Let’s network and grow, together.

Wisconsin is dotted with quaint downtowns and historic urban districts. Each one is unique and shaped by the culture and heritage of the community that surrounds it. To keep these areas vibrant, relevant, and true to their character requires planning, attention, agreement, and action from many stakeholders. While each district, its concerns, and its potential are unique, there are common challenges—and each community can learn from the processes, best practices, and successes of its peers. WEDC and the Connect Communities Program are here to help your community do just that.

How It Works

When you participate in the Connect Communities Program, your community stakeholders will have access to our Connect Communities network in addition to a wide variety of educational resources, training, and tools to accelerate your new revitalization initiatives, including:

  • Regional workshops on pertinent topics
  • Annual conference programming
  • Regular webinars and discussion calls
  • Online resource toolkit and best practice guide
  • Regional networking events where you can learn about strategies
    and techniques to address common revitalization challenges
  • Staff and board orientation training

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of communities benefit from the Connect Communities Program?

Connect Communities is a great option for communities of any size—from rural towns to urban metro areas—undertaking new revitalization efforts or looking to provide additional resources to support local commercial district businesses and property owners. It’s also great for individuals interested in networking with other professionals and gaining useful information on strategies and techniques to address common revitalization challenges.

What are the program eligibility requirements?

Connect Communities Program applicants must demonstrate the following:
1. Defined downtown/commercial district
2. Need for assistance
3. Organizational stability
4. Availability of local support and resources

What is the application and selection process?

Connect Communities Program applications are accepted twice annually (in the spring and fall), and up to 20 new communities can be admitted to the program in each fiscal year.

If my community is accepted into the program, are there requirements during our participation?

Participating communities are required to sign a participation agreement with WEDC, pay an annual participation fee of $200, complete regular reporting, and meet annual attendance requirements to remain in the program.

What are the common outcomes of Connect Communities Program participation?

Participants commonly report increased storefront occupancy, improved environment and aesthetics, increased property values, and an expanded customer base, among other outcomes.

Download Connect Communities Program Details

Connect Communities Overview

Connect Communities Resources