Beaver Dam Council Funds Position Focused On Downtown Revitalization

(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam is going to fund a position that is focused on the continued revitalization of the downtown. The common council Monday night approved the appropriation of federal stimulus dollars to the Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce for a Main Street Coordinator.

There are currently 33 Wisconsin Main Street communities that receive technical support and training through the Department of Commerce to promote the historic and economic redevelopment of downtown’s and other traditional business districts.

The position would be funded for one year with $33-thousand dollars in American Rescue Plan Act monies along with $17-thousand dollars in hotel and motel bed tax revenues that went unspent by the chamber. After the initial year, another steady funding source would need to be in place.

Mayor Becky Glewen says that could include the creation of a Business Improvement District, a taxing jurisdiction that would raise revenue from downtown property owners in the Main Street footprint.

“Basically, it’s an area of the community that would be identified where those businesses agree to pay-in to a tax to pay for a person like this and other things that would support downtown initiatives,” Glewen said Monday evening.

The city council recently approved giving the Beaver Dam Chamber 100-percent of the monies that come from the room tax. Alderman Ken Anderson, one of three alderpersons who voted against funding position, questioned the use of room tax dollars.

“Because [Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tracy Propst] sat in this room when we gave them 100-percent of the room tax and said ‘there is no way we anticipate using all of that, we plan on giving some of it back to the city’,” Anderson said noting that none of this year’s room tax money will wind up in city coffers.

Council President Mike Wissell voted in favor of the position and voiced support for the creation of a BID District.

“The businesses downtown are the ones who should put the effort into it,” Wissell said, “and they will benefit from it and eventually the whole city benefits from the downtown.”

The Main Street Coordinator will replace a previously created and currently unfilled position of Community Development Manager.