Janesville hopes to attract visitors with TV appearance

City to be featured on 'Discover Wisconsin'

JANESVILLE, Wis. - For many interstate travelers, Janesville is a more of a pit stop rather than a destination, but the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau hopes to change that with an appearance on the TV show "Discover Wisconsin."

The show airs in seven Midwestern states and targets potential travelers. An episode being shot later this year will feature Janesville.

Business owner Anthony Urlakis said he hopes an appearance on "Discover Wisconsin" will help attract visitors to Janesville.

"We could use the little boost," Urlakis said.

Christine Rebout, with the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the episode will highlight things such as the art exhibits at the Lincoln Tallman House, year-round activities available at the Rotary Botanical Gardens and landmarks such as the Armory, a historic site turned restaurant.

"We'll have a whole episode to go in depth about the Janesville community and all the amazing things to see and do here," Rebout said.

Rebout said the money will come from the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's marketing budget and will take three years to pay off.

"The majority of our budget is room tax. When someone stays in a Janesville hotel, a portion of that comes back to the Convention and Visitors Bureau," Rebout said.

The episode is scheduled to air three times during the show's 2014-2015 season. She said the $36,000 they are spending is an investment.


"Other things that a 'Discovery Wisconsin' contract includes is a presence on their website, which has a lot of depth and really drives people to take a look at what's going on. We'll also be featured on their radio program that airs throughout the Midwest," Rebout said.

Many in the Armory's lunch crowd agreed that appearing on "Discovery Wisconsin" could make a difference, including 50-year Janesville resident Nancy Kimball.

"I talked to a lot of different people, and they'll say, 'I've seen Janesville. I've passed through Janesville.' But if you're on TV and they hear about it, maybe they'll stop and explore," Kimball said.

Urlakis said the travelers could help the local economy.

"When General Motors left Janesville, it hurt the economy, and I think it still has an effect on the economy," Urlakis said.

The last time Janesville was on "Discover Wisconsin" was in 2009 and it was only as a part of a segment showcasing all of Rock County. Janesville's ice age trail will be profiled on an episode in April. The episode featuring the city won't air until 2014.

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