Mixed Use Menomonie

downtown revitalization ideas swell in Menomonie

Tracy Chipman, photos by Leah Dunbar

 CHANGE UP. Menomonie’s Mixed Use Redevelopment Strategy Steering Group is planning more meetings to get input on where to take their downtown area.
 
CHANGE UP. Menomonie’s Mixed Use Redevelopment Strategy Steering Group is planning more meetings to get input on where to take their downtown area.

There is a trend, a movement across the land, to revitalize, reclaim, and reconnect to what was once the heart of every community – it’s downtown. Downtowns are rising up. Folks want a thriving, lively, and healthy downtown to shop, work, and play in. Last fall Menomonie community members and organizations initiated a dialog to recreate their downtown and “The Mixed Use Development Strategy” stepped into action with strong support from Menomonie-area residents.

“It has been an interesting process hearing from community members and it will be good to hear more.”

A series of meetings sponsored by the Mixed Use Redevelopment Strategy Steering Group, which comprises city, county, and UW-Stout officials, plus downtown business owners, has helped catalyze a bevy of innovative ideas from the community in an effort to develop a plan to revitalize downtown. The Steering Committee’s simple but sobering objective is to identify the best use and best plan for downtown Menomonie through community input.

Greg Lentz of WESTconsin Credit Union, who has been involved with this project since its inception, says, “It has been an interesting process hearing from community members and it will be good to hear more.” Greg also went on to say, “It has been very positive working with LBH (a contracting firm from Minneapolis), who has taken the refreshing and individual approach of determining what’s the best for Menomonie as opposed to, say, a cookie cutter approach.”

At the two meetings held last autumn, a truckload of ideas, themes, issues, and challenges were expressed, bantered, pondered upon, consolidated, and … voila! The following transforming prospects to date await Menomonie:

The Ideas/Suggestions
indentified by Menomonie residents via redevelopment input meetings

   • Create a pedestrian mall or outdoor gathering space by temporarily or permanently closing streets
   • Construct pedestrian/bike trails through downtown and around lake
   • Reorganize parking, perhaps a ramp
   • Develop events and marketing around local history and the arts
   • Incubate small businesses to improve retail mix
   • Encourage/enforce renovations and improvements to buildings
   • Decorate with coordinated planters/hanging baskets/etc.



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