MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Approved grants are helping transform downtowns from Stoughton to Superior and everywhere in between.
Governor Tony Evers announced Wednesday that more than 5,200 businesses and nonprofits have been approved to receive a $10,000 Main Street Bounceback Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to move into previously vacant commercial spaces throughout the state.
“Since we began awarding these grants last August, more than 5,200 businesses have moved into empty storefronts or expanded their operations, and it has been great to see our Main Streets, small businesses, and their innovation thrive in communities across our state, including here in Stoughton,” explained Evers.
The governor issued an update on the Main Street Bounceback figures during a visit to Stoughton, where he also announced a $76,100 Community Development Investment (CDI) grant from WEDC for the City of Stoughton to help rehabilitate the long-unoccupied “doughboy building.” The Grand Inspired will be opening in the location, which is a home furnishing gallery and woodworking space which will help bolster Stoughton’s art scene.
“We’re really trying to preserve our historic buildings downtown and expand our arts and entertainment district,” added Stoughton Mayor Tim Swadley.
The Grand Inspired Artisan Home Gallery offers a program called legacy gifts, which allows engaged couples to custom-order a table and have wedding guests contribute toward the cost. The gallery will also host a monthly pop-up shop focused on traditional art, with four to six artists’ work displayed on a Saturday afternoon.
Within the same building, the Grand Inspired Woodworkers’ Maker Space will offer lessons for beginners as well as equipment for experienced, professional woodworkers. Visitors can make products ranging from bowls to tables, some of which will be sold at the Artisan Home Gallery.
WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program supports community development and redevelopment efforts, primarily in downtown areas. The matching grants are awarded based on the ability of applicants to demonstrate the economic impact of the proposed project, including public and private partnership development, financial need, and use of sustainable downtown development practices.
Evers has allocated $75 million for 7,500 businesses to receive the grants, which are being awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis through WEDC’s regional development partners. Grants have been awarded to businesses in all 72 counties.