information, visit the Wisconsin Coastal Management Grant Program.

Wisconsin DNR Safe Drinking Water Loan Program
The Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) provides financial assistance to public water systems to build, upgrade or replace water supply infrastructure to protect public health and address federal and state safe drinking water requirements. For additional program details, visit the Wisconsin DNR.

Wisconsin DNR Clean Water Fund Program
The Clean Water Fund Program (CWFP) provides financial assistance to municipalities for wastewater treatment facilities and urban storm water runoff projects. For additional program details, visit the Wisconsin DNR.

USDA Rural Development (Wisconsin Office)
Wisconsin’s USDA Rural Development office is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural Wisconsin through financial programs that support essential public facilities and services such as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. For additional program details, visit the USDA Rural Development Wisconsin.

Wisconsin DOT Transportation Enhancement Grant Program
The Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) program provides 50 percent state grants to governing bodies, private businesses, and consortiums for road, rail, harbor and airport projects that help attract employers to Wisconsin or encourage business and industry to remain and expand in the state.For additional program details, visit the Wisconsin DOT.

Environmental Assistance

Brownfield Program
The Brownfield Program helps convert contaminated sites into properties that are ready for redevelopment by providing grant funds to assist local governments, businesses and individuals with assessing and remediating environmental contamination of abandoned, idle or underused facilities or sites. For additional program details, click here.

Brownfield Site Assessment Grant
Wisconsin’s Brownfield Site Assessment Grant (SAG) Program provides grant funds to assist local governments with conducting initial environmental assessment and demolition activities on an eligible abandoned, idle or underutilized industrial or commercial site. For additional program details, click here.

Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Grants and Funding
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Brownfields Program provides direct funding for brownfields assessment, cleanup, revolving loans and environmental job training. To facilitate the leveraging of public resources, EPA’s Brownfields Program collaborates with other EPA programs, other federal partners, and state agencies to identify and make available resources that can be used for Brownfields activities. In addition to direct brownfields funding, EPA also provides technical information on Brownfields financing matters. For additional program details, visit the EPA.

Wisconsin DNR Ready for Reuse Program
Administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), Ready for Reuse loans and grants are used for environmental cleanup of hazardous substances or petroleum at Brownfields throughout Wisconsin. For additional program details, visit the Wisconsin DNR.