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:
- La Crosse
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.