WEDC salutes volunteers, staff for their efforts at event in Chippewa Falls

MADISON, WI. April. 26, 2019 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recognized the best downtown revitalization projects of 2018 at the 28th Wisconsin Main Street Awards ceremony held today at the Heyde Center in Chippewa Falls.

Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC, and other WEDC leaders were on hand to recognize the efforts by Main Street volunteers and staff for the historic preservation and downtown economic development efforts in Wisconsin communities.

“All across the state, those involved in the Wisconsin Main Street Program are making a real difference in improving their downtowns by developing new and innovative ways to attract visitors and support local businesses,” Hogan said. “These awards recognize the organizations and dedicated individuals whose efforts not only benefit their communities, but also set the standard for other Main Street communities statewide.”

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 34 Main Street communities to help them revitalize their business districts based on guidelines developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since the program’s inception in 1987, Wisconsin Main Street community projects have resulted in the creation of more than 2,700 new businesses and more than 14,000 net new jobs. In addition, more than $1.9 billion in public and private investment has occurred in Wisconsin Main Street communities.

During fiscal year 2018, Wisconsin Main Street communities were responsible for the creation of an estimated 619 net new jobs and 137 net new businesses in the state. More than 41,000 volunteer hours were worked in those communities.

Also on hand at today’s 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. In fiscal year 2018, the 69 participating communities added 66 net new businesses, more than 77 net new jobs and $850 million in public and private investment.

This year’s winners are:

Best Adaptive Reuse Project

Winner: DDl Holdings – Rail Yard Redevelopment – On Broadway, Green Bay
Honorable Mention: The Hub on 6th – La Crosse

Best Business Success Story

Co-Winner: Blacks Floor Covering/Main Furniture & Home – Darlington
Co-Winner: Anshus Jewelers – Menomonie
Co-Winner: Keck Furniture – Watertown

Best Creative Fundraising Effort

Winner: Farm to Table Dinner – Omro

Best Façade Rehab (Under $12,000)

Winner: Luna Coffee Roasters – De Pere

Best Façade Rehab (Over $12,000)

Co-Winner: 205-209 Watson Street Renovation Project – Ripon
Co-Winner: The Jacobs Building – La Crosse

Best Historic Restoration Project

Winner: The George S. Schempf Building, 207-209 E. Main Street – Watertown
Honorable Mention: Steve Rasmus (Hotel Northern Storefronts) – Chippewa Falls

Best Image Item/Campaign/Event

Winner: 54665 Podcast – Viroqua

Best Interior Renovation Project (Under $50,000)<

Winner: Estilo Salon – Menomonie

Best Interior Renovation Project (Over $50,000)

Co-Winner: The Exchange Coffee, Mercantile & Eatery – De Pere
Co-Winner: The Wicked Whisk Bake House & Bistro, Owners Jane & Scott Fetting – Rice Lake

Best New Building

Winner: The Discovery Center – Osceola

Best New Business

Winner: Aunt Ethel’s Adult Emporium – De Pere

Best Public Improvement Project

Winner: Wenzel Family Plaza – Marshfield

Best Public-Private Partnership in Downtown Revitalization

Winner: Better Block Project – On Broadway, Green Bay

Best Retail Event

Winner: Exhibitour – Wausau

Best Special Event

Winner: Farmers Market on Broadway – Green Bay

Best Storefront Display

Winner: Evolutions in Design – Wausau

Best Upper Floor Development Project

Winner: Hotel Goodwin & Velvet Buffalo Café – Beloit

Best Volunteer Engagement

Winner: Farm to Table Event – Tomahawk

Connect Communities Award (Population Under 5,500)

Winner: Island City Music – Cumberland

Connect Communities Award (Population Over 5,500)

Winner: Opportunity Knocks Retail Storefront Business Contest – Ashland

Corporate or Municipal Supporter

Diane Hendricks – Beloit
Louie Lange III and The Commonwealth Companies – Fond du Lac
Kathy Robbins – President, First National Bank – Tigerton

Main Street Directors Years of Service

Jack Luedtke, Platteville (10 years)
Diane Eineichner, West Allis (11 years)
Amy Hansen, Fond du Lac (12 years)
Elaine Kroening, Pewaukee (16 years)
Kathy Wellsandt, Rice Lake (23 years)
Craig Tebon, Ripon (27 years)

Volunteers of the Year

Kelly Eickstead – Beloit
Wesley Partlo – Chippewa Falls
Pam Hinderman – Darlington
Alan Hathaway – Fond du Lac
John Roake – On Broadway, Green Bay
Brian Fukuda – La Crosse
Susan Moore – Ladysmith
Rhonda Urlaub – Marshfield
Charlie Jones – Menomonie
Regina Wilkinson – Milwaukee, King Drive
Katherine Westaby – Platteville
Vern Kodesh – Rice Lake
Barb Sander – Sheboygan Falls
James & Brenda Gauthier – Tigerton
Laura Meeks – Viroqua
Robin Kaufmann – Watertown

Wisconsin Main Street Hall of Fame

Bill Ryan – UW Extension
Sam Meyer – Fond du Lac