Wisconsin Mainstreet Awards

We are honoring our La Crosse 2019 Main Street Award winners during Wisconsin Main Street Days on July 8, 9, and 10th. Each community will be doing a local/virtual event to highlight their award-winning individuals, businesses, and projects. We are very proud of the Wisconsin State Award Winners from our La Crosse community.



La Crosse Volunteer of the Year – Jessica Kirchner

Jessica is an active and valued member of Downtown Mainstreet Inc. (DMI), La Crosse. She is not only Secretary of the Board, but also serves on the Executive Committee and is Chair of the Organization Committee. Her expertise in bylaws, organizational structure, and law has been invaluable, bringing a excellence and direction to the board. In addition to her DMI involvement, she is active with La Crosse City Vision Foundation, is Treasurer and Communications Manager for the La Crosse County Bar Association, coordinates, the State Bar’s high school mock trial competition, and volunteers at her parish.

Best Business Success Story – The Wedding Tree – Deb Lash-Stangel

Deb Lash purchased The Wedding Tree in 1996. From just two employees at the start, the business has moved to its new locations and grown to a staff of 20, and has expanded beyond basic bridal to offer prom, formal wear and menswear, and a 2014 upper floor renovation created a new wedding and event venue – The Court Above Main. Additionally, the store’s prominence in the industry has attracted other complimentary businesses, fostering the annual La Crosse Bridal Expo event. Beyond her business success, Deb has always been a community leader, serving on boards and committees for more than eight local organizations over the years.

Best Façade Renovation Over $25K – Thill & Lapitz Building – Mike Borgen and Marcus Zettler

This 1897 building, located on a highly visible site near the post office and county buildings, was a vacant eyesore for decades. Over the years, nearly all of its historic character had been stripped away and covered with stucco. In the 1920’s it was converted into an auto garage, and a concrete floor was installed. In the 1940’s or 50’s, two large bay windows on the upper floor were removed. The new owner Mike Borgen, decided to bring the building fully back to its original grandeur. The façade restoration included removing the stucco, revealing major brick damage, which was repaired. Amazingly, they reconstructed the bay windows, cornices, and storefront based on historic photos. The original cast iron columns, long hidden, were cleaned and repainted. A $20,000 Downtown Mainstreet Elevate Façade Grant helped to offset the $150,000 façade renovation costs. The reconstruction was so accurate, that the building is once again listed as a local historic structure. Project Partners: Brickl Brothers, Artisan Preservation Company, HSR and Marcus Zettler.

Best Adaptive Reuse Project – Landmark by the Rivers – Gail, Kristine and Sandra Cleary

For 22 years this 65,000 square foot historic building has been vacant on the north side of downtown La Crosse, adjacent to the Oktoberfest grounds and Riverside Park. The redevelopment of this building by the Cleary Family into a mix of uses with residential loft apartments anchors this side of the downtown. Landmark by the Rivers features 64 loft-styled apartments with rents ranging from $1,100-$2,600 per month. The 36-million-dollar project took advantage of historic tax credits and the WEDC Idle Sites Development program. This is a legacy project for the City of La Crosse and the downtown district. The impact of this project to the historic fabric of the community and the modern amenities provided for the residents are exceptional examples of historic restoration and adaptive reuse. Project Partners: Kraus-Anderson, The Sigma Group, Dimension IV, P&T Electric, Fowler & Hammer

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