Why is downtown Racine so important to the community as a whole, and why the need for all of the revitalization strategies we have been working so hard on?
Because “downtown is the heart of our community and a community is only as strong as its core.”
This is more than just a catchy slogan.
The Downtown Racine Corporation exists to bring about positive and lasting change by keeping our downtown economically, socially, and culturally vibrant. Downtowns serve as the engine for local economies.
Downtown Racine represents just 2 percent of total land in the city of Racine*, yet represents the following in economic development and taxes:
- Contributes more than $2.6 million annually to local municipal and county budgets
- Has $35 million in retail sales
- Has $9.5 million in restaurant sales
- Creates 13.6% of room tax dollars
- Represents 9.1% of all businesses in the city
* The area of downtown is .42 square miles. The area of the city is 18.68 square miles.
Those stats are astonishing to say the least. However, downtowns are much more than a profit center to communities, more importantly, we represent the image and character of our historic lakefront community. Downtown Racine becomes the differentiator for us amongst our neighbors. It breathes life into our community by adding a depth and richness through a tapestry of world-class architecture and a culturally diverse mix of retail shopping and foodie options that showcase our vibrant community. Our downtown enriches the quality of life for each and every one of us, whether home-grown or just visiting.
A truly vibrant, diverse, and thriving Downtown Racine will spread to Uptown, State Street, West Racine, Douglas Avenue and into the other villages and townships in Racine County.
Our economy is changing rapidly, and now, more than ever, a skilled workforce is vital to the success of Racine County. With potentially 10,000 jobs created by the new Foxconn development alone, we need to be able to attract, retain and maintain employees who want to live, work and play in Racine.
The last thing we want to happen is for someone to get a job here, and then choose to commute to live outside of our community, taking all their hard-earned money with them and spending it elsewhere. We have a tremendous opportunity, right now, to get ahead of the curve and attract this workforce to Racine.
As residents, we need to choose to increase our investment in downtown.
Let’s choose to shop local.
Let’s choose to be ambassadors for our entire community by supporting revitalization efforts in downtown Racine.
There is a reason we’ve had 18 businesses open in downtown in 2018, a 300% increase in business growth since 2016, something we should all be proud of and build upon.
Downtown holds the future of our economic and cultural growth as a community. We continue to create more vibrancy and generate more economic activity and efficiency around our existing infrastructure of historic, beautiful buildings on the lakefront than any other portion of our community. Please join me with the movement. “Downtown Racine Matters.”
Kelly Kruse is the executive director at Downtown Racine Corporation.