By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Main Street Marshfield was founded in 1990 as a non-profit organization designed to revitalize the downtown Marshfield area.
Executive Director of Main Street Marshfield Angela Eloranta likened the role of her organization to that of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry but with a more specific focus on the downtown area.
“We’re similar in the way that we work to retain and recruit and we do events,” Eloranta said.
Eloranta said that a large part of her work is dedicated to finding outside businesses that could possibly be a fit to relocate to Marshfield and also speaking with current downtown businesses to see how to best assist them.
“We need (businesses to stay) in the downtown so we can continue what we do and to have a successful, vibrant downtown,” Eloranta said.
Main Street Marshfield will be an integral part of continuing to develop a vibrant downtown as the organization collaborates with the city on the Downtown Master Plan. Adopted in 2006, the Downtown Master Plan is currently being updated, said City Planner Josh Miller. The plan guides the vision for further developing downtown Marshfield.
The city is using a website, marshfield.mindmixer.com, to allow citizens to contribute their ideas for features they would like to see in the downtown area. Consultants hired by the city to help with the Downtown Master Plan suggested the site as a way to involve the public in the planning.
“It’s meant for us as planners to pose questions or ideas and have the public respond. It’s similar to a blog or comment section on a website where people can comment and respond, but this website is focused on planning. So it has the potential to allow the public to really nurture a concept and help expand upon it as more people comment,” Miller said.
In addition to the website, citizens will be able to give input on the direction of the Downtown Master Plan at three open house-style meetings on Nov. 20. The meeting times will be from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. at City Hall in the first floor conference room and also from 6-8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in Marshfield.
“The open house will be a come-and-go-as-you-please-type of meeting, and we won’t have any formal presentation. We will have a number of stations that will be tended to by staff and the consultants.
“Each station will have a combination of maps, renderings, photos, and narratives where people will be able to ask questions or provide comments about a variety of topics ranging from design preferences to redevelopment site ideas. Everyone is welcome and can stop by for a few minutes or longer if they want to go through all the stations,” Miller said.
The city has also created an online survey for residents to give their input on the future of the downtown, which can be found at surveymonkey.com/s/plandowntownmarshfield.
Eloranta said Main Street Marshfield has been heavily involved in the Master Plan process.
“The city and Main Street Marshfield are working hand in hand with consultants to determine the best possible plan for the downtown’s future,” she said. “Right now Main Street and the city are working to get as much public participation and feedback as possible.”
The open house meeting at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center will be staged in conjunction with Main Street Marshfield’s Holiday Parade on Nov. 20.
The parade begins at 6:30 p.m., starts on Second Street, and travels down Central Avenue to 14th Street. Last year 45 floats representing different organizations and businesses participated in the event. The parade route ends at the Holiday Inn, where post-parade festivities will be held and where attendees will have the opportunity to attend the Downtown Master Plan open house meeting.
Santa Claus and The Madrigal singers from Marshfield High School will provide entertainment, and hot chocolate and cookies will be offered. There is no cost to attend the event.
For more information on Main Street Marshfield and their upcoming events, visit mainstreetmarshfield.com.