WEDC provided $417,250 toward $1.5 million in planned site improvements on the long-vacant Milk Page site. The project will allow the adjacent Merrill Equipment Company to expand, address environmental concerns, create additional commercial acreage within city limits, and connect downtown to a regional trail system along the river.
The Sheboygan Falls Main Street Program began in December 1988, when it was named one of the first five pilot Main Street programs in the state of Wisconsin. At this time, only three buildings in downtown Sheboygan Falls had been renovated, and many stood vacant. However, the actual push for downtown revitalization had begun nearly 15 years earlier, when a few passionate individuals formed a Sheboygan Falls historic preservation group out of the Sheboygan County Landmarks Association. Two separate historic districts were created as a result of this effort. The community effort to launch the program resulted in significant private sector investment, as local property improvements totaled more than $3.6 million in the program’s fifth year after steady year-over-year improvements. Early successes included the Brickner Woolen Mill Apartments, which was a successful $3.3 million adaptive reuse project to create affordable housing units along the river downtown. Projects like this, along with many individual business examples, paved the way for the Brickner Square project and 1878 Broadway redevelopment, which both resulted from local investors pooling funds to purchase and restore long-vacant properties. Bemis Manufacturing was an early investor, leading by example through renovations of a downtown showroom facility, but also providing $15,000 in seed funding toward a revolving loan pool for other downtown property owners. Early activities also set the stage for community-oriented and family-friendly events such as the Ducktona 500, which has grown to attract 8,000 annual attendees. Today, Sheboygan Falls is one of Wisconsin’s successful Chamber-Main Street organizations, a model made possible when the larger business community recognizes that the health of the downtown center is a reflection of overall economic opportunity. Sheboygan Falls has won more than 40 statewide Main Street awards in virtually every category offered. The program is especially recognized for its well-preserved historic architecture and successful community-wide partnerships designed to engage the City, business community, civic organizations and residents to preserve and promote a strong and vibrant local community while retaining its quintessential small-town charm.
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee received $1 million from WEDC’s Idle Sites Redevelopment Program to assist in the redevelopment of Reed Street Yards, approximately 17 acres of vacant land that was formerly a rail yard and truck terminal. Specifically, the redevelopment authority is seeking to attract a water technology subsidiary of Rexnord Corp. from outside of Wisconsin to build a 65,000-square-foot facility, and General Capital is planning to build two 80,000-square-foot multi-tenant buildings marketed toward companies in the water cluster. The construction of these three buildings will have a catalytic impact on the development of the rest of Reed Street Yards and the growth of the water cluster in the greater Milwaukee region. Funding from the Idle Sites Redevelopment Program will be used to offset environmental remediation costs and site preparation costs associated with these three building sites.
WEDC provided $7,500 toward the $30,000 planning and feasibility study to plan for redevelopment of the long-vacant and contaminated 30-acre former Tecumseh site. The site includes more than 440,000 square feet of structures, was vacated following corporate bankruptcy, and was subject to multiple EPA cleanup activities. The study identified several sub-area plans for the site, and 40 acres were identified as a future $8 million Market Platz development, which will include mixed-use development and a craft brewing center.