La Crosse, Wisconsin

Wisconsin | 2002 Great American Main Street Award® Winner | Posted: 4/8/2002

Created by a public-private partnership in 1990, Downtown Mainstreet, Inc. (DMI) of La Crosse spearheaded the creation of the city's first comprehensive master plan for downtown - City Vision 2000 Master Plan. Based on the implementation of the Master Plan, La Crosse's historic downtown has again become a powerful economic bridge to take the city and region into the new millennium.

La Crosse is now one of the largest National Register Commercial Historic Districts in Wisconsin containing 96 contributing buildings. Preservation efforts have led to the completion of $2.9 million-dollar river levee redevelopment project that includes a riverwalk, recreational boat docking facility linked to the State Recreational Trail System and the implementation of 65 block faces of historic streetscaping with new signage.

Through public and private investment, the downtown now has over 170 new residential units, and over 108 building and storefront façade restorations have been undertaken. Building and property values have increased $40 million throughout the TIF #6 District and the rest of downtown. With the recruitment of major high-tech corporations such as Firstlogic and CenturyTel's Midwest Regional Headquarters, employment is now at an all-time high, surpassing employment at the height of the prosperous retail years.