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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 22, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Steve: Yes, I agree with you. I almost always go up to the cross walk with the lights. I guess I should have said if they feel the need to have cross walk upon cross walk upon cross walk they need a better system. I made a left turn from Mill St on to Main one day and because I was looking around parked cars for traffic I nearly wacked one of those things in the middle of the road! I think its a mess.
Lil Bit January 22, 2013 at 09:34 PM
OK Steve we get the hint. Then totally remove the pedestrian crosswalk one block east of the intersection of Main and Appleton. I have no problem walking the extra few steps to cross at the lights. BUT while it is there, kind of expect drivers to abide by it. Common courtesy and the law.
Jann January 22, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Now you're talking. There is no need for either of those non lighted crosswalks with the lighted one that close. I wouldn't want to be driving a loaded semi through that area. It's not like they can stop on a dime. I will say that if the police pulled over more people for going WAY over the limit near Main and Shady Ln, that would help quite a bit. They seem to love pulling people over on Appleton in front of the Piggly Wiggly, they need to move locations.
Boatnurd January 23, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Thought the crosswalk across from AJ O'Bradys connects the north and south river walk. If this is to be successful, pedestrians need a place to cross without having to dodge cars or walk a block out of their way.
Former Resident January 23, 2013 at 01:47 AM
I can't wait for the hotel to go up... Oh, never mind.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) January 23, 2013 at 02:07 AM
The crosswalk does serve that purpose. I think there are some out there requesting a crossing guard for when they stumble out of AJ's.
Steve ® January 23, 2013 at 06:03 AM
I agree. Having people out in the middle of the street is silly. This is not some huge city where it is common. Save the money. Pave Menomonee instead.
Boatnurd January 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Love AJ O'Bradys. They are a great community citizen and bring more needed foot traffic to our downtown then we have had in that location for years. Still not sure what this State Revitalization plan does for our community in regards to investments up and beyond store fronts. Thought we did that already. I am looking for something really big that creates a destination downtown.
Nico January 23, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Can we really make Men Falls into a a destination downtown like Cedarburg?
Jann January 23, 2013 at 04:43 PM
By eliminating that crosswalk and putting up a sign that says "please cross at intersection" think of how many businesses would be seen by people who may have never known they were there? I wonder how many people have driven by Ninos and never knew there were tables inside to eat at as many delis are just carry out. You won't have to dodge cars at the corner as much as you do at the other crosswalk and if you are out for a walk is that extra block going to kill you?
jerry mislang January 23, 2013 at 04:51 PM
My mom always told me to look both ways before crossing the street. She didn't say anything about flashing pedeistrian lights, red yield signs in the middle of the street, cars stopping in the middle of the street to let people cross or walking up to a light controlled intersection. She said look both ways, then cross the street and for 63 years its seems to have worked for me.
atthec44 January 23, 2013 at 05:09 PM
Jerry – Did your mom also teach you to obey the law? State law says cars must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
Boatnurd January 23, 2013 at 07:34 PM
The Falls downtown setting is a treasure very few other cities/towns can claim. River, walkway, parks, falls, historic buildings, people living downtown, and slowly a ramp up in vibrancy. We need to identify key things that require attention and concentrate on that. Dilapidated buildings are a must as well as drawing entertainment and dining opportunities. More is good competition and creates a purpose to come to a central location. A brew pub downtown on the river where the Associated Bank vacated might be good but requires some changes to property lines and an outdoor deck with a world class small town setting. Pubs are not always problematic but can be places where families gather and tax revenue is generated.
Jann January 23, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Are you talking about putting a brew pub in the same building as Associated Bank? There is still banking done there, I believe the other portion of the building was used for offices for Medical Associates, but they left.
jerry mislang January 23, 2013 at 10:00 PM
State law doesn't do you much good if you're run over by a car. You might be in the right.....but you're dead. Look both ways, moms usually right.
jerry mislang January 23, 2013 at 10:02 PM
The downtown has lots of potential, and seems to be improving all the time. Chiily Fest on Feb 16th is a good time as any to check it out.
Boatnurd January 23, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Yes, I am speaking of that very building. The east end faces the river and has the parking lot and park setting. Envision a deck out back facing the river with a bunch of families enjoying a bite and beer on an early summer evening. Just thinking outside the box. After dinner, go for a river walk and head south towards the sanctuary of the lime kilns. That is one peaceful place.
Boatnurd January 23, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Will be there!
Jann January 23, 2013 at 11:24 PM
I don't think there is much square footage of empty office space above ground. The basement used to have the safe deposit boxes in it, that may have been used for offices after that too. If there was enough space above ground it would make a great place with outdoor seating.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) January 23, 2013 at 11:54 PM
Wow Craig, you really are a lifetime resident. I just can go back to the days when it was a little dumpy KFC that was basically carry-out only.
Nico January 24, 2013 at 04:59 AM
Right now there is not one place that has outdoor seating to make it inviting for summertime dining. So, who will even bother to go into the downtown area when they can hang out at Su Casa or Pistol Pete's ? If anyone has ever gone to Freeman Friday Night in Waukesha you can see they know how to do a vibrant Downtown.
Crashtap January 24, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Heck, when I moved to the Falls the four corners had four stop signs. My dad always got his snow tires and oil changes at the Standard Station on the corner.
Crashtap January 24, 2013 at 02:00 PM
I agree Boatnurd, AJs has really added some vitality to the area. It seems that they have discovered the formula for attracting regular Falls folk, and more importantly folks that bring their kids. Was in there Tues. night, Packed. Nothing better than their Dollar burger special. I congratulate them on a great business plan and execution.
Boatnurd January 25, 2013 at 03:31 PM
There will be a place soon just east on Pilgrim and Main. Just built a nice outdoor concrete patio. Need a few more running west on Main towards the city center. I am open to looking at space on the two open lots. One next to the Robin nest and just across the street next to Mohrhusen Heating. This would be great infill while still keeping some parking. The Falls has done well reserving plenty of village parking on both the north and south side on Main.
Crashtap January 25, 2013 at 03:35 PM
The Honey Bucket should add a patio!
Boatnurd January 25, 2013 at 06:28 PM
What? That bar no longer exists. Try again.
Boatnurd January 25, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Try to have a serious conversation and that pops up. The Honey Bucket for crying out loud. I would like to see AJ Obrady's construct a raised deck over the south parking lot just to the rear of their building. Now that would add value the the entire area and would be a great view of the park looking south.
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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