DMI looks for new director, selects temporary replacement - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

DMI looks for new director, selects temporary replacement

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Electing Tim Kabat as La Crosse's next mayor created an opening at Kabat's old job.

He will step down as the executive director of Downtown Mainstreet Inc., a non-profit business group focused on revitalizing La Crosse's historic downtown.

"I think we have some great momentum, we have come a long way," Kabat said about DMI, the organization he's led for the past three years.

"Large employers have added employees, we've got more people working downtown as well," he said. "All those things have been very great for the organization. You know, there's still work to do, there's still storefronts to be filled."

The question now: Who will become DMI's new executive director?

"It's really not that tough of a question, is it," asked Mike Keil, president of DMI's board of directors. Kabat set the standard pretty high, he added.

"Membership is at an all-time high and our excitement level and enthusiasm for DMI is at a very high level," Keil said.

According to Kabat, the number of participants has increased from about 130 businesses to 210 businesses in his tenure. That's about an 80 business increase.

In Kabat's absence, one man already agreed to temporarily help bridge the transition.

"John Wettstein stepped up for a couple of months during the process when we hired (Kabat). He stepped in for a couple of months, and he agreed to do it again," Keil said.

"It probably would be a short time," Wettstein said. "So, I think my job would be to hold things together and keep things moving until the new director's in place."

Wettstein served as interim director before Kabat was hired. This time around, he won't have any title.

The DMI board is looking for the next executive director to have Kabat's momentum.

There's no set timeline on when a new executive director will be chosen, but the DMI board hopes to have a replacement for mayor-elect Kabat in the next couple of months.

Kabat will take the oath of office as mayor April 16.

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