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Downtown Falls Chosen for State Revitalization Program

The Village Centre will participate in the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.'s new "Connect Communities" program.

Downtown Menomonee Falls is one of 20 communities around the state chosen to participate in a state-sponsored revitalization project.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation will help Falls and 20 other downtown communities revitalize their downtown districts through its new “Connect Communities” program.

"We are very excited to be chosen as one of the first twenty 'Connect Communities'. Many communities applied for this program," said Falls Community Development Authority Director Matt Carran. "Clearly, WEDC sees the work that has been accomplished in Menomonee Falls and the potential we have to flourish." 

WEDC will provide participating communities a range of services and resources including a network group to receive new ideas from others participating in “Connect Communities”; participation in a Main Street Executive Director Workshop; an on-site visit from a WEDC Community Account Manager to assist in identifying needs and offering assistance; and involvement in many ongoing training programs.

“Downtowns and urban commercial districts play an important role in their communities and in Wisconsin’s overall economy,” said Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, vice president of economic and community development with WEDC in a news release. “Successful commercial districts don’t just happen. They need to be planned and nurtured, and the Connect Communities program helps these communities move forward.”

WEDC scored the applications based on “Strength of Organization”, “Clearly defined Downtown”, “Local Resources Available” and “Potential”.  

The other communities selected include:

  • Antigo
  • Berlin
  • Cambridge
  • Cashton
  • Chilton
  • Crandon
  • Deerfield
  • Edgerton
  • Greenwood
  • Hartford
  • Hartland
  • La Crosse
  • Menasha
  • Menomonie
  • Mosinee
  • Plymouth
  • Pulaski
  • Sheboygan
  • Superior

The communities selected to participate in the program must needed to have an organization that focuses on downtown commercial district issues, and have the capacity to commit to training opportunities. In Menomonee Falls, that organization is the Village Centre Business Improvement District headed by Barb Watters.

Village leaders and planners have already placed an emphasis on injecting new life to the historic downtown district. Downtown Menomonee Falls lies within a larger taxing district created in 2010 to increase land value through catalytic redevelopment projects, infrastructure improvements, and a grant program to improve the facades of businesses.

The Economic Development Master Fund program allows businesses to take out a maximum $40,000 low-interest loan from the village that is matched dollar-for-dollar by private investment. The money can be used to acquire or improve property, purchase furniture and equipment, or rent and interest write-downs.

The EDMF program also provides 50/50 matching grant of up to $20,000 for landscaping, interior and exterior renovations and qualified site work.

Jann January 25, 2013 at 09:39 PM
I have always thought this would be a great place for some type of outdoor seating even when there were previous owners. I do believe that one of the past owners tried to get a couple of sidewalk tables and was turned down by the village. I also heard a rumor that AJ's was looking into some type of outdoor seating, but again, just a rumor.
Boatnurd January 26, 2013 at 02:01 AM
Removing heavy truck traffic is a great idea. This is extremely loud traffic and quite annoying I might add to our tranquil city center. That would make a big difference. There are times when you cannot even hear the falls which in the self are very loud. AJ's was pursuing a 2nd floor patio deck above the front entrance. There is a small flat roof facing north but they would need stair access and this would probably get the ADA group all Ben out of shape as a wheel chair could not access. Limited seating up there too. With trucks driving by this would be very loud. The back side would be best but no view is better than looking right at the falls.
Jann January 26, 2013 at 03:22 PM
Craig: County Q and connect to Lannon Rd to get truckers into Sussex if that's the direction they are going. Both roads are already busy and I think both allow truck traffic. (It will never happen though I'm afraid as Main St. is a state highway.)

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