News & Events

2021 WDAC Update

Happy New Year Everyone! The WDAC Board met last week to discuss our plans for this year. We discussed Creative Arts Month (more info coming soon), connecting with our members more, and a potential in-person Summit.  This year we are looking forward to creating unity and community! 

Andrea Gorman, National Youth Poet Laureate wrote and spoke a beautiful poem for Inauguration. Let her words inspire us throughout the year

A snippet from her poem: 

…We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful…


Downtown Summit

The Board misses you and we were sad not to host the Summit in 2019. We chose not to have a virtual Summit last year because we truly feel that our Summit is about connecting in-person. In the coming weeks, we will discuss the potential of an in-person Downtown Summit in September/October. As 2021 progresses and we know more, we will move towards the correct path for holding an in-person Summit. Look for more information coming from us in the coming weeks to seek proposals for a Summit in your Downtown.


Welcome New Board Members

We have wonderful news to share with you. We are welcoming two new Board members with a desire to make a difference in their local as well as the communities throughout the state. Jason Illstrup, Downtown Madison, Inc President, and Steph Salvia, Executive Director of the Shorewood BID.  

 Jason said, “I want to create greater collaboration between Madison and Wisconsin’s fellow downtowns.  With so much happening across the country, we can all learn from each other how to reimagine our downtowns as vibrant and equitable places for our entire communities”. 

Steph said, “I fully support the mission and belief of the WDAC that vibrant downtowns are critical to the economic sustainability and overall attractiveness of communities as places to live, work, visit and connect”.

If you are interested in joining our Board of Directors, message us on Facebook or our email. We have three open board positions at this time and will have two more positions available after the Fall Summit. If you feel that a board commitment is not right for you at this time, but want to contribute, there are opportunities to share what your community is doing by writing a short 300-500 word article about recent events or future events. The short article could be a summary of a longer article about your events.  

Member Survey

Finally, results from our member survey back in fall 2020 are included below:

 What concerns do you have for 2021?

  1. Budgets for the downtown organization (19.6%)
  2. Businesses closing in the downtown community (33.9%)
  3. Outdoor Space Utilization  (14.3%)
  4. Grants to keep downtown businesses afloat  (26.8%)


What topics/issues would you like to see addressed at a future summit? (The items below were equally important for the survey participants)

  1. Creative Uses of Public Space
  2. How to be a Winter City (provide outdoor activities during the winter)
  3. Networking Time
  4. Organization (Marketing, branding, online presence, volunteers, effective boards)
  5. Round table or panel Q & A
  6. Utilizing Social Media to Enhance Downtown Experience

Thank you, Katherine A. Westaby, AICP – WDAC Board President

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