The Downtown West Bend Business Improvement District held its annual meeting Tuesday night. Four downtown building owners were in attendance. Highlights of the meeting are below.
-BID Board along with incoming city administrator Jay Shambeau adjourned for about 20 minutes into closed session to discuss the downtown West Bend Theatre and bridge. No update was provided upon returning to council chambers.
Plants and landscaping:
-Landscape maintenance was discussed at length as BID Board member Tony Jasen talked about improving maintenance and weed control. Jasen contacted Scott’s Landscape and said, aside from a $45,000 annual contract that included snow removal and bed maintenance, are there alternative contracts the BID could explore especially for weed control. “I was frustrated this year and shocked at weeds taller than we are,” said Jasen.
-Shirley Decker with Roots and Branches provided an update on how her volunteer group took care of certain plots downtown as well as 5 to 6 others. Decker said water costs have been cut in half from $5,000 down to $2,500. Decker mentioned Roots and Branches is a work in progress and she was unsure about getting volunteers to do the side streets.
-Jasen stressed “we need to go back to the city and say we need help” and “we want the downtown to look respectably nice.” Decker suggested improving Main Street by using flowering shrubs in the smaller lots.
-BID Board president Mike Husar said the BID had to get the word out that if building owners need help they can call Roots and Branches. He also mentioned an increased budget to show the BID is serious and it is willing to work together with the city “we can get the job done.”
-Decker added she was “personally disappointed the flower baskets didn’t hold up this year.”
-The DIVA group is actively marketing the retailers downtown with appearances and commercials on TMJ4 Morning Blend.
-A request for proposals will go out for website and logo design for the BID. Epic withdrew its proposal and now the BID will open the process. Formation of a 3-person marketing sub committee was suggested.
-BID Board member Brian Culligan spoke at length about marketing and branding the downtown, driving traffic and improving perception of what the downtown is. “How do we change people’s ideas,” he said. “Downtown West Bend really supports downtown West Bend and we have a passion to work together. Outside of core demographic we are missing a lot of opportunity.”
-Culligan said, “A website doesn’t drive traffic or sales and there’s a lot more that goes into it. I’m not just looking for a website; we should use some budget to raise the ship of downtown and I like the idea of working with Downtown West Bend Association and build on what they do with promotions.”
-Peggy Fischer from Shooting Star Travel on S. Main Street jumped to the mic and said, “The DWBA would be happy to work with you.”
-There had been a discussion item on the table to designate the downtown an historic district. The History Center Washington County said that they could “not use historic district” as a qualification.
– Both the BID and the DWBA are waiting on attorneys to review an agreement on building lights.
-Parking and chief is not in favor of parking lots and parking on Sixth Avenue and enforcement.
-Discussion on whether annual meeting should continue to be held in the evening.