Blighted properties on 214-216 S. Main St. in Shawano (April 2017 photo)
The Shawano Redevelopment Authority is working towards progress in resolving the issues brought upon by either rundown or vacant buildings in Shawano’s downtown area.
Main Street in particular remains a focus and one of the primary goals is trying to get the buildings into usable condition.
“We want some of these buildings that have been vacant, underutilized, that we believe are assets to the community, to turn them around and get them in usable conditions,” said Eddie Sheppard of the RDA. “We’ve been pretty aggressive working through that with the RDA. They’ve done a great job with that.”
More recently, the RDA is working on plans to define Shawano’s downtown, working with consulting firms to help share their vision with the rest of the community.
“You really need to provide that vision to the community,” Sheppard said. “We really want people to see what these real goals are. What if we could get these buildings? What would it look like? Get some renderings done and start really sharing that message and sharing that story with the community to try and get them to see what we’re trying to do.”
Sheppard adds that successful downtowns are one of the primary reasons for drawing in potential news businesses and residents and stresses their importance to communities.
“You see other communities where the downtowns have just gone away, or are really struggling. It just says so much about the community and I think in Shawano we are very lucky in that we have people who still value the downtown”
Sheppard points to the future Stubborn Brothers Brewery as a step in a positive direction.