By Dave Fidlin


A nationally recognized startup company known for intermingling crowd-sourcing technology with political poling will soon be headquartered in Whitewater as part of a plan announced recently.

To help facilitate the transition, the city’s Community Development Authority on May 26 voted to issue a grant and loan to the company, POLCO, which plans to occupy space within the Innovation Center once the move is complete.

The deal between POLCO and the CDA includes a $10,000 capital catalyst grant and a $100,000 capital catalyst royalty investment loan. Funds will be disbursed to the company as they become available.

Capital catalyst funding is administered to municipalities through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The program is designed to spur economic growth opportunities in communities across the state.

POLCO contracts with various levels of government — including counties and municipalities — and is designed to gauge residents’ reactions to specific issues impacting a locale or region.

“I feel it’s a nice project and brings a lot of potential,” CDA Executive Director Patrick Cannon said of POLCO’s business model.

In other recent business, the CDA:

  • Discussed the ongoing search for a new potential full-service grocery store after Sentry shut its doors late last year, leaving Whitewater without a retailer in that category.

The city has been working with an outside consultant, Perkins Marketing Company, in searching for prospective companies, business models and locations for a new grocer.

Cannon at the recent CDA meeting said Perkins completed the report, and it includes several specific locations that could be well suited for a grocer. None of those sites were discussed at the meeting.

Plans call for a Perkins representative to appear before the CDA at an upcoming meeting to discuss the company’s findings in greater detail. In the meantime, the CDA plans to begin sending out letters to corporations with details of the report as a proactive next step.

Speaking to the report and its findings, Cannon said, “It’s not going to do any good sitting on my shelf.”

  • Approved a plan to hire an economic development specialist for the CDA. Thomas Harrigan, who held the position, resigned recently.

The timeline discussed includes advertising for the position and interviewing candidates before announcing Harrigan’s successor.

  • Backed a plan to amend when the CDA will meet each month. In an effort to accommodate all members’ schedules, the group will revert back to a plan of meeting the fourth Wednesday of each month.

In the past year, the CDA had been meeting the fourth Thursday of each month.

  • Approved a development agreement with Whitewater AAP, LLC, the legal entity that plans to operate a new Advance Auto Parts store at the site of the former Mobil gas station at 1184 W. Main St.

The CDA’s action came on the heels of the Common Council’s backing of the agreement.

  • Approved a plan to contract with a company, Sign-a-Rama, to install for-sale signs on property available within the Whitewater Business Park.

The CDA’s contract with Sign-a-Rama for its services has been capped at $5,000.



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