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Thiensville gets serious about business

Village forms committee to help current, future entrepreneurs

Sept. 5, 2012

Thiensville - As and effort to bolster the village's downtown, the Village Board is creating a committee to analyze, and possibly recruit, businesses in the commercial district.

Trustees Kim Beck and David Lange have taken the helm of an as-yet unnamed committee that will be working to develop policy decisions as efforts to reshape Main Street pick up steam in the years ahead.

At a Village Board meeting on Tuesday, Beck said the committee will be focused on recognizing the existing businesses in the community while working to create a blueprint for the future. Board members favored the plans unveiled for the committee.

"I think this is excellent and very well thought out," Trustee Robert Holyoke said.

Establishing an identity

One of the committee's top responsibilities, early in the process, is to work toward creating a firm identity for the downtown shopping district. Discussion points will include the types of businesses that are perceived to be a good fit in the community and potential recruitment efforts.

Other plans include creating an incubator program that would give new, start-up businesses an opportunity to gain a footing with low- to moderate-cost rent. The endeavor could eventually include collaboration with nearby universities and colleges, as well as local organizations.

Beck and Lange said they also would like to create a survey for existing business owners. As proposed, it would touch on a number of questions, including current obstacles and an opportunity to rank the level of service the village offers.

The committee also could take up standards for signage - an issue that has proved to be hot-button in the past. But Beck said he does not envision it being a focal point for the committee.

The village in recent years has enacted ordinances that have forced some business owners to make changes.

"There were a lot of atrocious signs (before the ordinances), and they have been improved," Trustee Ronald Heinritz said.

Residents part of committee

While taking the issue up this week, the board favored a plan to have five residents be part of the committee. Members will include Jennifer Abraham, Jon Censky, Mike Goldberg, Nicole Schneider and Hugh Tewels.

"I don't want to give the impression this is a finished committee," Beck said. "There needs to be some expansion."

The committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting Sept. 18. Periodic updates will also be provided at Village Board meetings.

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