County Executive Forms Community Task Force to Explore Expansion at Alliant Energy Center

County Executive Forms Community Task Force to Explore Expansion at Alliant Energy Center

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today that he has formed a task force to explore possibilities for expansion of the county owned Alliant Energy Center (AEC) complex, as well as evaluate the center to provide recommendations that will maintain the facility’s positive contribution to Dane County and the region.

The Alliant Energy Center and Exhibition Hall are estimated to provide nearly $88 million in direct local economic impact, and welcome more than one million people attending more than 500 events annually. Over dozens of decades, the center and its venues has been host to a diverse line-up of conventions, trade shows, entertainment acts from Frank Sinatra to Bruce Springsteen, community expos and meetings, the Dane County Fair, and world-renowned agriculture event World Dairy Expo.

“The AEC grounds have been owned by the county for more than 100 years. Throughout that time, changes have been made to ensure the facility fits the community’s needs,” said Parisi. “The time has come again to assess what possibilities exist for expansion or upgrades of this diverse facility, and create a plan of action that fits within our current economic climate.”

Parisi has selected former Dane County Executive and community leader, Rick Phelps, to serve as chair of his new Expansion Exploration Task Force. As County Executive in the 1990s, Phelps led the effort to authorize construction of the current Exhibition Hall. "The grounds of the Alliant Energy Center are huge, and at the very heart of our entire region's economy,” said Phelps. “At 164 acres it is over 10 times the size of the capitol square. What we do with these grounds will play a large part in our community's future. We really need to take our time and get it right."

Recruitment of task force members is ongoing, but currently include: Jeff Lyons, Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; Mark Clarke, General Manager of World Dairy Expo, Deb Archer, President and CEO of the Greater Madison Visitors and Convention Bureau, and County Board Supervisor and Alliant Energy Commission member Robin Schmidt.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our strong partnership with Dane County and finding solutions to keep the Alliant Energy Center complex and its Exhibition Hall a premiere destination for World Dairy Expo, and for the community 365 days a year,” said Mark Clarke, General Manager of World Dairy Expo.

The Expansion Exploration Task Force will meet over the next several months to formulate and present their recommendations to the County Executive. Essential to the task force process will be consideration and identification of innovative private/public partnerships or other investment opportunities that will aid in the funding of final task force recommendations. Preliminary recommendations will be released for public comment and feedback. The task force will issue final recommendations by the end of next year.

12.08.2011