Announcements made as part of Wisconsin Main Street Day celebrations in eight communities across the state
MADISON, WI. July 10, 2018 – Main Street Mayville and the Downtown Racine Corporation have been designated as the newest Wisconsin Main Street communities by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), joining a select group of communities that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to revitalizing their commercial districts.
Main Street Mayville, created in 1997, and Downtown Racine Corporation, established in 1984, are the state’s 33rd and 34th Main Street communities, and are the only organizations in Wisconsin to earn the designation in 2018.
The groups received the designation at separate events on Tuesday, which was proclaimed Wisconsin Main Street Day by Governor Scott Walker. As part of the day, state officials joined local leaders in eight communities around Wisconsin to highlight the important role downtown business districts play in economic development.
“We are proud of Racine’s and Mayville’s commitment to their special and prosperous main streets,” said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who took part in two Main Street Day events. “This designation will continue to bolster their economic growth and contribute to their rich social fabric.”
“We congratulate the organizations in Mayville and Racine for earning this designation, and thank the staff and the many volunteers and businesses that have helped make both downtown areas so successful,” added WEDC Secretary and CEO Mark R. Hogan, who also took part in two event Tuesday. “The support and resources the groups will receive from the Wisconsin Main Street Program and WEDC’s downtown team will enable both organizations to build upon the many achievements that have led them to this point.”
Main Street Mayville was selected for the program because of its track record of success, as well as its ongoing commitment to the Main Street principles that are key to enhancing business districts. The designation comes as the city prepares to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2020.
The organization also provided WEDC with a clear plan for utilizing the services offered by the Wisconsin Main Street Program as it focused on development, housing, placemaking and awareness. Main Street Mayville already has a historic district, a façade improvement grant program and other programs that will complement the assistance provided by the state.
“This designation is the result of over 20 years of hard work and dedication and I am proud of the work we have done to make our downtown district a priority in Mayville,” said Trina Justman Reichert, director of Mayville Main Street. “We invite you to visit our charming district along the beautiful Rock River, where you will meet industrious, welcoming, down to earth people who are proud to call Mayville their home.”
The Downtown Racine Corporation also has many tools already in place that complement what the Wisconsin Main Street Program offers, such as a white box grant program, strong partner organizations at the city and county level, and tax increment financing districts that support new development. The organization also plans to work with WEDC staff to ensure that future downtown improvements are consistent with the state’s new heritage preservation plan.
Racine officials also say that the $10 billion Foxconn advanced manufacturing campus, which is now under construction in Racine County, also had an impact on their decision to pursue Main Street designation.
“As a newly designated Main Street program, Downtown Racine’s commitment to preservation and revitalization efforts will flourish,” said Downtown Racine Corp. Executive Director Kelly Kruse. “We are truly excited to be a part of program that has a proven track record of developing and cultivating successful downtowns for over 30 years.”
The announcements came as Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Secretary Hogan, WEDC Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer Tricia Braun and WEDC Vice President of Business and Community Development Barb LaMue visit eight communities that are part of WEDC’s Wisconsin Main Street and Connect Communities programs, which provide technical support and guidance to downtown groups. Many of the events on the second annual Wisconsin Main Street Day included announcements about local business openings and other new downtown initiatives.
In addition to Racine and Mayville, the Wisconsin Main Street Day tour included the following communities: Ashland (Ashland County); Hillsboro (Vernon County); Little Chute (Outagamie County); Menomonee Falls (Waukesha County); Platteville (Grant County); and Wisconsin Rapids (Wood County).
The Wisconsin Main Street Program, which is administered by WEDC, is a comprehensive revitalization program designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Wisconsin. After a thorough application and review process, WEDC selects communities to join the program, which is part of a nationwide program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. These communities receive technical support and training needed to ensure that their downtown districts continue to thrive as centers of community activity and commerce.
Communities selected to participate in the Wisconsin Main Street Program receive free technical assistance aimed at enabling them to professionally manage their downtown or historic commercial district to better compete with alternative commerce centers.
Since the program’s inception, Wisconsin Main Street communities have created more than 2,600 net new businesses and nearly 14,000 net new jobs. They also have generated more than $1.7 billion in public and private investment since then, and are renovating more than 250 buildings per year.