Vicki Bressler with
Merle Norman Cosmetics checks her phone Wednesday
afternoon as man walks along the sidewalk near her
businesses’ new location on South Main Street in
downtown West Bend. Bressler hopes to open this month.
John Ehlke/Daily News
2017 heads into its final stretch, Downtown West Bend
Business Improvement District representatives are making
plans for the following year and establishing a
foundation for how they want to shape the organization’s
During Tuesday’s meeting, members unveiled ideas they
generated during the strategic thinking session that
Although ideas were introduced, those who attended
believed additional thoughts could have been
incorporated had there been more participation from the
members of the group during the thinking session hosted
at the end of July.
had a great session on July 31 and I want to thank
everyone who did come,” President Mike Husar said via
conference call because he could not physically attend.
“I am extremely disappointed in the fact that Ashley (Mukasa)
went through a ton of work, doing the calendar poll, to
come up with a date that everybody said they could
attend. Then to have barely a quorum to be able to do
anything for the meeting, to me it is disappointing.”
Mukasa is West Bend’s economic development manager. She,
along with City Administrator Jay Shambeau, Husar, and
fellow members Brian Culligan, Peggy Fischer, Anthony
Jasen and Wayne Kainz participated in the session and
developed strategic planning ideas for the
organization’s future, according to notes taken from the
What resulted from the meeting was a document listing
several categories and within them, initiatives that
members wanted to accomplish.
the visioning section for example, members listed
programs such as the restoration of Riverwalk/River,
improvements in appearance and buildings, increased
parking and area foot traffic and improved streets and
Participants listed the organization’s strengths such as
the diversity of the industries they represent, the
skills they possess and the vision they have for the
board. Other strengths include the budget they to work
with, how they spend resources they are allocated and
the unified voice they present to government officials.
terms of the downtown district, strengths included the
parks system, the events that draw people to the area,
the revived theater project and the Museum of Wisconsin
Art along with positive energy and the momentum they
have gained from the work they have done.
for areas for opportunities, attendees listed more
engagement with community organizations, better
communication with the executive director, clearer
vision, better attendance by the nine members of the
board to meetings and communication with other
organizations that have a positive vision for the city.
Opportunities for the downtown district are marketing of
the area, decreasing the number of vacant store fronts
and occupancies, planting additional trees and increase
the walkability and biking access.
feedback generated a set of goals members wanted to
accomplish. Projects such as completing the street
improvement plan and the Riverwalk for the west side.
They also want to increase access and add businesses to
the district. They want to augment the number of parking
spaces by 25 in three years and fill all vacant
Whether they will accomplish what they set out to do
remains to be seen, but many view the plan as a positive
initial step members need to formulate an action plan.
would just say I think those kinds of conversations are
always healthy for boards, commissions, committees,
taking time to step back from your day-to-day grind and
spend time blue-sky thinking or strategic planning is
always a helpful exercise,” Shambeau said.