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Officials tour Green Bay businesses that received ARPA funds

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September 9, 2022

GREEN BAY – Late last month, a handful of state and local leaders took time to tour some Broadway District businesses that received money as part of the state’s Main Street Bounceback Program and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) meant to help with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld said the tour was about highlighting small businesses’ perseverance.

“(It’s) about connecting with local business leaders, hearing their stories of how they persevered through the pandemic and how the pandemic assistance catapulted them back into this thriving mainstream we have in Green Bay,” she said.

Blumenfeld said Gov. Tony Evers made a combined $121 million investment in Green Bay as part of overall pandemic relief efforts, with businesses receiving a more than $20 million investment through ARPA funds, and more $1.05 million going to support local tourism.

The tour included stops at Copper State Brewery (and Voyageurs Bakehouse, each of which received pandemic relief funding through the Wisconsin Tomorrow Small Business Recovery and “We’re All In” Grants; and Cultivate Taste Tea, which was a Main Street Bounceback grant recipient.

Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich, On Broadway Executive Director Brian Johnson and representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation accompanied Blumenfeld on the tour, which Genrich described as a vital step in maintaining strong connections between local and state leadership.

“From the city’s perspective, we always enjoy the opportunity to showcase small businesses that are successful in the community,” Genrich said. “And so that’s one of the main purposes of the event, but then to also recognize the important policies that have been put in place by the State of Wisconsin to assist small businesses which obviously have had a difficult time going back the last couple of years navigating the pandemic.”

Kathy Blumenfeld is the Wisconsin Department of Administration secretary-designee. Heather Graves Photo

Blumenfeld said a big part of their job is not sitting in Madison, but getting out into all 72 communities – listening to what the needs are so that leaders can tailor policy and programs to help address the needs of the people, businesses and families.

“We’ve heard story after story – success stories and struggles,” she said. “But, I think Wisconsinites have that Midwestern work ethic, tenacity and perseverance to power through the struggles, and the pandemic relief in most cases came at the perfect time so that they could keep their staff continue, pay their staff and invest in new innovation,” she said.

The tour also included a visit to the Old Fort Square – the planned site for a proposed Public Market.

On Broadway Inc. was also an ARPA funding recipient through the Destination Marketing Organization grant aimed to support the tourism industry.

Blumenfeld also made stops in Sun Prairie and Wausau.

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