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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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 Post subject: Down town project
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:52 pm 
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I keep hearing about how they want to improve the down town area to draw more people into the area and improve business. I wonder where they get the idea that people will shop down town when there is nothing to shop for. You can have the nicest looking store front in the world but until we get some stores in the area that carry basic goods I for one have no reason to shop there. Many years ago the down town was thriving because there were clothing stores, shoe stores, Grocery stores, drug stores and most anything you would want. Now they are all either closed or moved north of the bridge. The down town is more of a tourist trap than anything. I can just imagine the headache when the bridge is closed. From where I live it would be almost as close to drive to Merrill as to drive around to shop in town. It seems to me that they are wasting a lot of money fixing up store fronts when what they need is stores that actually will attract customers. About the only places in the down town that I shop at are the Surplus store and once or twice a year at the jewelry store. Other than that If I need hardware, or groceries I have to go north of town. That is Tomahawks new main st. At least thankfully the bank is still in the down town. Lets face it, most of the store buildings are old and too small for business other than gift or souvenir shops unless the owner is willing to put a lot of work into the building such as the surplus store and silver threads did to expand. Even a small clothing store, shoe store etc. would do a booming business if they had what people want and kept their prices reasonable. Like I said earlier, this looks like a big waste of time and money !

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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:01 am 
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I see a few weeks ago I see that "Main Street" was attempting to stick it's snout into the city's trough to the tune of $10,000. All the propaganda about this project implied that the that funding would come from the actual property owners of the store fronts or the State of Wisconsin. By the way taxpayers where's all of that fancy development that was supposed to take place at the old hospital. Perhaps it's waiting for a donation from the property tax payers of Tomahawk also.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:59 pm 
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The two of you should get together and find something worthwhile to complain about. If you knew ANYTHING at all about the Main Street program neither of you would have posted this drivel.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Our property taxes are high enough without paying for your projects or do you want to "volunteer" to pay mine? Keep your snout out of the city's funds. Pay for your own remodeling and/or fundraising.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:29 pm 
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[quote]If you knew ANYTHING at all about the Main Street program neither of you would have posted this drivel.quote]

This whole program is nothing more than another fine program to spend money for something that in the end won't make a bit of difference. I can imagine you might think it is drivel but it is our opinion and we have as much right to it as you do to your drivel.

Please in all your wisdom tell me what there is that I would want to shop for at most of the stores on main st. Can I buy clothing there (other than Tomahawk T-shirts) how about a pair of shoes (other than hunting boots at the surplus store) or hardware or electronics. Those fancy store fronts are not going to make me want to shop where they don't sell anything I want. Perhaps the tourists will get exited about going into the tourist traps because they look nice on the outside but that isn't going to get the locals in the door and you won't survive with out them.

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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:42 am 
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Not to start a TIF, or should I say a TID, but the city (taxpayers) support a hotel on Hwy. 51 and other large businesses in the community with tax districts. The goal is to create and retain jobs. City taxpayers have also pitched in to have the old tissue plant property cleaned up, which through matching funds from a private investor, would make the property one day eligible to be developed.
Sure, the jobs created under the Main Street Program might not be in manufacturing, but they are the kind that allow your neighbors to pay their property taxes and stay in their homes.
The city provides something like $3,000 in cash annually to the Main Street Program, which is far below the amount spent to create roads and utilities in TIFs, and the $15,000 most communities of similar size typically spend to support local Main Street Programs. Funds locally are also raised through a business improvement district (BID) funded by the downtown, from pledges from outside the district and from fund raisers through volunteers efforts to support the program. The state Main Street Program does not provide any financial assistance to the local program, but instead, provides technical assistance in the form of helping small business owners and providing free facade renderings to those who would like to invest their money into improving buildings. Any other funds provided to business owners in the downtown are done so through a low-interest revolving loan, meaning the amount has to be paid back by the business owner.
There's also the reverse side of not investing in the district. Take Antigo's downtown for example, or for that matter, take any number of downtowns across the country that have fallen into decay and are now blemishes in their communities. Visit a community where a downtown is no longer relevant, and I think repercussions will speak for themselves.
Financing aside, I think the most important facet of the local Main Street Program is the effort to restore downtown buildings. These buildings are the remaining few statues of Tomahawk's past and provide an important sense of identity for the community. What would Tomahawk lose if the downtown wasn't preserved? Personally, I think it is a lot more than just a few old brick buildings.
I also think downtown Tomahawk businesses have a lot to offer. There's food stores, restaurants, antique stores, retail, a book store and the list goes on and on down the street. The best part is, as previously stated, the owners of these businesses are our neighbors and fellow community members. They support local numerous non-profit organizations by donating merchandise for raffles and prizes for fund raisers. They care about their customers and depend on return visits. It's been my experience that if they don't have what I'm looking for, If you ask, they'll accommodate as best they can to meet your needs. That's a real nice thing about shopping in downtown Tomahawk, which rarely is the case when shopping at big box stores.

