WTMJ-TV (Milwaukee) — Sheboygan hopes to break ground this year on its planned FreshTech Innovation District near the lakefront.

The innovation district isn’t a new idea. City leaders first began the necessary planning and work to set up a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District to fund FreshTech approximately two years ago, according to Chad Pelishek, the city’s director of planning and development.

Pelishek said the planned hub of the district will be a four-story building at 10th & Indiana on a plot of land that’s currently owned by the redevelopment authority.

Pelishek said local leaders hope to break ground on the building sometime in 2020.

Nick O’Brien, FreshTech’s director of innovation and engagement, said the plan is for that building to eventually be used by various local businesses. O’Brien said the goal is for the building at 10th & Indiana to spark further economic growth in Sheboygan County as innovative companies work in close quarters with one another.

But O’Brien said he hopes programming at the FreshTech district will also help draw in individuals who might be working on small-scale projects and not affiliated with one of the area’s large companies. O’Brien said while planning continues on the building and infrastructure portion of the project he’s working on developing the programming that will spur activity and growth in the FreshTech Innovation District once it’s operating. He likened the importance of programming to the importance of the software that powers a computer.

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