Brennan Kane will move his office from city hall to a vacant storefront in downtown Waupaca for a week this month.
From Monday, March 23, through Friday, March 27, he will have a mobile office at 100 N. Main St., in the former Office Outfitters building.
During that week, Kane, the city’s development director, will be there from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. On Friday, he will be there from 8 a.m. to noon.
“We’re trying to generate ideas for future improvements in downtown,” he said.
A little more than a year ago, the city’s Downtown Visioning Committee met for the first time.
This committee is expected to come up with a concept plan for the future reconstruction of Main Street.
There has not been a complete repaving of the street in more than 20 years.
The street’s storm sewer is more than 100 years old, and its water main dates back to the 1800s.
During the last 19 years, there have been about 20 water service leaks and repairs on the four-block section of Main Street that runs from Badger to Granite streets.
The visioning committee includes representatives from the common council, city plan commission, building and business owners, downtown residents, retail, banking, real estate, historic preservation, the Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce, city hall and the library.
When Kane opens the mobile office later this month, the city and its Community Development Department, as well as the Downtown Visioning Committee, will seek public input about the committee’s progress thus far and the next steps for redevelopment in downtown Waupaca.
He said this is the first mobile office being established within a vacant downtown storefront as a way to gather public input and develop a conversation within the downtown.
In that office will be information about the alternatives and amenities being discussed by the committee, Kane said.
“We want a broader perspective to determine, assist in the next steps,” he said.
Those steps will include a joint meeting of the committee, plan commission and council this spring to provide a final draft of the plan.
“All the public input received from the mobile office will be included in that plan,” Kane said. “We’re hoping to have the council adopt it in early May.”
The purpose of the mobile office is to get people from outside of the downtown area to be part of the conversation, he said.
Kane wants to know what people love about downtown Waupaca, what they think is missing and what they would like it to look like in five years.
Those who participate in the community conversation at the mobile office will have a chance to win a $50 chamber gift certificate.
Residents from throughout the community have the opportunity to enjoy Waupaca’s downtown. “We value their opinion,” he said.
As part of the planning process, the city is considering the Community Development Block Grant Program as a funding source.
The CDBG program is administered through the Wisconsin Department of Administration Bureau of Community Development and works to ensure decent affordable housing, provide services to the most vulnerable in communities and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses.
Earlier this year, Kane told the council these grant dollars could be used for the planning and reconstruction of Main Street.
However, in order to qualify for the program’s grant dollars, a community must meet the Lower/Moderate Income requirement, which is 51 percent.
In January, Kane told the council that based on the 2010 Census data, Waupaca’s percentage of lower to moderate income households was 49.5 percent.
Since the percentage was close to the requirement, a residential survey was to take place that month to determine if the percentage had changed.
Last month, Kane told the council such a survey was no longer necessary.
Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau samples a small percentage of the population through its American Community Survey.
Based on the updated survey data, Waupaca’s LMI is now 64 percent, Kane said, which means the city qualifies for CDBG grant dollars.
The common council also included $25,000, in its capital borrow of up to $1.7 million for projects in 2015 and 2016, for concept planning of the downtown reconstruction project.
People may visit www.cityofwaupaca.org/downtown to keep up to date about future events related to the downtown planning process.
For more information, email Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 715-842-9904.