Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Alliant Energy Center Users Say Facility Helps Make Dane County Special

June 13, 2017
County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan: 608.333.2285
County Board

Survey during Brat Fest shows support for festivals, trade shows, concerts, sports


Nearly 90 percent of Brat Fest attendees polled during the recent festival say events at the Alliant Energy Center are important to the high quality of life in Dane County.


With a key decision pending later in 2017 on whether to proceed with a master plan for the  redevelopment of the 164-acre AEC grounds, officials from the city, county and tourism bureau gathered public input throughout the World’s Largest Brat Fest.


Visitors to the four-day Brat Fest were asked a variety of questions regarding the future of the county-owned AEC using Polco, a Madison-based interactive web-based polling platform. Polco allows elected officials to post questions directly to citizens and receive insightful, reliable data to drive local policy decisions.


“This was a great first step in getting some real feedback from real people who were already enjoying the Alliant Energy Center,” said Sup. Richard Kilmer of Madison, whose district abuts the AEC properties on Madison’s south side.


The Dane County Board created the AEC Comprehensive Master Plan Oversight Committee in 2016 and has since retained Vandewalle & Associates to develop a vision and guide a public engagement process over the next six months.  


“The Board has made it clear to us that getting input from as many stakeholders as possible is crucial before moving forward on more comprehensive plan,” said Ashley Robertson, a planner with Vandewalle.


Of the more than 100 Brat Fest attendees polled, most said they visited the AEC three to five times a year, with festivals and trade shows the main draw followed by concerts and sporting events.


In terms of what function the facility plays, 66 percent of respondents said contributing to the quality of life; 12 percent said drawing visitors to the area and 5 percent said generating tax revenues. When asked what would make them visit the AEC more frequently, 36 percent of respondents said a walkable district feel.


One written comment on the center said it was “convenient and easy to get to.” Another person said “if the AEC was updated, it would again draw the big events.”


A county-commissioned study earlier this year from Hunden Strategic Partners suggested the Alliant Energy Center campus be redeveloped to create a “village feel,” while renovating and expanding existing structures including the Dane County Coliseum.  If fully redeveloped, Hunden said the center could grow more than 1700 new jobs in the community  and bring more visitors to boost the local economy.


 “The question now is whether we move forward with a full-scale master plan,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan of Middleton. “By working with Vandewalle and Polco throughout the summer we hope to collect as much public feedback as we can.”


Citizens who want to weigh in can become active users at any time by visiting and answering the Polco survey questions linked to the site. Polco’s platform is available via web, mobile, email or any place citizens find Polco e-ballot’s online.