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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:24 pm 
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Funny how the Main Street property owners are only willing to make an investment in their real estate with the help of the taxpayers. Over the last thirty years there has been several remodel Main Street plans put forth including one that was going to turn the Sara Park property into an amusement park of sorts. What happened to all of these grand plans? Other than Mike Morris, the property owners didn't invest any of their own money into their store fronts. They sat back and waited for the city to throw money at them. Many of the store front owners are not even residents of this City. Sorry, I don't wish to contribute, I'm broke after paying my property taxes.

The jobs argument is laughable. I'm certain the thirty or fourty people that are losing their jobs at Harley-Davidson will rush down to aquire one of those high paying clerk jobs at the newly remodled Main Street store fronts.

Editorials belong on the Editorial Page of the paper or in the in Our Opinion section.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 2:32 pm 
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It would be laughable to think jobs lost would be offset in the downtown, but what I'm refering to is job retention, which is just as important as creating new jobs.
I should also point out market anylisis and other technical assistance provided through the state Main Street Program to downtown businesses is also available to the many businesses outside the business improvement district (BID) that provide financial support for the local program. When considering the wealth of resources big box stores have to compete with, it would also be laughable to think providing these resources to our community's small business owners in some way wouldn't be beneficial.

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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:22 pm 
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The most laughable thing is the joke played on the taxpayers of the city of Tomahawk. Why haven't the storefront owners remodeled their own places with their own money? Why is "Main Street" trying to get the city government to fork over $10000? How come all of these types of deals only benefit a few politically well connected individuals. My thought is if you want the city to pay for remodeling your storefront, move into the city, pay property taxes here and then you may have some claim to the spoils of city's tax base. If you choose not to live here don't expect to be rewarded for just making noise.

This Main Street program was sold to the city on a basis that it would be funded by the State of Wisconsin and storefront property owners. Now were saving jobs. That is laughable. Get all the market analysis and technical assistance from the state that you want, but like I said before "keep your snout out of the city's trough."

I still think that editorials belong on the Editorial Page of the paper or in the in Our Opinion section of this message board.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:12 pm 
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Tooten,

Exactly what editorial are you referring too? The In Our Opinion area of the message board is an area typically used to reprint columns or editorials from the news paper. The entire Message Board is one big editorial. The whole point is anyone can voice their opinions. The fact that yours is different from someone else's doesn't mean they don't have just as much right to voice it as you do...

The Downtown project is a whole lot more than simply fixing up store fronts. From what little I've seen, they've done quite a bit to try to help the whole area. I believe they've even been involved in some of the bigger events in town. You know, the ones that help all of the businesses in the area make money. The same businesses that happen to pay a lot of people's wages, make a lot of the donations to local organizations, and yes, pay taxes...

I'm also not sure what the $10,000 you are referring to is. Please be a little more specific. Do you know what they are asking for? What is the money supposed to be used for? I know the downtown in Appleton, WI is considered a major success because they were able to revitalize it. One of the major things was the city helped make low interest loans available. The key part to remember there, it was a loan that was paid back...


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:18 pm 
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Sure read like an editorial to me even if the author is using a pseudonym. The $10000 request to the city by Main Street is something I read in the Tomahawk Leader. I have no idea what it was for. I was in City Hall a few days after I read it and asked Paul Garner about the request and he replied something to the effect of "They asked for it but it doesn't necessarily mean they'll get it." That was a good enough answer for me. The article was in the paper so if you want more information on the request you may want to start there.

Like I said in a previous post "move into the city, pay property taxes here and then you may have some claim to the spoils of city's tax base. If you choose not to live here don't expect to be rewarded for just making noise." Jumping on the other big events like the Lions Club 4th of July Celebration or Harley's Fall Ride festivities is certainly no reason for canonization, it is...just making noise.

