Demolition underway on former dog racing park

Demolition is underway on the former St. Croix Meadows Greyhound Racing Park, where the Hudson area could get as many as 1,000 new jobs as part of a multi-use development.

Gov. Scott Walker recently announced a $500,000 state grant supporting the project. The old dog track is being torn down to make room for a $200 million development, including a collegiate summer league baseball stadium.

“This project has the potential to make a significant economic impact on the region by attracting new businesses, new residents and thousands of visitors to St. Croix County and western Wisconsin,” Walker said.

Plans for development include a hotel and conference center, office buildings, space for research, an indoor sports complex and condominiums. The new baseball stadium will be home for the St. Croix River Hounds. The team starts playing in the Northwoods League in 2019.

Construction of the field, offices and restaurant are planned to finish in 2019. The overall project is expected to be finished by 2022. Per the release from Walker’s office, it would add $200 million in value to the land, and create 1,000 new jobs.

The track closed down in 2001, and the 130-acre site has been vacant since then. Hudson Mayor Rich O’Connor notes the property has been “idle and vacant” for nearly two-thirds of its history.

“The demolition and rebirth of this development has ushered in a newfound excitement to many of our citizens who have felt that the property had been a missed opportunity for years,” he said.

Developer Klint Klaas, head of Hudson Gateway LLC, is one of six owners of the St. Croix River Hounds. He’s also a former minor league player for the Astros. He predicts the site will become “the premier site for business and entertainment in western Wisconsin.”

The $500,000 grant comes from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s Idle Sites Redevelopment Program, which has supported projects like these in the state since 2013. In all, 18 of these grants have gone to 24 communities, and are expected to create more than 6,000 jobs and have a $600 million economic impact.

–By Alex Moe