La Crosse businesses, owners receive state Main Street Awards
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Wisconsin Main Street Days, being celebrated this week, announced that several La Crosse businesses and/or owners received state Main Street Awards.
• Best Business Success Story — Deb Lash’s Wedding Tree was honored for its longstanding success, expansion and becoming a leading La Crosse wedding destination. Lash bought the Wedding Tree in 1996, when it had just two employees. Having grown to a staff of 20, the has moved to new locations and has expanded beyond basic bridal to offer prom, formal wear and menswear. An upper floor renovation in 2014 created a new wedding and event venue, The Court Above Main. Lash also has served on boards and committees for more than eight local organizations over the years.
• Best Adaptive Reuse Project — Gail, Kristine and Sandra Cleary received the award for revitalizing the Plow Building into a multiuse business and residential facility, now named Landmark by the Rivers. For 22 years, the 65,000-square-foot historic building had been vacant, adjacent to the
Oktoberfest grounds and Riverside Park. The $36 million redevelopment features mixed uses, including 64 loft-styled apartments. It is a prime example of the value of retaining the historic fabric of the community while also providing modern amenities for residents. Project partners are Kraus-Anderson, The Sigma Group, Dimension IV, P&T Electric and Fowler & Hammer.
• Best Exterior Façade Renovation for Over $25,000 — Thill & Lapitz Building owner Mike Borgen and architect Marcus Zettler got kudos for restoring the building. The 1897 building on a highly visible site near the Post Office and county buildings, was a vacant eyesore for decades. Nearly all of its historic character had been stripped away and covered with stucco. In the 1920s, it was converted into an auto garage and a concrete floor was installed. In the 1940s or 50s, two large bay windows on the
upper floor were removed. As new owner, Borgen decided to restore the building to its original grandeur. The façade restoration included removing the stucco which revealed major brick damage that was repaired. Craftsmen reconstructed the bay windows, cornices and storefront based on historic photos. The original cast iron columns, long hidden, were cleaned and repainted. A $20,000 Downtown Mainstreet Elevate Façade Grant helped to offset the $150,000 renovation costs. The renovation made it possible to list the building again as a local historic structure. Project partners are Brickl Brothers, Artisan Preservation Company, HSR and Marcus Zettler.
• Downtown La Crosse Volunteer of the Year —Jessica Kirchner was recognized for her tireless support of Downtown La Crosse and Downtown Mainstreet Initiatives. Secretary of the DMI Board Kirchner also serves on
the Executive Committee and chairs the Organization Committee. She expertise in bylaws, organizational structure and law was hailed as bringing excellence and direction to the board. In addition to her DMI involvement, she is active with La Crosse City Vision Foundation, is treasurer and communications Manager for the La Crosse County Bar Association and coordinates, the State Bar’s high school mock trial competition.
More information about and photos of the projects are on the Downtown La Crosse website.
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