SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) — Downtown businesses in Sun Prairie are bouncing back, and local and state leaders toured several of them Wednesday to see how Wisconsin’s financial investments have paid off.
Governor Tony Evers approved a $15 million investment in Sun Prairie as part of COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts. This also included nearly $4 million from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan.
“Main street businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, and today is all about seeing the strong recovery that’s possible when we work together across local and state government to support our communities, businesses, and families,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld.
She said they heard a lot of positive and inspiring stories about pandemic recovery from business owners in the area.
“Every business owner has a different story… how they pivoted during the pandemic, how they were innovative and found ways to conduct their business during the pandemic, and how the community here in Sun Prairie really rallied around them and supported them through that,” Blumenfield said.
The executive director of Sun Prairie’s Chamber of Commerce, Christina Williams, said supporting local business owners creates jobs and other opportunities that keep dollars local.
The Chamber of Commerce also received $187,000 in funding from the Tourism Capital grant and more $66,000 through the Destination Marketing Organization grant aimed to support the tourism industry.
“Grant funding has provided a major boost to Sun Prairie businesses, event venues and restaurants,” Williams said. “Not only did the funds allow businesses to stay open during the pandemic, funding has allowed proprietors to bring their products and services to market.”
Williams said they were able to use the grants to renovate their historic downtown building and rebrand Corn Fest. The funds also allowed them to promote it as their largest community festival.