RDA seeks ways to boost downtown

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Redevelopment Authority continues to look for ways to boost downtown.

The RDA heard from Stacy Tuescher, a marketing consultant with Momentum Business Solutions, who has voluntarily created a Facebook page for Plymouth’s downtown (https://www.facebook.com/plymouthwimarketplace).

“The Facebook page has received a lot of good feedback,” Tuescher told the RDA members.

She said she got good support for her Facebook marketing effort for downtown businesses.

“So many of them just don’t have the time for marketing,” Tuescher said of downtown business owners. “They wear so many hats, sometimes the marketing hat falls off.”

The RDA gave her the nod to conduct a survey of downtown businesses to determine their needs and wishes for marketing.

Tuescher explained that she has done similar marketing efforts in places like West Bend, Hartford, Two Rivers, Ripon and others.

She told the RDA she will be getting copies of downtown marketing budgets from those communities to share with Plymouth.

Tuescher also said she has been talking with Jim Engle, outgoing manager of the Wisconsin Main Street program, about Plymouth’s downtown.

“His suggestion is not to go full in with the Main Street program right away, but to find someone who can be a part-time director, who doesn’t need a big salary but can get things rolling,” she related.

“I think a downtown director would just tie everything together and give you a lot more potential,” Tuescher continued.

She also stressed that Plymouth’s downtown needs to be marketed outside of the area, as other communities she has worked with have done.

RDA member Jerry Thompson noted that other communities Tuescher worked with, like Ripon and West Bend, have widely-known businesses that serve as an anchor and magnet for their downtown.

“I’m at a loss for a business I can name in Plymouth that we can consider an anchor in our downtown,” Thompson said.

“There really aren’t a lot of businesses downtown, it’s more services, with a lot of buildings owned by outside people,” RDA member Carole O’Malley pointed out.

She asked Tuescher if she would be willing to meet with the Downtown Business Association to go over marketing ideas and strategies, which Tuescher said she would be glad to do.

“I think we need to do outreach to downtown businesses to get them interested,” RDA member David Williams said. “I know the downtown group needs to get more people involved.”

City Administrator Brian Yerges reported Sheboygan Falls developer Scott Weigert backed out on his deal to purchase the vacant building at 31 E. Mill St. from the RDA.

The building, which the RDA bought from foreclosure, is back on the market. Yerges said he had given one potential developer a tour of the property since the previous deal fell through.

The downtown design standards and guidelines approved by the RDA last fall will be going to the Plan Commission for their consideration next month, Yerges reported.

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