Dane County Board of Supervisors favors creating a Master Planning Process to revive an aging Alliant Energy Center while the county executive is already soliciting proposals.

Supervisors and county executive Joe Parisi have previously been at odds over the degree to which public funds should be used for AEC improvements. The dispute now centers around how the county should approach finding and coordinating private investment for future development. Parisi’s office issued a request for proposal for private development around the campus Monday, but supervisors believe more research must be done.

The RFP identifies four areas where developers may make improvements. Josh Wescott, Parisi’s chief of staff, said the RFP offers significant latitude to potential developers in terms of land use. He said the main expectation is for the RFP to generate interest and a variety of ideas for future development that would require little county investment.

County can afford plans to improve Alliant Center, officials saidOfficials disagreed with county executive Joe Parisi’s insistence the county cannot afford to redevelop the aging Alliant Energy Center. Dane County Read…

With these proposals, Wescott said Parisi hopes the county government will back away from making a $127 million investment in a new coliseum. He said the request is appealing to businesses because all of the environmental surveying required for development has been completed by the county.

“This is a central gathering point for a lot of people,” Wescott said. “We think the business community will have a great deal of interest in the AEC.”

While Parisi’s recognition of the need for private investment in new development is commendable, county board chairwoman Sharon Corrigan said these businesses will likely wait until the county conducts its market study as part of the Master Planning Process. She said whatever ideas do come forward will have to go through the proposed process.

Parisi’s office is hoping for action and does not believe further studies are necessary, citing four previous AEC reports.

The new research, Corrigan said, would build off these previous studies and provide more useful data. Corrigan said the market study would determine the inherent strengths of the AEC and how best to develop and market them.

In the past, the biggest difference between Parisi and the county board has been the magnitude of public funding required to renovate the AEC. Corrigan said now the greatest divide between the board and executive has been one of design.

“Its less of the public dollars being an issue and more of how we get to deciding what we put out there,” Corrigan said.

Instead of a piecemeal approach of issuing broad RFPs, as Parisi has done, Corrigan said the plan will allow the county to more efficiently direct investment in AEC projects. In addition, the plan will allow for greater input from the business, environmental and local community.