By proclamation, Governor Scott Walker declared August 22, 2017 Wisconsin Main Street Day. The day included the announcement of the newest Wisconsin Main Street Program participant, Milwaukee’s Historic King Drive, as well as celebrations and ribbon-cuttings in 11 other communities: Ashland, De Pere, Fond du Lac, La Crosse, Port Washington, Princeton, Ripon, Shullsburg, Tomah, Viroqua and Wausau.
Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch began the day in Port Washington to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Chocolate Chisel, an artisan chocolate shop and ice cream parlor. She also presented them with their Made in Wisconsin plaque recognizing the company’s contribution to the state’s reputation for quality craftsmanship. The Lt. Governor next traveled to Wausau to celebrate the reopening of an expanded Downtown Grocery. Two years ago, the downtown destination suffered a devastating fire, but through a crowdfunding initiative and community support they are reopening to serve residents in the Downtown Wausau River District. Her third stop of the day took her to the banks of the Mississippi River to recognize the opening of the first phase of the Belle Square development in downtown La Crosse. This mixed-use development, when complete, will feature 93 upscale residences, a 110,000-square-foot office tower and 30,000 square feet of retail space. Lt. Governor Kleefisch wrapped up Wisconsin Main Street Day in Ashland to announce the awarding of a $250,000 Community Development Investment (CDI) Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) for the development of a new, 51-room hotel on the western edge of downtown.
WEDC Board Chair Lisa Mauer officially welcomed Historic King Drive BID No. 8 into the Wisconsin Main Street Program. The organization completed an extensive application in April and was recommended for inclusion into the program by the Wisconsin Main Street Selection Committee in May. As a new program, Historic King Drive will receive intensive training and coaching from Wisconsin Main Street staff and national thought leaders in historic commercial district development as it works to engage Milwaukee residents in creating a thriving district. Historic King Drive Director Deshea Agee shared his excitement with being a part of the program: “As we work toward bringing new businesses and creating more vibrancy in the commercial district, the Wisconsin Main Street Program will provide valuable tools and resources. We want Milwaukee’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to be the best of the nearly 900 King Drives in the nation.”
Other highlights from the day included:
- Advance Shullsburg’s celebration of the opening of Crooked Canvas Coffee Shop;
- announcement in Viroqua of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to WEDC for assisting rural businesses;
- groundbreaking of a $26 million hotel renovation in downtown Fond du Lac;
- ribbon-cutting for the 102 on Broadway in downtown De Pere; and
- announcement of the creation of a new Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District in downtown Ripon.
Amy Hansen, executive director of the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, concluded, “We are very excited to be part of Wisconsin Main Street Day. Our momentum on Main Street grows every day.”