Downtown Summit Agenda

Wednesday, October 26- Preconference

3:00 PM      Hotel check-in begins at Radisson La Crosse
Stay the night prior to the conference in downtown La Crosse at a discounted rate. $99 single room / $119 double room when you mention the code ‘SUMMIT’. Book by September 26 to receive the conference rate.

5:30-9 PM     Welcoming Social & Dark La Crosse Walking Tour
Presented by the La Crosse Convention & Visitors Bureau

Welcoming Social: Join us for a networking reception at The Court Above Main, 420 Main Street. Take the side alley entrance door and up the elevator to the bar on the third floor of this historic building. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Take the Dark La Crosse Tour at 7:00 PM. Explore downtown La Crosse’s dark past as you tour the historic red light district while learning about Prohibition, small town politics and vigilante justice for a once restless river town on the banks of the Mississippi. Tour will depart at 7:00 PM. Attend the networking reception before and after the tour. $5 per person; must register in advance.


Get the most out of the WDAC Fall Summit by following one of our recommended tracks, based on your professional goals. Look for one of the three track symbols on the agenda during concurrent sessions: Economic Development, Livablity/Inclusion, Community Branding.

8:00 AM           Registration and Networking Breakfast

8:30 AM           Welcoming Remarks
Presented by Robin Moses, Executive Director, Downtown Mainstreet, Inc.

8:45 AM           WDAC Annual Meeting & Report
Presented by Beth Weirick, WDAC Board President & CEO, Milwaukee Downtown

9:00 AM           Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Remarks
Presented by Tricia Braun, Deputy Secretary & Chief Operating Officer, WEDC

9:15 AM           Keynote Address—The Future of the American Downtown
Ben will share exciting innovations, creative solutions, and begin to look into the future of our downtowns in Wisconsin. Pulling from on the ground experiences in almost 500 communities across the nation, this fast-paced keynote will get you excited about your downtown district. Presented by Ben Muldrow, Partner, Arnett Muldrow & Associates

10:15 AM         Coffee & Networking Break

10:30 AM         Breakout Sessions – Choose One to Attend

#1: The Livability Economy: People, Places and Prosperity
Presented by Bill Armbruster, Advisor, AARP Livable Communities

#2: Conducting an Inventory of Your Downtown
Presented by Melissa Kono, Community Development Educator, Clark County UW-Extension

#3: Placebranding: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
Presented by Ben Muldrow, Partner, Arnett Muldrow & Associates

11:30 AM         Networking Lunch & Keynote Speakers

Noon        Wisconsin Legislative Updates from 2016
What are the issues facing Wisconsin cities and villages, and how are local communities responding? The Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities will present an overview.
Presented by Jerry Deschane, Executive Director, League of WI Municipalities

12:30 PM  Charting the Course in La Crosse
La Crosse’s downtown is experiencing an investment boom unlike anything in the past 60 years. Learn about the public-private partnerships that are making it happen and how the City’s commitment to planning and aggressive public financing has led to the modern revival of downtown La Crosse.
Presented by Jason Gilman, Director of Planning & Development, City of La Crosse

1:00 PM          Panel Discussions – Choose One to Attend

Panel #1: Building Bike and Pedestrian-Friendly Downtowns
Presented by panelists from the AARP, Wisconsin Bike Fed (presentation),  University of Wisconsin -La Crosse (presentation), and healthTIDE (presentation).

Panel #2: Growing Your Municipal/Downtown Presence Online
Presented by panelists from Redevelopment Resources, Discover Wisconsin television show, BRING, and the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

2:00 PM          Snack Break & Roundtable Discussions
Small talk with a purpose. Help yourself to some refreshments and find a table of your peers to further discuss a topic that relates to your community. Tables are marked accordingly with their topic. Feel free to visit more than one table!

2:30 PM          Breakout Sessions – Choose One to Attend

#1: Personalized Customer Service
Presented by Patrick Nehring, Community Development Educator, Waushara County UW-Extension

#2: Downtown and Business District Market Analysis— A Hands-On Workshop Presented by Bill Ryan, Community Business Development State Specialist, UWExtension, Jessica Beckendorf, Community Development Educator, Waupaca County UW-Extension and Steven Chmielewski, Community Development Educator, Waukesha County UW-Extension.

#3: Connect 20/80: A New Approach on the Americans with Disabilities Act Presented by Patrick Hughes, CEO & Founder, Inclusion Solutions

3:30 PM         Door Prize Drawings for Attendees & Conference Conclusion