Ashland City leaders are joining state officials today in celebrating the successes of the city's downtown businesses. It's all happening as part of the state's Second Annual Main Street Day celebration.
Ashland is one of eight cities across Wisconsin being highlighted for the successes of the city's downtown businesses.
"Downtown is vibrant and you can see how many small business owners have been making the commitment and the choice to go to downtown Ashland to grow the jobs that they know will never be offshored," said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
Officials say Ashland's Main Street is preparing for three new businesses including in one case a third generation of family members as the management team.
"Our main street is alive and well. We do a lot of downtown promotions. We have movies in the park, we have all of the wonderful flowers on main street. The all the new businesses coming to town is really exciting and we just keep bringing in more and more different lines through the store, so we're giving back more to the community this way," said Steve Moore.
According to the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce Ashland is 98 percent locally owned and operated with a diverse mix of businesses.
"We have a really good mix of residential, commercial, retail, and professional services and government buildings. So we have a lot of activity downtown and that's what you really need these days is activity," said Mary McPhetridge.
They even have a hotel coming, The Cobblestone Hotel is expected to open later this year.
"It is a $7 million project and it's 52 rooms and it's gonna be a great asset to our downtown," said McPhetridge.
Since the state's Main Street Program began 30 years ago, officials say communities across the state have created 2,600 new businesses and nearly 15,000 jobs.
Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says Ashland's downtown is vital.
"I think if you lose an essential thread in the fabric of a community if you don't have a downtown, a meeting place a social center well then a community becomes kind of separated," said Kleefisch.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation says they've also renovated hundreds of buildings and generated more than $1.5 billion dollars in investments.