DFP Recognizes Award Winners

In the photo:2016 Award Winners from left Back Row: Alan Hathaway, DFP Board President; Tom Deitte, Downtown Legacy Award; Dave Buechel & Rick Bode, Friend of Downtown; Sam Meyer, Design of the Year. Front Row: Kathy Deitte, Downtown Legacy Award; Ann Culver, Best New Downtown Business; Katie Sperbeck, Volunteer of the Year; Adam Stone, Interior Renovation of the Year; Amy Hansen, DFP Executive Director

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership (DFP) recently hosted business owners, property owners, city officials and other downtown stakeholders at its annual meeting to celebrate the accomplishments of 2016 and recognize award winners.

Amy Hansen, DFP Executive Director, discussed property improvement opportunities for building owners and the economic development opportunities for downtown. “In 2016, the grant pool of $75,000 was exhausted when 17 property owners applied. In 2017, thanks to an increase from the City of Fond du Lac in funding, we have $97,000 in the grant pool,” said Hansen. “21 new businesses, 3 new residential developments and 11 business expansions.  The vacancy rate of downtown properties has declined from 10.2% in 2013 to its current 6.1%.”

The meetings also included an update on the Hotel Retlaw from owners Dennis Doucette and Steve Frantz, a report from the Downtown Exploratory Committee, and summaries of the numerous downtown events, such the Farmers Market and the new Wine Walk, which combined to create more than $3.3 million in economic activity and 22 jobs in the Fond du Lac Metropolitan area.

The DFP presented six awards during the meeting:

The Design of the Year Award was presented to Sam Meyer for the Art District Lofts at 14-16 S. Portland St. The building had seen a significant amount of disrepair over the years including extensive flood damage in 2008 and partial interior demolition. New exterior design elements include carriage doors, shepherd hook lighting, clapboard siding, a rooftop deck. 

National Exchange Bank received the Interior Renovation of the Year Award for the renovation of 130 S. Main Street. The scope of the project included 100% retrofit of lights, flooring replacement, new windows, new ceilings, new furniture, new reception area and bathrooms. The result is a clean and crisp timeless design that represents the building’s original postmodern era style of architecture.

The recipient of the 2015 “Friend of Downtown” award was Wood’s Floral for their sustained commitment to the downtown and the greater Fond du Lac area, serving on downtown committees, providing resources during downtown events, and supporting local non-profit organizations.

Katie Sperbeck received the 2016 Volunteer of the Year award for her commitment to the DFP and the example she sets in her volunteer spirit for the community.

Annie’s Fountain City Café was recognized as the Best New Downtown Business. Business owners, Ann & Gary Culver provide home-style meals with locally sourced products. In one short year, Annie’s has created business partnerships to help support many local businesses, artists, non-profits and even a certain jolly-old-elf from the North Pole.

The Downtown Legacy Award, awarded to a business that has been in downtown for at least 50 years, was given to Edith’s Bridal & Tuxedos. Edith’s has consistently seen generations return to the store as brides become mothers and daughters become brides. As one nominator put it, “[For many families in Fond du Lac,] Edith’s is more than a store; it is a walk down memory lane.”

The Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership is the administrative arm of the Business Improvement District, which is comprised of 284 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.

Hotel Retlaw owners Dennis Doucette and Steve Frantz share design renderings for the hotel lobby.