The City of Janesville is working to position our downtown as a vibrant neighborhood where commerce, culture, entertainment and history intersect.
Adopted in February 2015, the Rock Renaissance Area Redevelopment and Implementation Strategy (ARISE) presents well-articulated redevelopment strategies for downtown Janesville. The ARISE Plan is the City's playbook for action when working with developers, land owners, elected officials, and businesses downtown.
Phase 1 transformation of the ARISE Plan is the creation of the Town Square in the heart of downtown Janesville. The Town Square will consist of amenities such as a pedestrian bridge, riverwalks that celebrate the Rock River, a Great Lawn gathering space and a festival street. Contingent upon funding, the City intends to complete the Town Square by 2020. Please click here to view the planned projects that will occur each year, ultimately culminating in completion of the Town Square.

Together with our partner organizations, Downtown Janesville, Inc. (DJI) and Forward Janesville (FJI), we are exploring new ways to draw a consistent and sustainable critical mass of people to the downtown. For example, we are:

  • Actively recruiting destination businesses and activities
  • Completing comprehensive signage for downtown
  • Considering gateway signage
  • Adding cameras to various alleys and intersections to promote safety

In 2014, Janesville became a Connect Community. This program is offered through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). As a Connect Community, community members have access to Main Street training events, webinars and resources at WEDC. An annual report on the business and real estate activity occurring in the downtown over the previous year is required. As David Osborne and Ted Gaebler say in Reinventing Government, "What gets measured gets done." With the implementation of the ARISE plan, pre-demolition of the parking plaza, and adoption of the downtown TID, the following related business activity and related job numbers serve as a base line comparison as implementation of ARISE progresses.

Downtown Revitalization - Public and Private Investment

We are creating a range of funding tools to encourage, facilitate, and leverage private investment in the downtown.
In 2014, the Downtown Revolving Loan Fund was created to in partnership with five area banks: Blackhawk Bank, Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Johnson Bank, BMO Harris, and First National Bank & Trust. For more information regarding this program, terms and conditions, please visit:
A comprehensive downtown Tax Increment District (TID No. 36) was created on May 23, 2016 to facilitate downtown revitalization efforts. The Common Council adopted File Resolution No. 2016-1294 to aid the implementation of major infrastructure improvements and redevelopment opportunities outlined in the ARISE plan. For more information on how tax increment financing works, visit the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

For more information on the City's downtown revitalization efforts, please visit