BY DAVE KAMM
What an exciting time for downtown Racine! We have made tremendous progress, the current momentum is strong and the best is yet to come. The next several years will be incredibly exciting and we have so much to look forward to. We at the Downtown Racine Corporation (DRC) could not be more excited about the truly unprecedented opportunities that exist for OUR downtown.
We are extremely proud of what was accomplished during 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. A very strong structure and foundation have been established to support significant growth and vibrancy. In regards to this foundation:
- DRC has completed a strategic planning process that has resulted in a new mission statement, vision statement, documented long-term goals and strategic priorities for 2019.
- We are in the process of finalizing our detailed action plans for each 2019 strategic priority.
- We have a strong DRC team, led by Kelly Kruse and an active Board of Directors who are extremely excited and engaged regarding our vision of the future.
Our new vision statement is critical, as it provides a written description of what we believe the future of our downtown should be and guides us in the development of our strategies and our priorities.
Downtown Racine, with its scenic lakefront and historic Main Street, is the true heart and economic engine of our community; a vibrant and diverse destination to live, shop, explore, and conduct business.
Beyond the foundation of our strategic plan and DRC team, we have truly exciting catalysts that we will leverage as we aggressively pursue the achievement of our vision, including:
- The arrival of Foxconn is a major benefit to our local community and our downtown. The growth in regional and local employment will be a major driver of growth in our community. In addition, its purchase of two buildings downtown for the location of its “smart city initiative” is exciting in so many ways.
- The significant increase in dense, market-rate residential housing with the announcement of projects at North Beach, Sixth Street at Root River, Fifth & Wisconsin streets and the YMCA project are truly exciting.
- The increase in residential population will drive further growth and diversity in retail businesses, restaurants, entertainment and other businesses.
- Downtown continues to develop as a foodie, jewelry, arts & crafts and diverse retail destination.
- We will leverage our unique assets of incredible proximity to the lake, tremendous architecture (the best downtown architecture in the State of Wisconsin per renowned downtown expert Roger Brooks) and the easy walkability of our downtown.
- The accreditation as a Wisconsin Main Street Community provides access to free resources and information regarding best practices and success stories.
- Tremendous partnerships with the City of Racine and Racine County, including inclusion in the City’s 2019 budget for a review of Monument Square for a potential redesign and for a traffic calming and parking study are significant.
- Wonderful partnerships with our corporate sponsors who recognize the significant value of a vibrant downtown and its critical value to our community.
- The development of an outstanding marketing, tourism and economic development plan by the DRC leveraging all of the above.
We are incredibly excited about the future of our downtown, the planning that is occurring, and the catalysts that will drive our growth. This is truly an unprecedented opportunity for our downtown, our city and our community. If you need additional information, are interested in volunteer opportunities, or would like to sponsor us, please contact Executive Director Kelly Kruse at (262) 634-6002 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are the only organization that is 100 percent devoted to downtown Racine.
Dave Kamm, CPA, is the Chair of the Board of Directors for Downtown Racine Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.