Council OKs allocating $12.4M in federal stimulus funds for innovation, technology projects – Kenosha News


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Council OKs allocating $12.4M in federal stimulus funds for innovation, technology projects

A proposed youth leadership and career readiness center and a technology-focused high school for Kenosha’s Innovation Neighborhood are among 11 projects that could benefit from the first portion of federal stimulus funding the city has received.

Earlier this year, the city received just over $13.2 million, the first of two such allocations of American Rescue Plan Act funding to support local governments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government is expected to release a second allocation of a similar amount to the city next year, according to Mayor John Antaramian.



On Monday, the council unanimously approved the use of nearly $12.4 million of the initial allocation to fund the career and high school projects. The remaining $800,000 would be carried over into the next year when the city receives the second payment, Antaramian said.

About $8.8 million, or nearly 71 percent of the funding, would go toward economic development and education and job training for youth.

Planned projects include $3.75 million to remodel the former Brown Bank building and fund programming in the city’s Uptown district. The building is proposed to be transformed as a center that, with the help local colleges, and other community partners, will provide leadership, financial literacy, job training programs, and assistance and resources for educational and career pursuits.

LakeView Academy relocation?

About $1.3 million is proposed to go toward laying the groundwork for a technology-centered high school in the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood, a proposed $1 billion project that aims to revitalize the 107-acre Chrysler site. In the spring, the city and Kenosha Unified officials confirmed they were in talks to incorporate LakeView Technology Academy into the proposed site. Antaramian said discussions continue.

Similarly, Tanya Ruder, spokeswoman for Kenosha Unified, said the district, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and Gateway Technical College “continue to explore opportunities to secure a new home for LakeView Technology Academy.” The academy is currently located at 9449 88th Ave. in Pleasant Prairie.

Tanya Ruder 2019


“The current site has served the school incredibly well and it’s time to identify a new location with potential to accommodate future growth,” said Ruder. The KIN site, is one opportunity. She said, however, that “work remains to ensure the financial feasibility of constructing a new facility.”

About $1.25 million is proposed to go toward a K-8 Library program in Uptown to teach reading skills to youth in the neighborhood, as well as those in Lincoln, Columbus, McKinley, Wilson and Roosevelt — central city districts that surround the proposed innovation neighborhood.

Another $2.5 million is earmarked for the design and construction costs for the first multi-tenant incubator/accelerator building for the innovation neighborhood project.

“It will be a bigger facility than that, but this is just a piece of what we are looking to do,” said Antaramian. “We are seeding a lot of these projects (with stimulus funds) to get these young people in positions to start being able to look at how we can improve education, opportunities to start their own businesses and work with them in a number of different ways so they can succeed.”

KN VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Mayor John Antaramian discusses the vision for the Kenosha Innovation Neighborhood project which is proposed to be developed at the 107-acre, former Chrysler Engine Plant site, east of 30th Avenue between 52nd and 60th streets, during an interview with Kenosha News reporter Terry Flores on Dec. 16, 2020. Julie Huls, consultant with the Waymaker Group, which specializes in transformative economic development appears via video conference. City project manager Ed St. Peter, hired to oversee the billion-dollar innovation project, as well as, the Downtown Vision plan, also attends.

Terry Flores

Other projects allocated stimulus funding include:

$1 million toward one-time payments for front-line personnel who have frequent contact with the public and have higher potential for exposure to COVID-19.

$450,000 contracted services to provide mental health screening and support services to police and fire staff and other employees as time permits.

$270,000 to contract with a project manager to oversee implementation of the SiFi/Broadband installation and initiate Smart Cities programming.

$1.3 million for hardware and software upgrades to cyber security and to protect against ransomware threats.

$270,000 contracted or short term accounting assistance to track and monitor federal stimulus funding encumbrances, dissemination and follow-up reporting and

$300,000 in funding to televise stormwater infrastructure in the “Gerhard” flood control project and along with needed lateral conflict repairs.

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