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Janesville Eyes Redevelopment Opportunity At Closed GM Plant

Paul Ryan Working With UAW, GM To Facilitate Reuse

Cliff (CC-BY)

The United Auto Workers are voting on a contract Friday that includes a provision permanently closing the General Motors plant in Janesville. Local government officials say it opens the door to finding new companies to build on the site.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, whose district includes Janesville, said he’s been working closely with GM’s CEO, Mary Barra and UAW officers to insure the shuttered plant can play a new role in the region’s economic future.

“Right now it’s a 4-million-square-foot dust collector and we have to — we meaning Janesville, Rock County — has to get possession of the property so that we can redevelop the property and bring some good paying jobs,” Ryan said.

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Janesville city spokeswoman Maggie Hrdlicka said the city’s economic development team is ready to work with GM in salvaging the plant buildings and looking for new industrial tenants.

“We’re really moving the economy forward and not just going to be so reliant on one industry or one business in the future,” said Hrdlicka.

There were 5,000 workers at the GM plant in 2008, the year before the company stopped production of SUVs there.