Main Street Marshfield Board President Reflects on Wenzel Family Plaza

Proposed rendering from April 2017. Has since been updated.

Wenzel Family Plaza Groundbreaking Scheduled

Wenzel Family Plaza is scheduled to celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, September 8 at 10:00am. MACCI is hosting the event, which will take place in the 200 block, across from the Post Office. The groundbreaking will be live-streamed on MCTV.

Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI) released the following information about the event:

Downtown is a dynamic mixed use center and the heart of our community. More than any other part of the city, downtown defines Marshfield and embodies its character, history, culture, and commerce. Marshfield will continue to sustain and build upon those assets and qualities that make it a distinctive and cherished part of the community: its urban character, history, cultural resources, welcoming businesses, people, and diversity of uses.

These efforts will be carried out through a partnership of city officials, community and business organizations, business leaders, property owners, and others committed to strengthening the social, cultural and economic position of the downtown. Together, we will make downtown Marshfield a more welcoming, attractive and vibrant place to live, work, shop, learn and play.

The Wenzel Family Plaza will create a centerpiece for the community in the core of Downtown Marshfield. This multi-use centerpiece will provide a year round gathering space for the community, a place for the arts, events, families, lunch hour gatherings, relaxation, and entertainment.

Some of the features and uses include a performance stage for outdoor concerts, a visually appealing water feature for kids to cool off in the hot summer days, dining and seating areas, parking for the plaza and the surrounding downtown area, an area for a large winter ice rink, outdoor farmers markets, a large recreation area, and much more.

Main Street Marshfield Board President, Erin Howard, released the following letter on Tuesday, September 5 about the Plaza:

Hello Everyone!

As you may already know, last week it was announced that the construction of the “Wenzel Family Plaza” is moving forward this week! I’m so excited to see the plaza start to take shape!

With any construction project, there are always a few temporary sacrifices we’ll have to make to give the workers some room to do their jobs. For one, we may have to park a little farther away from where we work, live, or shop. Today, the workers will be putting a fence around the parking lot. So, starting today, please do not park in that parking lot. If you have a parking permit from the city, it is good at any city lot. The city is encouraging the use of the Milwaukee Lot (5th and Chestnut) and the Omaha Lot (on Maple north of 4th Street) by providing free parking in these lots throughout the project.

I don’t want to ignore that there are mixed feelings out there in regards to the Plaza, and I want to be sensitive towards those who may still be unsure of it. I think 80 percent of the people in Marshfield love the idea and 20 percent don’t. There are strong feelings on both sides. However, the Plaza IS happening, so let’s focus on the positives:

It will be a great place to walk, take breaks, eat lunch, etc. There will be ice skating in the winter and bands during the summer. There will be farmers markets, craft shows, car shows, ice sculpting, and just about any other kind of event you can think of. With all of these events, there will also be food trucks as a another option for people who want to eat lunch outside or if you want to order lunch somewhere you can take it to the Plaza and eat in one of the dining areas!

As some of you may know Roger Brooks who came to our area not that long ago “secret shopped” our city and downtown. He has visited over 1500 communities in the US and he was the one who came up with the brilliant slogan “Water Park Capital of the World” for the Dells. He validated what many of us have been thinking about for years: whenever there is a community gathering space it creates a more thriving area to shop, work, play, and live.

He talked about how he visited 100 communities who were pondering the idea or were planning on having a community square and they all had the same common concern of parking. After those communities built their plazas, Brooks went back and surveyed those same 100 communities, and they found that the parking concern was no longer a concern for those communities because of the benefits they got from having a business near a community square. They all reported they had an increase in foot traffic, which meant an increase in sales, along with an increase in property values which meant a higher demand of people who wanted to move their business near the plaza or downtown. Overall, they were all very excited to see the impact their square had on them! This is exciting to say the least because this information validates what we are assuming will happen and makes it that much more exciting to see this happen soon in the heart of the downtown.

I truly believe our downtown can become a destination someday because we are centrally located in the state. Because of our location it is great for people holding meetings, conferences, sporting events, festivals, etc. I don’t want anyone to underestimate how retail, restaurants, professional services, and housing within our downtown already has and will have a lot more to offer. The potential is there, but I would like others to see in this vision as well.

People are not just coming downtown to buy products or eat, they come downtown for the escape, the environment, the EXPERIENCE. Which is what I want to give all of you credit for. It is your personalities, your hospitality, how you make your space inviting, the music you play in your space, and the personable touches you add are what makes you different from “big box” stores and online stores. Please honor that, OWN it, and use it to your advantage!

One of the benefits you have that other businesses outside of the downtown do not have is a group collaboration. We can all work together in our marketing efforts, advertising efforts, and giving the customers who stroll downtown a personable feel that they cant experience online or if they were outside of the downtown.

Main Street Marshfield, MACCI, City of Marshfield, and CVB all have come together more than we ever have before because we are recognizing this and we all have the same common goal which is to make our city an inviting and exciting area to live and to explore.

I am very excited about this collaboration, and I am asking all businesses and property owners to be excited too so we can all work together to achieve this goal, we can’t do it full out without the support, drive, and spirit which I believe you all possess!

Thank you everyone for reading this and please know we are all here to help you in anyway we can!


Erin Howard
Board President of Main Street Marshfield
LMH Properties-Owner

News Desk
Author: News Desk