University of Wisconsin-Stout

Aug. 11, 2010

A consultant has been hired to work with a Menomonie group to recommend ways to redevelop downtown.

LHB Inc. of Minneapolis, a design firm that offers services throughout the Midwest, will use its experience in community design and planning when it joins forces with the revitalization group to define a shared community and university vision and to create a comprehensive, market-driven strategy for encouraging downtown development, group members said.

Working with community stakeholders, including retailers and Realtors, LHB will analyze local markets and form a development plan that supports mixed uses, such as shopping, housing and parking.

LHB will link the design with finance and development opportunities “to maximize the downtown’s economic potential while enhancing the environment and remaining true to the city’s rich character,” said Diane Moen, UW-Stout vice chancellor for Administrative and Student Life Services, a member of the group.

The group was assembled by UW-Stout Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen, who said, “We recognize the importance of downtown Menomonie to UW-Stout and of UW-Stout to downtown Menomonie. That’s why we’re taking action and joining with others to make Menomonie an even better place to live and do business.”

Menomonie city administrator and revitalization group member Lowell Prange said he expects LHB “to provide the framework to improve the mix of businesses and residential properties to enhance the downtown experience for all residents of Menomonie. The joint project sponsored by the chancellor should give us the vision to pursue this community goal.”

Revitalization group member Lisa Montgomery, CEO of the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce, said she looks forward to tapping into LHB’s expertise in community revitalization. “To me this project exemplifies the power of collaboration as it brings together UW-Stout, Dunn County, city of Menomonie, Main Street Menomonie, the chamber and business community to work toward the common goal of making Menomonie a better place to work, live and play,” Montgomery said.

To ensure that the collaborators’ actions are transparent and that the design embraces community needs and expectations, the revitalization group and LHB will employ a participatory planning process that keeps the public informed and engaged. The group and LHB plan to interview residents and host a series of community meetings beginning this fall.

LHB is expected to make its final recommendations in early 2011, which then will be considered by the group and other interested parties. Funding for the consultant’s service is coming from various sources, including contributions from group members and the Stout University Foundation.

In addition to Moen, Prange and Montgomery, the steering committee includes Kate Hearley, Main Street of Menomonie interim director; Greg Lentz, Westconsin Credit Union president; Sheila Stori, Dunn County Board; and Christopher Smith, Dunn County Economic Development Corp. director.

A fall 2009 survey by the Applied Research Center at UW-Stout found that students, faculty and staff would most like to see better parking availability, more stores, a cleaner Lake Menomin and an improved overall appearance of downtown.

For more information on the revitalization efforts, go to http://www3.uwstout.edu/asls/redev/ or contact Moen at 715-232-1683 or moend@uwstout.edu. For more information about LHB, go to http://www.lhbcorp.com.

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