Anticipation mounts in Tomah as an empty site downtown heads toward a new beginning.
Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch announced a $250,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, one of three grants announced for communities across Wisconsin Tuesday.
Lt. Governor Kleefisch announced grants in Rice Lake and Soldiers Grove, the former of which will go to a new community theater, the latter of which goes toward expanding the Driftless Brewing Company.
Tomah's new development is the former location of Ed Thompson's Tee Pee Supper Club, a Tomah staple for decades before its closure in 2014.
"[The] vision has been to bring something of that nature back to Tomah and then some," Tomah Mayor Mike Murray said.
The old building was purchased and razed by 3rd Gen LLC. A new $11 million facility will again feature a family restaurant, bar and banquet hall, but also add office space and residential use.
"I think mixed use definitely started in heavily populated urban areas, but it has definitely spread," Lt. Governor Kleefisch said.
Tomah city reps hope the new building functions as both a downtown hub and a bridge between other potential new developments.
"A person getting off of the interstate on the north end of town has lots of choices and on the south end of town it had never really caught that momentum," Mayor Murray said.
Mayor Murray is personally leasing the spaces for the restaurant, bar and banquet hall. He said a number of residents have been asking whether the new restaurant will bring back signature brandy old fashioned cocktails, a drink Tee Pee's was known for.
"Let's just say this, " Mayor Murray said. "The brandy old fashioned may not just be limited to a drink."
The new development in Tomah is expected to add 35 new jobs. The entire project is expected to be complete in February of 2019 with the restaurant opening in December of this year.