The City of Park Falls is receiving a $250,000 state grant to help finance the renovation and expansion of an existing lodging facility into a rebranded hotel.
The Community Development Investment Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) will support the remodeling of a historic facility into a 50-room Cobblestone Hotel & Suites.
A study commissioned by the Park Falls Area Community Development Corporation (PFACDC) determined that the entire northern part of Wisconsin has a severe deficit of quality lodging options. Since tourism represents a significant portion of the Park Falls economy, city officials believe this project has significant potential to build the capacity of the Park Falls area in tourism, business, climate, job creation and the general reputation of the area.
The $3.6 million project is projected to create 14 jobs and is expected to be completed at the end of the year.
“The new Cobblestone Hotel & Suites will not only address a gap in lodging services in Price County but will also create jobs and encourage future economic growth in Park Falls,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development corporation. “WEDC is committed to working with communities throughout Wisconsin as they invest in high-quality infrastructure and services to enhance their business districts.”
Cobblestone Hotels LLC builds, owns, operates and franchises a chain of hotels for leisure guests and business travelers, filling the lodging needs of many smaller communities by introducing this upper mid-scale, all-new-build brand. The company was founded in 2007 and is currently based in Neenah.
“I am pleased that our efforts to secure this grant have been successful,” Park Falls Mayor Michael Bablick said. “We will continue to try and advance the project. The city has been aggressively moving forward since April 2019 to spur new investment and improve the business climate.”
The Park Falls area has a significant number of manufacturers, including Phillips and Prentice, and many domestic and international clients travel to Price County to tour operations or for business meetings. The lack of quality hotels has been a consistent concern for these manufacturers and businesses. In addition, Flambeau Hospital in Park Falls employs many traveling professionals who are also in need of quality lodging.
The city and PFACDC believe private investment will be stimulated to the degree that the new project will attract more people to stay in Park Falls. In all, the project is expected to increase the tax base of Park Falls by more than 1% and increase revenues to all tax jurisdictions by $94,500 per year.
This project is not only remodeling a historic facility, but expanding it from 30 rooms to 50. The project is at the south end of the city, and plans for bike races, ATV and snowmobiling activities, seaplane festivals and further promotion of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are all in development in anticipation of the new hotel.
“I applaud the efforts of everyone in Park Falls who advocates for new ways to improve the community, as well as the State of Wisconsin for this much-needed investment,” state Rep. Beth Meyers said. “This project has significant potential to grow tourism, outdoor activities and business development for the already dynamic Park Falls area.”
WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need and use of sustainable downtown development practices.
Since the program’s inception in 2013, WEDC has awarded more than $30 million in Community Development Investment Grants to over 100 communities for projects expected to generate more than $500 million in capital investments statewide.