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Winning downtown revitalization strategies

April 22, 2023
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WEDC honors best Main Street initiatives with awards

LA CROSSE, WI. APRIL 22, 2023 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recognized the best downtown revitalization projects of 2022 at the 32nd Wisconsin Main Street Awards ceremony held Friday at the La Crosse Center in downtown La Crosse.

“Powered by dedicated business people, volunteers and government officials, Wisconsin’s Main Street and Connect Communities are working hard to make our downtowns more vibrant and prosperous places,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “These thriving communities with exciting places to work, beautiful outdoor recreation opportunities and safe, affordable housing are some of our state’s best talent attraction tools.”

Projects honored Friday include business and community development initiatives, historic preservation, community celebration and revitalization success stories from communities across Wisconsin.

“The Main Street Awards offer a chance to celebrate some of our communities’ most creative downtown efforts and hopefully inspire a few new ideas,” Hughes said.

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 Main Street Center.

Since the program’s inception in 1987, Wisconsin Main Street community projects have resulted in the creation of more than 3,200 new businesses and nearly 16,500 net new jobs. In addition, over $2.1 billion in private investment has occurred in Wisconsin Main Street communities.

During fiscal year 2022, Wisconsin Main Street communities added 215 new businesses and 647 net new jobs. None of this activity would be possible without the nearly 33,000 volunteer hours that were dedicated to the Main Street effort by passionate individuals from around the state.

Also represented at the awards 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. Over the years, 133 participating communities have added 700 businesses, 3,100 new jobs and attracted about $3.6 billion in private investment.

2022 Main Street Award winners

Best Special Event

Winner: Party on the Pavement, Racine
Honorable Mention: Viroqua Kids Market, Viroqua

Best Business Success Story

Co-Winner: Stateline Mental Health Services, Beloit
Co-Winner: Copper State Brewing Company, On Broadway, Green Bay

Best Public-Private Partnership

Winner: Watertown Public Library, Watertown

Best New Business

Co-Winner: Natural Heritage Art Centre, Osceola
Co-Winner: HoneyBee Sage Wellness & Apothecary, Historic King Drive, Milwaukee

Best Façade Rehabilitation Under $20,000

Winner: Sideways Wine & Craft Beer, Tomahawk

Best Digital Marketing Effort

Winner: Downtown History Minute Video Series, Wausau

Best Cooperative Business Marketing

Winner: Fashion Show on Monument Square, Racine

Best Business Development/Retention Program

Open Flags/Security Cameras/Photo Sessions, Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership

Connect Communities Award-Best Revitalization Initiative-Under 5,000 Population

Winner: Kevin and Yariba Gonzalez, Hillsboro

Connect Communities Award-Best Revitalization Initiative-Over 5,000 Population

Co-Winner: Stone + Suede LLC, Waupun
Co-Winner: Streetscape Improvements, City of Jefferson

Best Interior Renovation Under $50,000

Winner: Trademark Restorations, Beloit

Best Volunteer Engagement

Winner: On Broadway, Inc., Green Bay

Best Private Placemaking Improvement Project

Winner: The Smockettes’ Spring Ephemeral Mural Project, Viroqua

Best Public Placemaking Improvement Project

Winner: Cheese, Glorious Cheese, Monroe

Best Retail Event

Winner: Doe on the Go, Osceola

Best Façade Rehabilitation Over $20,000

Winner: Northern States Power Building, La Crosse

Best Storefront Display

Winner: Diamond Rock Glass Studio, Tomahawk

Diversity & Inclusion Award

Co-Winner: Wausau Pride, Wausau
Co-Winner: Black History Month, Racine

Best Upper Floor Development

Winner: House Blend Lighting & Design, Chippewa Falls

Best Promotional Marketing Campaign

Winner: Downtown Holiday Gift Guide, Marshfield

Best Creative Fundraising Effort

Winner: High Five, On Broadway, Green Bay

Best New Building

Winner: Wright & Wagner Lofts, Beloit

Best Historic Restoration Project

Winner: Hotel Wausau/Landmark Apartments, Wausau

Best Interior Renovation Over $50,000

Co-Winner: Toad in the Hole, Eagle River
Co-Winner: White Oak Design & Build, Watertown

Wisconsin Main Street Hall of Fame 2022 Inductee

Hope Oostdik – Lake Mills

Individuals recognized for exemplary service included:

Executive Director Years of Service Awards

Kaelie Gomez – Marshfield (5 years)
Kelly Kruse – Racine (5 years)
Blake Opal-Wahoske – Wausau (5 years)
Shauna El-Amin – Beloit (12 years)
Teri Ouimette – Chippewa Falls (13 years)
Dianne Eineichner – West Allis (15 years)
Amy Hansen – Fond du Lac (16 years)
Craig Tebon – Ripon (31 years)

2022 Wisconsin Main Street Volunteers of the Year

Danielle Clifton – Beloit
Donna Rogers – Cuba City
Michael Brodhagen  – Green Bay
Andrew Steger – La Crosse
Kelly Korth – Marshfield
Janet Treleven – Omro
Jane Maki – Osceola
Bob Stauffacher – Platteville
Pat McLain – Tomahawk
Michele Williams – Viroqua
Candy Stramara – Watertown

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