Plans announced for $30 million investment to Janesville's riverfront

General Motors legacy center to invest 30 million into Janesville's riverfront

JANESVILLE, Wis. - Changes are coming to the riverfront in Janesville.

On Friday, plans for a legacy center to honor the more than 90 years General Motors spent in the city were revealed at The Venue. 

The $30 million investment initiative will revitalize downtown Janesville, according to a press release from Blackhawk Community Credit Union. 

The legacy center will be a tourist destination, home to pieces of Janesville and General Motors history. 

The development won't just be home to the legacy center, however. It will become the new headquarters for Blackhawk Community Credit Union, which was founded by General Motors employees.

"The credit union started in the plant," Dona Dutcher, who will be the curator of the legacy center. "It was started by two guys on the assembly line. That's our legacy. So it's neat for us to be able to continue to do that legacy."

Former General Motors employees were in attendance during Friday's announcement, including Gary Mawhinney, who now is working to find more historic artifacts for the legacy center to display.

"The plant is gone," said Mawhinney, who worked at General Motors for 30 years. "One day, the workers will be gone too. The vehicles will be our legacy."

"The plant's coming down," said Dutcher. "The smokestack that's been on the horizon for almost 100 years is going to disappear. The legacy is the people."

The legacy center project is just one project happening along the riverfront in downtown Janesville, and city leaders are optimistic things are headed in the right direction.

"I've been fortunate enough to work for a number of communities in my career," said Janesville Economic Development Director Gale Price. "I have never seen momentum in one community like this. It's phenomenal."

The legacy center will take the place of Bee Line Wheel Alignment on Water St. in Janesville. The area around the development will be renamed SOCO, which stands for south of Court Street

Construction will start in 2019 and will be finished in 2021. 

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