Historic Downtown La Crosse has come a long way over the years, but La Crosse’s Downtown Mainstreet organization is looking for a little help to continue moving forward.
Back in December, Downtown Mainstreet Inc. wrote a letter of intent to the Wisconsin Mainstreet Program, a revitalization program that helps local communities improve their downtown through partnerships, training and networking.
It’s an intense application process, but Downtown Mainstreet La Crosse hopes to join the exclusive group this year.
Executive Director of Downtown Mainstreet La Crosse Robin Moses said the organization has worked hard to strengthen the core of the community.
“We’ve been a mainstreet program for over 20 years,” said Moses. “We’ve had excellent growth throughout the years with our program but there is always more you can do.”
That is why they are applying to be part of the Wisconsin Mainstreet Program.
“It is a comprehensive downtown revitalization program that utilizes a lot of volunteers, grassroot efforts and partnerships,” said Joe Lawniczak, a downtown design specialist with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Right now, about 35 communities are in the program.
“It is an exclusive group, but it is a very good networking group where they can access a lot of ideas, information and resources,” said Lawniczak.
“Just learning from other communities and what they might have tried and what worked and what didn’t,” said Moses.
Downtown Mainstreet La Crosse has applied to be in the program twice already, but they are hoping the third time's the charm.
“If we can belong to an organization that will help us maximize our potential, then that is what we are looking to do,” said Moses.
Once you are accepted into the program, you are in it for life.
“The bulk of our services occur in the first five years. After year five, we still provide services but probably not as frequently. We are still there as a resources,” said Lawniczak.
Lawniczak said La Crosse is on the right path to becoming a lifelong member of the program.
“It already is a vibrant downtown. It has a lot of character and that is what sets your town apart from the competition,” said Lawniczak. “So I think La Crosse has a good head start.”
La Crosse's Downtown Mainstreet organization has to submit its application by mid-April in order to be considered for the Wisconsin Mainstreet Program. They will be notified if they were chosen to be in the organization by the end of May.