The local businesses that really happen to pay a lot of people's wages, make a lot of the donations to local organizations, and yes, pay lots of taxes are the ones on North Forth Street where the owners invested their own money and put some real effort into their success. They also mow their own lawns, plow their own snow, sweep their own parking areas, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:19 am 
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Really tooten, none of the businesses down town make any donations at all? Or do anything else to support this city? That's a blanket statement that is simply stupid. Also remember that a good number of the businesses are owned locally. It's amazing that when they went to try to become part of the Main Street program the vehicles had to leave from Tomahawk. A lot of local people are working very hard on this program (and a lot of 4th Street businesses are supporting it because it helps them too).

All I can say is you simply must not be a member of any organization in Tomahawk. I know for a fact that the Leader donates quite a bit, financially and in free work, promotion, etc. for a large number of organizations (315 W Wisconsin). I worked at a daily newspaper organization, want to guess how much they tried to make sure they could promote local events that didn't lead to advertising dollars? I also know the banks, insurance agents and a number of other businesses have been very supportive of a number of local organizations.

I also think you might be a wee bit off in how many people work in the downtown area. I believe the Leader has about 10 full-time employees (not including the owners) and a number of part-time employees too. Unless you think everyone unemployed can pay their bills bagging groceries it's going to take all of the businesses in town to help fill any vacancies as others layoff workers.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:48 am 
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I may be "stupid" but I do have enough common sense to know that this conversation has been spun into who donates what to who instead of the topic it started with and that is the question of, Why should the taxpayers of Tomahawk pay for the remodeling of the downtown area when the Main Street property owners themselves did not see fit to invest in their own real estate? Compared to residential property owners, don't the Main Street property owners receive a disproportion amount of city services already? What was that $10,000 request by Main Street Inc. for anyway? Perhaps to pay for more lobbying efforts to extract more funds from the city. No matter how "stupid" I am I do know that $10,000 given to Main Street Inc. will not buy one fire truck, squad car, dump truck, snow plow or pay a city employee's wages.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:23 pm 
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It really depends what the $10,000 is for, and how it's used. If it's a loan that gets paid back and generates revenue for businesses or attracts more tourists, then it could be much better for the city than spending it elsewhere. You have to spend money to make money.

I really doubt anyone is getting $10,000 free and clear to remodel their business.

P.S. I'm not trying to imply you're stupid by any means. The blanket statements that downtown businesses are pointless, don't do anything for themselves or the city and don't donate by a number of people do qualify though.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 4:52 pm 
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"YOU have to spend money to make money" is my point exactly. I've driven down "Main Street" almost daily for 35 years and with the exception of the banks and Morris' building I haven't seen any major improvements other than a new sign or perhaps some paint occasionally. Shy of keeping their doors open, all one needs to do is watch the Lions Club's July 4th parade to see the obvious lack of participation by many of the downtown businesses in something that benefits them all.

I sure don't remember seeing anything about a loan in that article on the request for the $10,000.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Speaking of things going off on a tangent, the point I was trying to make was that just fixing up the looks of the building isn't what is needed to rejuvenate the down town. What we need are to bring in business that will draw people to the down town. Right now if you need basic items you must go north of the bridge. We need to get a hardware store, grocery store clothing store, shoe store etc. back on main street. These are the things the local people end up going elsewhere for whether it is on north 4th st. or out of town. If I am doing some repairs around the house I have to drive right through the down town to get the only hardware store. (really miss having tru-value down town) Groceries the same thing. Want to buy cloths, sure you can get T-shirts, sweat shirts etc. and some things at the Surplus store/Silver threads but how about a pair of jean, or dress cloths ?

This is what will bring main st. back to life. Everyone seemed to have missed the point of that posting, so I hope this will clear things up.

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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:46 pm 
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Old Scout,

The only problem is a number of people have tried variations on that but they can't "compete" on price with Walmart so everyone leaves town anyway. I believe it was Nelson's that ran another small grocery store where Family Dollar is for awhile but couldn't make any money off it. I suspect if more people don't start shopping at Tomahawk Foods the city could be down to one grocer in the not too distant future too.


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 Post subject: Re: Down town project
PostPosted: Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:54 pm 
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Kerry, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I heard the IGA store is set to close the first of March. I was in there today and there are a lot of empty shelves. Sad situation, I always liked shopping there. :(

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