30th Wisconsin Main Street Awards honor best downtown revitalization projects

MADISON, WI. April. 21, 2021 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recognized the best downtown revitalization projects of 2020 at the 30th Wisconsin Main Street Awards ceremony Wednesday, held virtually through dozens of socially distanced “watch parties” across the state.

“The projects our state’s Main Street programs develop help our small businesses innovate and thrive even a during a pandemic,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Successful Main Street programs bring the whole community together through partnerships with businesses, government and WEDC. From historic preservation to new business development, these projects keep Wisconsin’s main streets vital.”

Wisconsin Main Street is a community development program administered by WEDC that targets Wisconsin’s historic commercial districts. WEDC provides technical support and training to the 35 Main Street communities to help them revitalize their business districts based on guidelines developed by the National Main Street Center.

Since the program’s inception in 1987, Wisconsin Main Street community projects have resulted in the creation of more than 2,800 new businesses and more than 15,000 net new jobs. In addition, more than $2.1 billion in public and private investment has occurred in Wisconsin Main Street communities.

During fiscal year 2020, despite suffering one of the most dramatic economic declines in recent history, Wisconsin Main Street communities were responsible for the creation of an estimated 245 net new jobs and 71 net new businesses in the state.

More than 30,000 volunteer hours were dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities around the state. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every Main Street community provided some type of cooperative marketing, financial incentives, or resources to help businesses and residents.

Also represented at today’s virtual event were members of WEDC’s Connect Communities Program, a companion program to Wisconsin Main Street created in 2013 to provide access to resources and training to help communities pursue revitalization and redevelopment efforts. Over the years, 115 participating communities have added 455 net new businesses, welcomed more than 1,773 net new jobs and attracted more than $2.8 billion in public and private investment.

2020 competitive award-winning projects and programs were:

Best COVID Response

Honorable Mention: Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership and City of Fond du Lac

Winner: Definitely De Pere and City of De Pere

Staff Choice Award

Winner: Alexandria Binanti – Kenosha

Best Public-Private Partnership

Winner: Beloit College and City of Beloit – Powerhouse Riverwalk

Best New Building

Winner: Graham Sweet Shoppe – Tigerton

Best Creative Fundraising Effort

Winner: Ice Castle Snow Globes – Eagle River

Best Business Success Story

Winner: Barber Rich’s Barbershop – Omro

Best Public Improvement Project

Honorable Mention: Electrical Box Art Project – Chippewa Falls

Winner: Sharp Corner Park – Watertown

Best Storefront Display

Winner: House to Home Designs – Monroe

Diversity and Inclusion Award

Winner: Carmyn Hoen, Kayley McColley, Miah Medina, Christine Salm, Jaxon Seeger and Gwen Taylor – Wausau

Best Downtown Revitalization Initiative – Connect Communities Over 12,000

Co-Winner: Notes at Night – Stevens Point Alliance-Downtown

Co-Winner: East Side Art Lot – East Side BID – Milwaukee

Best Downtown Revitalization Initiative – Connect Communities Under 12,000

Co-Winner: Elite Smiles Dental – Little Chute

Co-Winner: Presidential Plaza Plan – Cuba City

Best Interior Renovation Over $50,000

Co-Winner: Haute the Luxe Bridal and Beauty House – Beloit

Co-Winner: The Deming Building – Marshfield

Best New Business

Co-Winner: Lucky Cow Coffee & Gelato – Darlington

Co-Winner: Donut Sam’s – Menomonie

Best Special Event

Winner: Dining on the Street – Wausau River District

Best Business Retention Effort

Winner: Friends of Farmer’s Wife – Omro

Best Retail Event

Honorable Mention: Main Street LIVE! – Monroe

Winner: Shop Small Sundays – La Crosse

Best Façade Rehab Under $20,000

Winner: The Chic Boutique (113 E. Main Street) – Watertown

Best Volunteer Engagement

Winner: Rotary Square Beautification Project – Ripon

Best Image Item/Campaign/Event

Winner: Keep the Cheer Here Campaign – Osceola

Best Façade Rehab Over $20,000

Winner: Saks Holdings LLC – 101 S. Broadway – De Pere

Best Cooperative Business Marketing

Honorable Mention: Downtown Racine Holiday Gift Guide Campaign – Racine

Winner: She Shop Hop – Beloit

Best Interior Renovation Under $50,000

Winner: Hannah and Austin McCourt – Badger Bros. Coffee – Platteville

Best Adaptive Reuse Project

Co-Winner: Hayes Family Auto Dealership – Watertown

Co-Winner: Beloit College Powerhouse – Beloit

Best Historic Restoration

Winner: Historic Mapes Hotel – Ripon

Wisconsin Main Street Hall of Fame 2020 Inductee

Marilyn Hill – Darlington

Individuals recognized for exemplary service included:

Executive Director Years of Service Awards

Brian Johnson – On Broadway – Green Bay (5 years)

Martha Geiseman – Eagle River (5 years)

Melissa Lampe – Watertown (5 years)

Roger Russove – Two Rivers (5 years)

Shauna El-Amin – Beloit (10 years)

Shirl Breunig – Sheboygan Falls (10 years)

Teri Ouimette – Chippewa Falls (11 years)

Dianne Eineichner – West Allis (13 years)

Amy Hansen – Fond du Lac (14 years)

Craig Tebon – Ripon (29 years)