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The Rock County Health Department received a $150,000 grant to work with the City of Janesville to improve the health of Janesville residents by identifying the health concerns of citizens and using these health concerns to guide redevelopment strategies of abandoned or underused industrial or commercial properties. The presence of old and abandoned buildings can have a number of negative health impacts, including:
- Lower property values
- Poor housing conditions
- Limited access to healthy foods, recreation, medical care and other services
- High crime
- Health problems such as lead poisoning and asthma
- Lower life expectancy
By fixing up old buildings and attracting new businesses, Janesville will benefit from more jobs and more money for schools, roads and social programs. Neighborhoods will improve. Health will improve.
For more information about the City of Janesville’s Comprehensive Brownfields Program, visit the City of Janesville Redevelopment Program webpage.
Please fill out the form below if you would like to contribute or would like more information.
We have been busy gathering baseline data for the priority community health issues, so we can measure changes, good and bad, over time. It is still a work in progress, as not all of the data have been gathered yet, but here is a report with our work to date.
You can view a data summary of our river use survey, and a poster with some information about the water quality testing we did on the Rock River from May to September 2013. You can also look at maps showing all downtown restaurants and retail food outlets, and downtown vacant storefronts.
In addition, the City of Janesville has hired the SAA Design Group as their consultant for the Rock Renaissance Redevelopment & Implementation Strategy. They will be holding public meetings to gather ideas for the enhancement of the riverfront and downtown Janesville. For more information and stay up-to-date with their project, visit http://www.saa-madison.com/cc/janesville/overview.
April 16, 2013 Community Meeting
The Health Department met with 14 community organizations to obtain feedback from community members regarding what community health issues are important to them and what changes people would like to see happen in Janesville. On April 16, 2013, the Health Department held a public workshop to share this feedback and hear any additional thoughts people wanted to add.
Participants at the community event were also asked which health issues they felt were most important and which redevelopment ideas they liked the most. Some of the important health issues selected included:
- Hard to eat healthy/need education about balanced diets
- Limited resources for mental health care/counseling
- Janesville has a poor image and lacks a strong sense of community
- The river needs to be accentuated/promoted as central to the city
And some of the favorite redevelopment ideas people selected included:
- Year-round Farmers Market
- Community campaigns to bring people downtown
- Remove steep retaining walls around the river and replace with graduated walls/stairs/landscaping
- Create a kayaking course along the river
- Clean up and fix up rundown buildings
To see the complete list of the 34 community health issues, and the numerous and creative redevelopment ideas, view the May 2013 (Re)Energize Janesville report (594KB).