MADISON -- A bill that would empower the Town of Cable, WI to redevelop the Telemark Ski Lodge, home of the Birkebeiner ski race, passed the Assembly on Tuesday in a bipartisan vote.
Assembly Bill 600, authored by Representative Romaine Quinn (R-Rice Lake), gives the Town of Cable the ability to create a Tax Incremental District (TID) in order to fund the redevelopment of the Telemark property and reinvigorate the area’s tourism industry. “This important bill gives the Town of Cable the ability to leverage private dollars in order to redevelop this historic and world-renowned property,” said Rep. Quinn.
Under current law, any town may create a TID if it has a population of 3500 and the equalized value of all taxable property in the town is at least $500 million. Cable is seeking an exemption to these requirements, which must be granted by the Legislature.
Redevelopment of the Telemark property would have significant economic impacts on northern Wisconsin. Representatives from the town and surrounding area testified to the importance of attracting tourists year-round. James Bolen, executive director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means, “The Telemark Resort project would… deliver over 120 full time and another 40 to 60 part-time jobs to Northwest Wisconsin.” He added that the project is expected to “deliver an additional $25 million yearly in direct visitor spending to the region.”
The bill had strong bipartisan support, with both Republican and Democratic elected officials testifying in support. “We had to work hard to get everyone to the table, but the result is a strong bill that has support from both sides of the aisle,” said Rep. Quinn.
He said he hoped the Senate would take up the bill in their February floor session and send it to the Governor’s desk quickly. “As Wisconsin’s economy continues to improve, it’s important that every part of the state has the opportunity to build on our success – giving Cable the power to redevelop Telemark is a major part of that economic growth. Although Cable isn’t in my district, I’ll continue to advocate for economic development all across northern Wisconsin.”