By Rick Cohler, editor
As the Village of Black Creek works on a comprehensive plan for the coming years, it will likely encompass some of the information and suggestions found in a document produced by University of Wisconsin-Madison student Taylor Polenske, through the university’s department of landscape and architecture.
Polenske produced a 74-page report titled “Bringing Back the Pulse: a Main Street Revitalization.”
“The client, Black Creek Business Association, aims to achieve the following through this capstone process. Creation of a master plan for the Main Street Business District that provides a focused and comprehensive plan that brings life and character back to Black Creek; increase public and private investments that pay back through customer interaction; and accommodate for pedestrians, bicyclists, as well as vehicular visitors that will tie to the current trails and paths.”
Rod Lorenz is president of the Black Creek Business Association.
“I think that using some of the plan and what the village is doing within the next 10 years, maybe there can be some new businesses brought to town and make Main Street look a little nicer,” Lorenz said.
Lorenz said Black Creek has some strong positives for quality of life and work.
“For me it has been a lot of hard-working, loyal employees,” he said. “There is a lot of people dedicated to it. I live in Grand Chute now, but I don’t know my neighbors as well as when I lived here 25 years ago.”
The report states that “the site plan focuses in on the southern half of the business district between The Newton Blackmour Trail and Burdick Street. This region, shows a wide range in land use that can clearly represent the entire Main Street. The current location consists of businesses: BMO Harris Bank, BC Blumen Supply Shop, Jezeski Accounting & Tax Service LLP, Brick’s Club 47, BC Auto Body, Wickesberg Plumbing and Heating, and Wilderness Inn Restaurant and Bar, now Tundra Tiki.”
The plan suggests park space and parking connected to the Newton Blackmour Trail on the west side of Main Street.
The report also suggests new street lighting with one lantern over the sidewalk for pedestrians and another above for the highway. Pavers could be used for effect.
“This paver creates ties to the history of Black Creek, of its original economic driver and connects it to the current day. The paver offers the characteristics of recycled lumber, such that would be found on a railroad track, and still maintains the durability to last for years,” the report says.
The report says the village should take advantage of the Newton Blackmour Trail.
“While the connect has been well received, and has taken a tremendous step forward, there is little connection from this bike path to the downtown of Black Creek. This connection will be executed through bike lanes along Main Street which will give more visual to local businesses. Lorenz said he believes the village can incorporate some of the ideas in the comprehensive plan.
“We’re going to provide some input on some things to make Black Creek look nicer,” he said.
“This has to become a community involvement issue. The Business Association, by itself, will not be able to do it. The village along won’t be able to do it, but by combining efforts from the Lions Club, Black Creek Advancement and others, then you can start to make some improvements.”
Village Board President Steve Rettler said the village has just started to collect ideas as it begins updating its comprehensive plan.
“We’re looking 20 to 25 years down the road to see what the village might look like,” Rettler said.
Rettler said the village may consider some of the beautification ideas contained in the Capstone study as it moves forward.
By Rick Cohler, editor