Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Press Release

Lake Mills wins inaugural WEDC Place-Makeover

Community to receive up to $5,000 to transform alley into pedestrian walkway

By - Apr 4th, 2022 10:22 am

LAKE MILLS, WI. APRIL 4, 2022 – A North Main Street alley will be transformed into a welcoming pedestrian corridor connecting Main Street and a parking area with help and $5,000 from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The project is the first winner of WEDC’s Place-Makeover Contest. WEDC’s Downtown Development Team and consultants from All Together Studio, a placemaking firm, will be working with the City of Lake Mills and Legendary Lake Mills, which serves as the city’s chamber and Main Street organization, as well as area property owners to revitalize the space.

The planning will be followed by a two-day transformation later this summer, which will include up to $5,000 in improvements.

“This space now may just be a humble alleyway but with the right vision it can become an important connector for downtown Lake Mills,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “There’s a lot of energy being created in this part of Main Street with Tyranena Brewing Company investing in a second taproom and beer garden.”

The brewery is in the process of turning the property to the north of the alley into a downtown taproom and converting adjacent parking lot into an outdoor beer garden.

City officials expect this will increase the level of pedestrian traffic in this area and also require pedestrians to use the alley rather than accessing the parking area directly from North Main Street.

“We want to thank WEDC for their support as well as the chair of our Design Committee, Hope Oostdik, for applying for the grant,” said Raina Severson, executive director of Legendary Lake Mills. “We look forward to using this grant to better our community for our cherished community members and visitors alike.”

The City of Lake Mills has already committed to assisting the project by addressing drainage and pouring a new concrete walkway, while Tyranena Brewing has agreed to provide electrical access for new lighting and the Legendary Lake Mills organization is providing up to $10,000 for other improvements.

The goal of the project is to open the alley later this summer in anticipation of a fall opening of the Tyranena space.

The Place-Makeover contest is an outgrowth of WEDC’s popular Main Street Makeover Contest. This year, the state’s 34 Wisconsin Main Street communities had the opportunity to nominate an unattractive or underused space in need of updating. The spaces could be privately or publicly owned if in a highly visible area downtown and open to the public.

The alley Lake Mills nominated is on the western side of Commons Park and connects North Main Street with a municipal parking lot behind the block. It is currently gray, poorly lit and has no signs to indicate its use as a pedestrian walkway.

The alley was selected as the winner due to its high visibility, the level of traffic associated with its future intended use, potential for meaningful transformation and its size and scale, which are well suited to a two-day makeover.

Other finalists for the transformation were the Farmers’ Market parking lot in Prairie du Chien and Crosswalk Park in Racine.

The Place-Makeover Contest is an initiative of the Wisconsin Main Street Program, a comprehensive revitalization program overseen by WEDC and designed to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of traditional business districts in Wisconsin.

Communities selected to join the prestigious program receive technical support and training needed to restore their Main Streets to centers of community activity and commerce. The Wisconsin Main Street Program, part of a nationwide program of the National Main Street Center, has been recognized nationally for its participation, initiatives and outcomes.

For more information on the Wisconsin Main Street Program, visit wedc.org/MainStreet.

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