Gov. Doyle: Names Rhinelander a ‘Main Street’ Community

Contact: Tony Hozeny, Department of Commerce, 608/267-9661

Program Will Assist Rhinelander as it Revitalizes its Historic Downtown

RHINELANDER -Governor Jim Doyle today announced that Rhinelander, Oneida County , has been selected for the Main Street Program, which provides technical assistance to local downtown revitalization efforts. Commerce Secretary Mary P. Burke made the announcement during a visit to Rhinelander this afternoon

“The Main Street program is a powerful tool for communities,” Governor Doyle said. “The assistance Rhinelander will receive being a part of this program will help reinvigorate its downtown – creating a better place to live, work, and do business.”

Rhinelander, a community of 7,735 in Oneida County , boasts a Historical Society Museum located in a house built in 1894 and the Oneida County Courthouse, a historical building visible from all directions. The Main Street area stretches over 24 square blocks and is home to over 170 businesses.

“Through the Main Street program, we’ll work to make sure that downtown Rhinelander is no longer just a place for community members to visit occasionally – but instead is at the center of community life,” Governor Doyle said.

The community’s goals are as follows:

* Revitalize the historic city center so area residents see the downtown as their shopping district
* Become a “must visit” destination spot for visitors
* Preserve and improve architecture
* Facilitate partnerships with other organizations
* Establish a hike/bike bridge over the river creating another point of entry to the city
* Enhance the overall economic strength of the greater Rhinelander area

The Wisconsin Main Street Program in the Department of Commerce provides technical assistance to local downtown redevelopment initiatives using a four-point approach: design, organization, economic restructuring, and promotion.

Since the program’s inception in 1988, Wisconsin ‘s Main Street communities have attracted 2,875 new businesses, 14,094 jobs, and $675.7 million in new investment to their downtowns.

Main street communities include Algoma, Beloit, Blanchardville, Chippewa Falls, Columbus, Darlington, De Pere, Eagle River, Fond du Lac, Gillett, On Broadway (Green Bay), Lake Mills, Lincoln Village (Milwaukee), Marshfield, Monroe, Mishicot, Osceola, Pewaukee, Platteville, Portage, Prairie du Chien, Rice Lake, Richland Center, Ripon, Sharon, Sheboygan Falls, Stevens Point, Sturgeon Bay, Tigerton, Two Rivers, Viroqua, Watertown, Wausau, West Allis, West Bend, and Whitewater.

For more information about the Wisconsin Main Street Program, contact Jim Engle, Department of Commerce, at 608-267-0766.