RDA hears plans for expanded Family Fun Day

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The Downtown Plymouth Association’s Family Fun Day will welcome a new group in July – canines.

Downtown Manager Randy Schwoerer, in his report to the Redevelopment Authority Thursday, said the July 16 event will add activities for dogs to the family-oriented activities in the area between Mill Street and the Mullet River.

Schwoerer also told the RDA the city will be participating in a Downtown Open House Wisconsin event Saturday, May 14, and will be the only community in the county taking part in the statewide promotion.

Downtown Open House Wisconsin is being held ahead of the National Main Streets Conference being held in Milwaukee May 22-24. It is being coordinated by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

“WEDC is putting a bunch of money into marketing and promoting it,” Schwoerer said of the May 14 event. “We’re the only city in Sheboygan County that’s signed up for this.”

The Downtown Open House Wisconsin will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with sales and promotions at participating downtown stores and merchants.

“We have to have a minimum of five (downtown) buildings involved and we have 12 involved right now,” Schwoerer said of the WEDC requirements. “We’ve gotten really good support for it.”

There will be entertainment throughout the downtown area during the day, Schwoerer said. In addition, ‘passports’ will be available that, if stamped for visits at participating stores, will qualify the bearer for a raffle at the end of the day.

Schwoerer said the day will serve as a major promotional tool for the downtown.

“We have to account back to the state how many people came,” to the open house, Schwoerer said. That will also generate a list of customers that downtown businesses can utilize as well.

Schwoerer said that Zoey, the Plymouth Police Department’s K9 unit dog, will be inviting other dogs in the city to come to the Family Fun Day scheduled for Saturday, July 16. “It will be a dog day afternoon,” Schwoerer quipped.

The event, launched last year, features child- and family-friendly events and activities, highlighted by the Touch a Truck display. This year’s event will include an obstacle course and other activities for dogs as well, he said.

City Administrator Brian Yerges told the RDA that plans to upgrade the Stayer Park and riverfront area are being accelerated.

“The Stayer family has given a $250,000 grant toward Stayer Park, which they’re calling a challenge grant,” Yerges said. The Stayer donation must be matched by the city and private groups before it is granted.

“The Lions Club will be taking the lead on that,” Yerges said of the fund-raising effort to match the grant.

The city completed a study last year of upgrading the riverfront area behind Mill Street that includes an expanded park area as well as pavilion area and other improvements.

Yerges said the hope is to raise funds for the park upgrade in 2016, which allow the work to begin in 2017.

Those plans include converting the free-standing vacant Strutz Financial building into a public building and restrooms. The city is in the process of determining costs for purchasing and renovating the building, Yerges said.

A redevelopment project plan for 133 E. Mill St. was presented by Yerges. It includes officially designating the city-owned building as a blighted property.

Yerges said the designation and plan, which will be formally approved by the RDA and the City Council next month, is needed to help obtain financing for renovation and remodeling of the building.

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