With nothing but the barest bones of the former St. Croix Meadows Dog Track behind them, Gov. Scott Walker joined developers and local representatives Tuesday, July 3, to recognize a $500,000 redevelopment grant for the site.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation's idle sites grant, accepted by the Hudson Common Council in May, will help fund demolition, including the complete tear-down of the old building.
Walker said the grant is designed for projects like this site, which has sat vacant since the dog track closed in 2001.
"You've got all this growth, you've got all this excitement, you've got all this new development and then you had this site that was sitting idle," Walker said.
The grant is used sparingly, Walker said, with only four in total this year.
Developer Klint Klaas said the grant is significant to help start the about $200 million project.
"You can imagine the cost, the effort, the energy, the work that goes into something like this," Klaas said.
In the old track's place will be the new Hudson Gateway development. The 130-acre site will house a Northwoods League baseball stadium, hotel, indoor sports complex, brewery, condos and corporate office space.
"For far too long this project has sat vacant and now we are bringing life to it," Klaas said.
The project will create more than 1,000 jobs in the city - specifically technical and professional jobs, Mayor Rich O'Connor said.
"I've always said I want to keep our kids staying here in Hudson when they come back from school," he said.
The city has designated the area a tax increment district. O'Connor said it will have a large impact on the city's tax base, increasing the tax contribution from the property to the city from about $25,000 to $1 million.
"This is one of the things that makes being mayor very fun and very rewarding," O'Connor said.
The project will be completed in two phases. The first phase, including the baseball stadium, is set for a 2019 completion. The second phase will likely be completed by 2021.
Klaas said announcements on tenants will be made in the coming weeks or months.