8/24/17 – A kickoff meeting was held yesterday for a downtown revitalization effort in Beaver Dam. The city council recently hired a firm to conduct a study of the downtown revitalization area which is bordered by Mill, Vita, Maple and Beaver streets. The meeting covered topics ranging from parking to branding to the need for more shopping and restaurant opportunities. Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen pushed for the study. Glewen says her desire is to have the downtown as a destination and getting new people to visit, work and live in Beaver Dam is critical to the community. She says while she has many areas of focus this will be one of the biggest areas of focus going forward. Architect Zach Benedict with MKM Architecture and Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana focuses on communities with populations below 25-thousand. He says Beaver Dam has some of the best assets he has seen in the past ten years for a community its size. Benedict says the city’s civic amenities are almost incomparable, from the lake to the river walk, the school district and Wayland Academy and the community theatre and new murals. He says the question is how to leverage those assets to better brand the community and move economic growth in the right direction. Benedict says many communities have a perception that to grow they need to attract young professionals but when in reality he says engaging residents who are not engaged and creating a sense of community is more important for growth. The study is in the information gathering stage and moves next month to conceptual planning with a final report expected in October.