MAYVILLE, Wis. — Grants focused on revitalizing main streets are helping to revitalize historic buildings and boost small businesses all throughout Wisconsin and the proof is in Mayville.
On Monday, officials toured the small city of about 5,000 people as part of an effort to learn just how much of an impact the program is having in communities across the state.
TMJ4's Ryan Jenkins first reported on this story back in February, when Fred's Beds and More, a local furniture shop along Main Street in Mayville, first received a Main Street Makeover Grant. Now, their makeover is complete.
"We re-did the entire storefront, painted the exterior, re-did some metal work, so the store is completely new," said Jeff Andes, owner of Fred's Beds and More.
The Main Street Makeover Grant is one of several types of grants offered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) aimed at helping to bring new life to mainstreets in Wisconsin.
"It's really just saying, 'you know what? We've got your back while you're doing this," said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO.
Hughes toured Main Street in Mayville on Monday to see the progress herself.
"It's really all about creating a great Wisconsin for the people who are here and the people who come to visit and the people who decide to move here.
In Mayville, the grants are blending together passion with opportunity. The grants are also helping to bring new life to a coffee shop, a hotel, and a pie shop.
More than $75 million has been made available via $10,000 grants. The number of businesses impacted by the grants has doubled since TMJ4 first reported on this story in February. Hughes says there are now more than 5,000 businesses benefiting in all 72 of Wisconsin's counties.
"It's really the story about the business people and their willingness to come back to these small towns, open new businesses and really create an opportunity for people to gather, have fun together and know what it is to live in Wisconsin," she said.
Hughes also unveiled a new investment Monday. A $250,000 grant will help transform the old High School in Mayville into 20 apartments.
"We're using an existing infrastructure, but we're recycling it, we're up-cycling it and we're solving one of the challenges we are seeing around Wisconsin which is having enough housing for everybody," said Hughes.
For business owners like Jeff, the revitalization is exciting and inspiring.
"I think the community-at-large sees that when you're investing in the building and the business I think they're more willing to come and support you because they know you're in it for the long haul," he said.
A program helping restore historic buildings, bringing back vibrant main streets, and sparking new life in Wisconsin towns.