MAKING THE ALLIANT ENERGY CENTER A CATALYST FOR TOMORROW
The Alliant Energy Center is a vital community asset serving the needs of Dane County residents and visitors from far and wide. It’s a powerful economic engine drawing more than 750,000 attendees annually with events like the World Dairy Expo and CrossFit generating economic impacts of more the $31.8 million and $8.6 million, respectively, with even the more regionally oriented events like the Great Wisconsin Quilt Show generating impacts of more than $1.5 million. However, equally important are the numerous consumer shows, sports, festivals, and entertainment events enjoyed by Dane County and other nearby residents. It’s truly a community gathering space that serves a multitude of needs for the benefit of all our residents.
COVID hit the Alliant Energy Center hard. Nevertheless, while most public events in 2020 and 2021 were canceled, the Center played a critical role in our community’s pandemic response by hosting drive-through COVID testing and vaccinations. It also served as a safe staging and distribution center for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin and the Dane County Farmer’s Market to get food out to those in need while also supporting the farmers.
With the pandemic behind us, the Center is bouncing back quickly with the reintroduction of familiar events and the addition of several new ones. We also welcomed Adam Heffron as our new Executive Director last fall. He brings with him more than 30 years of experience in the convening and events industry and has had a very busy year working with the Center staff to get things up and running again along with addressing some long overdue deferred maintenance in several of our facilities. He also led the County’s efforts to secure the Alliant Energy Center as the home for the World Dairy Expo for at least the next five years and beyond.
In addition, Dane County ‘s Alliant Energy Center Redevelopment Committee has been called back into action, which I now chair with Alder Isadore Knox serving as vice-chair. The Committee is developing an ambitious work plan to guide improvements on the Campus. A big part of our current work is updating a pre-pandemic market analysis and master plan so that the Center can remain financially strong in a rapidly evolving marketplace. The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and the findings and recommendations will be shared with the community in a forum shortly thereafter. In the meantime, we recently held a meeting with residents in the area around the Center to understand how we can be a better neighbor. Further, in mid-October we will be meeting with leaders of several community organizations to discuss how we can create synergies and partnerships with the investments being made in the South Park Street Corridor as well as how the Center can create greater economic, educational, and entertainment opportunities for underrepresented communities. Input from both of these meetings will be used in preparing the updated market study and master plan.
Both Alder Knox and I also serve on the Destination District Task Force – an ad hoc group with public and private representatives focused on creating a vibrant convening district with a southside lakefront park, welcoming residents and visitors to an inclusive place for events and daily family fun in the area around the Alliant Energy Center and connecting it to the adjoining neighborhoods for the benefit of all of South Madison and the entire region. Although separate from the Alliant Redevelopment Committee, the genesis of the Task Force was the Alliant Energy Center Vision and Strategy that identified the need to better integrate the Center with its surroundings.
The entire Redevelopment Committee and I are excited to get the Campus Redevelopment process moving again.
If you haven't already, sign up to get our newsletter to appear in your inbox quarterly. The Redevelopment Committee holds regular meetings on the third Monday of even-numbered months from 11:30 am-1:00 pm at the Center and on-line. The public is welcomed and encouraged to attend. Check the website for meeting details.
Dane County District 23 Supervisor
Chair, Alliant Energy Center Redevelopment Committee
About this website
This website contains documents and information that have been developed over the past ten years regarding the planning and future options for the Alliant Energy Center. Building from these past efforts, the County Board created the Alliant Energy Center Redevelopment Committee in 2018 to guide funding and governance for improvements to the campus grounds and facilities.