June 23, 2017
When I look around at all of the exciting things taking place throughout Kenosha, it’s hard to not want to be part of it! Especially when it comes to the downtown, what I see and envision as the heart of our community, where people of all ages and from all walks of life come to live, work, play, and invest.
It is with the utmost enthusiasm that I can introduce myself as the new Executive Director for Downtown Kenosha Inc. (DKI), an independent, non-profit organization committed to the revitalization and growth of Downtown Kenosha. Downtown revitalization isn’t an easy task; it requires all community stakeholders to work together towards a common vision and goal and the desire to see a vibrant, thriving downtown.
In the past progress has seemed slow, but I believe we are approaching a new chapter and a new era of our downtown. We are seeing 6th Avenue undergo construction, which will create a completely new, polished look to our main street, we are seeing outside developers wanting to invest in multi-million dollar projects in our downtown, we are seeing collaboration between the arts and the greater Kenosha community which is leading to promising partnerships that will make downtown an arts and entrepreneurial hub. Great things are happening!
DKI is a very multi-dimensional organization. From bringing in new business to putting on events, our reach is extensive. As the new Executive Director, I believe our greatest impact will come from focusing on economic development and physical improvements to our buildings downtown.
The three main initiatives of Downtown Kenosha Inc. are as follows: Retail Strategy for our Downtown, Business Retention & Expansion Visits, and the Façade Program. A Kenosha Countywide Retail Strategy group is in place and we are consulting with Jones Lang LaSalle who is providing market feasibility studies and their recommendations to each of the participating communities. During Business Retention & Expansion visits, I meet with the business owners in downtown to help gauge where we are at, what successes and challenges are in place, and how DKI can advocate for them. Lastly, DKI is launching a Façade Grant Program, which will help improve the facades of our buildings downtown. We currently have funds secured but will continue our fundraising efforts to create an even bigger impact in our downtown.
Kenosha is undoubtedly experiencing incredible growth, for me, the downtown is where I feel “perfectly centered” to make an impact in our community.
Written by Nicole Thomsen, Executive Director of Downtown Kenosha, Inc.