DFP Holds Annual Meeting
The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership, Inc.(DFP) showcased its achievements of 2014 and looked forward to 2015 at its Annual Meeting held January 22, 2015 at the Retlaw Plaza Hotel.
The meeting kicked off with the past five DFP Board Presidents Gary Ott, Tom Meiklejohn, Joe Tasch, Sam Meyer and Phil Shepherd recapping the highlights of the last 10 years as a Wisconsin Main Street Community. In 2004, Governor Jim Doyle certified Fond du Lac as a Wisconsin Main Street Community. Since that time, there has been $87 million in private reinvestment, with a 38% increase in assessed value of the downtown district. The DFP has awarded $192,000 in grant assistance for building improvement projects leveraging more than $2.2 million in private investment.
Design of the Year Award was presented to The Commonwealth Companies for the Riverside Senior Apartments, a new five-story construction project which offers outstanding amenities including a heated garage, internet café, community room, beauty salon and exercise room along with walkable access to downtown.
Louie Lange III and The Commonwealth Companies were the recipients of the 2014 Friend of Downtown, an annual award given to a person or organization that has had major impact on the partnership. Lange, president of The Commonwealth Companies, has shown great commitment to downtown Fond du Lac. Commonwealth has completed several major renovation and new building projects in the downtown including St. Peter’s Place Senior Apartments, Commonwealth Companies corporate offices, Trinity Restaurant, Trinity Artist Townhomes and DanLann Art Gallery, and Riverside Senior Apartments. Lange was named as B2B’s “Champion of Downtown Fond du Lac” in 2014. Lange has shown a strong commitment to downtown not only financially but also personally by serving on the DFP Board for four years, helping to fund the Downtown Fond du Lac Fund and sponsoring the downtown Farmer’s Market and Commonwealth Classic Bike Race.
Amy Hansen, DFP executive director, reviewed the organization’s economic development initiatives of 2014, including the establishment of two new grant programs. The organization awarded $47,000 in grants to property owners in 2014. 2014 also saw the opening of 28 new businesses and $14,680,000 in private investment.
Sadie Parafiniuk, DFP director of marketing and special events, recapped the promotional initiatives of the past year including the downtown Farmer’s Market, Fondue Fest, Sidewalk Sale and Small Business Saturday.
A highlight of the year was the DFP being nominated as one of ten semi-finalists for the Great American Main Street Award. Each year, the National Main Street Trust recognizes exceptional Main Street communities that demonstrate exemplary achievement in the process of strengthening their downtowns.
Current DFP Board President Tom Deitte highlighted the upcoming year including the expansion of Marian University and Agnesian HealthCare, The Commonwealth Companies new company headquarters, the opening of Three Guys and a Grill at Trinity, the renovation and reopening of Theo’s Steakhouse and the redevelopment of 131 S. Main Street.
Deitte also presented a special recognition award to Mitch Kahl, president of Jackson Kahl Insurance in appreciation of the support he has shown the DFP.
The DFP is the administrative arm of the Business Improvement District, which is comprised of 293 businesses, 76% of which are locally owned. The mission of the partnership is to establish a diverse, prosperous and healthy district that is the social, commercial and cultural heart of our community. For information call (920)322-2006 or visit www.downtownfdl.com.
In the photo: 2014 Design of the Year Award to The Commonwealth Companies Riverside Apartments and 2014 Friend of Downtown to Louie Lange III and The Commonwealth Companies. From left: Jason Leffel, Senior Vice President of Operations, The Commonwealth Companies and Amy Hansen, Executive Director, Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership