LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Restaurants and dozens of specialty shops are among the things making downtown La Crosse unique when compared with many other cities in Wisconsin.
But Downtown Mainstreet Inc. is looking for greater revitalization.
That's why they're applying to be part of the Wisconsin Main Street Program.
Representatives the program could help recruit businesses in downtown La Crosse and give tips to sustain its historic structures.
Wisconsin Main Street is a program that helps communities revitalize their downtown through four elements: design, organization, economic restructuring and promotion.
Thursday members of the community learned how it could be put into place.
"We have a very strong downtown but every downtown has room for improvement," said DMI Executive Director Robin Moses.
"Downtown La Crosse has fabulous restaurants and wonderful, charming retail shops, but there's always opportunity for more growth," she said.
That's why Moses is looking to become part of Wisconsin Main Street. It's a group that shows communities how to restore the area and recruit new business.
"The way we look at it is downtown is really the center of your community. It's where it began, it's where it grew from," said Joe Lawniczak, a downtown design specialist for Wisconsin Main Street.
He came to talk about the program, and take a snap shot of La Crosse now to see what it potentially can be in the future.
"Even if there's economic development in other parts of the city, it's going to thrive only if you have a healthy, vibrant downtown," Lawniczak said.
Among the program benefits is a $125,000 dollar investment from the state. It could help open downtown La Crosse to more business, potentially filling its 10 to 12 open store fronts.
"Anything that we can do as a community to continue that upward movement is what we're looking for," Moses said.
DMI has already submitted their letter of intent to become part of Wisconsin Main Street.
The next step is filling out an application due in April.
Since it first established, Wisconsin Main Street has helped more than 60 communities, according to Lawniczak. Currently, they're working with 35.
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