Workshops aim to help communities around the state revive their downtown areas.
The Wisconsin Main Street Downtown Revitalization Program started almost 20 years ago. Many downtowns were losing their vitality, says Tony Hozeny, communications director, Department of Commerce, that is, until the Main Street program came along.
“The Main Street Program has been very successful here in Wisconsin. We've generated more than 3,100 new businesses and over 14,000 jobs in the downtowns of the Main Street communities.”
Hozeny says the program provides technical assistance to redevelopment projects. At the workshops, communities will discuss why they're interested in fixing up their downtown area.
“Why they're interested in taking their downtown from a level now that may have a high vacancy rate and, you know, may not have much traffic or personality … to a downtown that really becomes the center of the community again.”
Hozeny says the Main Street program can help communities to make use of something that is unique to their community that they might not have exploited yet.
“You look at what you have as a strength … a river running through but that isn't developed, you know, where you can have a riverwalk or you could have a park along that area, or a nearby lake. Many of them have adopted planters or benches or period lighting, things like that.
The program also helps communities to better deal with certain problems, Hozeny says, like the detours from road construction. He says communities interested in the program must attend at least one of the three workshops presented by the Department of Commerce next month. Registration deadline is October 1st.
Workshop times and locations are as follows:
- Oct. 10, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Country Inn & Suites
350 E. Seven Hills rd.
Port Washington, WI 53074
- Oct. 11, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
3209 E. Main St.
Merrill, WI 54452
- Oct. 12, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
200 Harborview Plaza
La Crosse, WI 54601
Registration deadline is Oct. 1, 2007. To apply, contact Catherine Dunlap, (608) 267-3855, firstname.lastname@example.org.