The Future of Downtown Tomahawk

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Tomahawk Leader
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2001 1:01 am

The Future of Downtown Tomahawk

Postby Tomahawk Leader » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:36 pm

Dear Stakeholders in Tomahawk’s future:

This letter is being sent on behalf of the Tomahawk Downtown Business Council (TDBC) and the many, like you, who would benefit from our community being accepted into the state Main Street program.

First, let us start by saying we are all blessed to live in a community where neighbors watch out for and take care of each other. The small town atmosphere we enjoy day-in and day-out is something many would prefer to retire to or raise a family in. We are fortunate to have a diverse economy and to be able to live in the beautiful Northwoods – with endless forests and 18 miles of waterfront in the city alone – which attracts thousands of visitors to our community throughout the seasons.

While we’re blessed with these positive attributes, Tomahawk’s broad economy is by no means sheltered from external factors like downsizing, job relocation and rising gas prices that could negatively affect our community’s financial infrastructure in the future. The threats are real and could result in very bad consequences for all of us if they were to impact our local economy.

Through retention and attracting new business, Tomahawk can make sure these factors don’t cripple our economy. By growing other business sectors, we can assure Tomahawk remains a destination where tourists continue to travel to spend their vacation. These are just some of the objectives the Main Street program works to achieve. By creating a vibrant and attractive downtown, we create the backbone for not only our economy, but our community, too.

Think of the effect that one of the city’s larger corporations shutting down would have on the city. The downtown is no different, as hundreds of our neighbors and friends are employed in the district. The more they prosper, the more we do as a community. The Main Street program offers these business owners the business support they need to compete with large box stores, which employ market analysis specialists and other professionals to remain competitive. Along with offering economic development assistance, the Main Street program also promotes the renovation of downtown buildings, making the district an attractive place to shop and visit. While it’s no secret downtown businesses can’t compete with box store prices, they can offer small town service and an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere for consumers. The more these businesses benefit, the more businesses in the North Fourth Street district and throughout the city will prosper as dollars spent downtown spill out into the community.

Perhaps the greatest impact of having a vibrant and attractive downtown is the image it reflects of our community. This is what tourists, retirees looking to move to the area, and potential employees thinking of relocating to Tomahawk draw opinions from. Plus, the downtown is the epicenter for our community’s major events like the Fall Ride, Main Street Memories, Fourth of July Pow Wow Days and the annual Free Venison Feed. With the downtown serving as the major showcase of our community, it becomes imperative that the district reflects how we want our city perceived.

Many downtown businesses owners already have taken steps to improve their business facades. The Main Street program will serve as a springboard for others to follow suit.

The TDBC has already made contact with corporations and several businesses outside the downtown sector and has received large financial commitments. The Tomahawk City Council has offered its support, and a Business Improvement District (BID) made up of downtown businesses has been well received, with 82 percent of businesses and property owners approving a self-imposed tax to fund the program.

The TDBC has submitted its intent of application to the state, and in the coming months, a TDBC sub-committee will be working on the rigorous process of completing the Main Street application.

As part of the application process, the TDBC is required to collect letters of support from all facets of the community, from government, businesses, civic groups as well as residents. The TDBC is currently in the process of garnering that support. The all-important letters and financial backing help show the community is behind the Main Street program. It shows that we are willing to help ourselves and that we are not looking for a handout.

Together we can make sure Tomahawk remains a viable city where our children will be proud to live and call home.

Tomahawk Downtown Business Council


Why your letter is important ...

Your letter of support is so invaluable because Tomahawk is competing against several communities vying for a limited number of openings into the state Main Street program this year. By writing your letter, you show you care about the future social and economical vitality of our community.
Issues that you could address in your letter include:

1. What is your connection to the downtown, ie: are you a business owner, do you attend events that take place or shop in the downtown, or do you have fond memories of an earlier downtown that you’d like to see restored? How has the downtown been growing (water fountain, street lights, wilderness pole) and would you like to see these community projects continue?

2. Why do you think Tomahawk needs to become a member of the state Main Street program, or how could the community prosper if the economic development program were implemented?

3. How would you support the downtown if Tomahawk became a Main Street community? Would you pledge financially or be willing to volunteer?

4. What does downtown Tomahawk mean to you? Does it hold any significance toward the identity of our community?

Please address letters to: Main Street Committee. Letters can be dropped off or mailed to c/o Tomahawk Leader, P.O. Box 345, Tomahawk, WI 54487. They may also be e-mailed to

Thank you in advance from the Tomahawk Downtown Business Council for you letter of support.

Tomahawk Leader
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2001 1:01 am

Re: The Future of Downtown Tomahawk

Postby Tomahawk Leader » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:31 pm

We need to keep the momentum going on the Main Street program. You have all heard a lot about the program, but I’d like to give you an update. The Tomahawk Downtown Business Council has spearheaded the Main Street program for the city of Tomahawk. The letter of intent to apply was submitted timely and we are now working on the application process. This process consists of seven criterion. Much of the information required must be obtained from knowledgeable individuals both in business and historians and private citizens. They consist of:

1) Why we need the program and it’s expected impact on Tomahawk

2) Organizational capability to successfully implement the program

3) Public sector interest and commitment

4) Private sector interest and commitment

5) Financial capacity

6) Physical capacity (cohesiveness, distinctiveness and variety of business activity)

7) Historic identity (interest in preservation)

If anyone out there has a desire to get involved you may contact the Main Street Committee by calling Pat at 453-6523. We have two important meetings coming up. One is on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at City Hall at 6 p.m. with the city of Tomahawk budget committee to see if they will meet their obligation to support. The second meeting is Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. at Tomahawk Community Bank’s upstairs community room with Catherine Dunlap and J.D. Milbourne of the state’s Department of Commerce. There will be a two-hour question and answer session followed by a tour of the downtown. Anyone wishing to attend may do so.

A letter of support addressed to the Main Street Program Committee, P.O. Box 131, Tomahawk, WI 54487 would be greatly appreciated. This letter should identify yourself, your involvement in the community (be it citizen, business owner, etc.), your interest in this worthwhile project and how you see it positively impacting the downtown and all of Tomahawk. Remember – A Healthy Downtown Makes A Healthy Community. This can only positively impact the whole of Tomahawk.

Pat Haskin
Secretary, Tomahawk Downtown Business Council

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