Main Street Program – Three Projects Highlight What Main Street Can Do
For Your Downtown
The Wisconsin Main Street Program works to promote
the historic and economic redevelopment of downtowns throughout
the state. The Main Street Program uses a four-point approach --
design, organization, economic restructuring and promotion -- to
help communities realize success. The following are projects that
highlight what the Main Street Program can do for Wisconsin’s communities.
R.W. Chadbourne Place, Columbus
The historic first National Bank building had been vacated
and was put up for sale by its most recent occupant, Associated
Bank. Once Associated Bank left, the interior was an unfinished
shell. After attending a seminar on community-initiated development,
Columbus Main Street decided to purchase the building and gathered
community support for its restoration. The building was then renamed
the R.W. Chadbourne Place, in honor of the bank’s founder. The
original bank vault was restored and converted into sales space
for gifts, artwork, and books. In the main lobby, a small turn-of-the-century
village was replicated, complete with historic-looking facades
and carriages. These unique spaces act as display areas for merchandise.
Penopoly Gala, Pewaukee
Fund raising events are vital to many Wisconsin Main Street
communities. Positively Pewaukee, the Pewaukee Main Street program,
developed the theme of Penopoly for its fundraiser. The organization
set a goal of $15,140 – the exact amount of money in a Monopoly
board game. Two hundred individuals attended the event, which
included a "jail" that required guests to purchase get-out-of-jail-free
cards; a silent auction; and the opportunity to play the three
giant Penopoly board games by purchasing "properties."
Positively Pewaukee raised over $15,300 at the event and created
more interest in Pewaukee’s annual fundraiser.
Hotel Hilton/Turtle Creek Bookstore,
Once a prominent hotel in downtown Beloit, the historic Hotel
Hilton was a deteriorated building that was being used as a rooming
house. The city, community residents, and Beloit Main Street worked
together to ensure the success of rehabilitating the structure.
The restoration included removing aluminum siding that was covering
the brick. The upper floor guestrooms were converted into luxury
apartments. The original ground floor lobby and dining hall were
converted into the Beloit College Turtle Creek Bookstore, with
a courtyard and patio for customers and residents. The basement
was converted into classroom space for Blackhawk Technical College.
The variety of businesses in the completed project brought a new
vibrancy to the building and the surrounding downtown.
For more information on the state’s Main Street Program, contact
Jim Engle at (608) 267-0766.
--Donna Baldwin-Haut, Tom Clippert, Jim Engle, Judy Goodson,
and Joe Lawinczak contributed to this article.
The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.
Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.