When GM moved out of Janesville it left a gaping hole in Rock County's economy. Now local business leaders are teaming up with regional economic developers to form a new initiative, Rock County 5.0.
"We can't sit by and wait for the savior to come or another large company to come into Rock County, especially in this economic environment. It's really not going to happen." says Advisory Co-Chair Mary Willmer-Sheedy, who is also the M & I Community Bank President.
Instead 5.0 is implementing five strategies over five years to bring industry to Rock county.
"Despite all the bad news you here about what's happening in the economy and specifically that attributed to automotive communities, we are moving forward. There have been success stories here. Part of 5.0 is honestly to get some of the good news out." says Rock County Economic Development Manager James Otterstein.
That good news includes the St. Mary's Janesville hospital and Dean clinic, which is expected to bring in about five hundred jobs. In addition, Data Dimensions is also constructing a Janesville facility which should create two-hundred fifty jobs. In Beloit, Frito Lay recently announced a twenty-eight million dollar expansion. 5.0 is promoting these success stories to bring in similar industries.
"Beloit has a great history of developing food processing industries. Companies like to land near each other. We're not going to exclude any niches, but certainly there are some key ones that we'll be going after." adds Willmer-Sheedy.
Rock County 5.0 will act under the idea that what is good for Janesville is good for Beloit, and vice versa. By redefining the entire county as one community 5.0 is hoping to revitalize one of the Stateline's hardest hit economies.
Rock County 5.0 has an advisory council made up of eighteen members of the local business community. This marks the first time the county has seen such collaboration between public and private entities purely for economic development reasons.
For more information visit www.rockcounty5.com