Sparta selected for downtown revitalization program

A technical assistance program will help Sparta continue downtown revitalization.

Sparta is one of six new communities to receive resources through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which already has 70 cities and towns in its Connecting Communities Program.

The impact from that comes in the form of guidance and planning for what the Sparta Chamber of Commerce said is a downtown already in resurgence.

According to WEDC, the Connecting Communities Program compliments the Wisconsin Main Street Program. It offers resources in the form of consultations and workshops to help speed along redevelopment and revitalization plans. Downtown areas like Sparta are making a comeback across the state, but with the added interest, the chamber’s Executive Director John Hendricks said it’s nice to have some guidance.

"While everyone’s interested in a vibrant downtown, there’s not always a lot of resources to help to develop that," Hendricks said. "[WEDC is] very good about providing guidance and opportunities for professional development and ideas for connecting people."

Once accepted into the program, WEDC collects an annual fee of $200 dollars for continued access to services provided.

According to WEDC, required progress reports from participants show 274 new businesses added in the state and 1600 jobs since 2013.

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