GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Acknowledging the impacts of the pandemic – but looking forward to a much brighter future. That was the overall message to those assembled for the annual State of the Broadway District address.
Since 1996 Larry Frye has been operating his String Instrument Workshop here in the Broadway District. But at the height of the pandemic, he says Broadway resembled a ghost town.
“People were taking the advice to stay at home and isolate, which is good for public health, but not for business,” said Frye.
But as challenging as 2020 was, Brian Johnson from On Broadway, in his State of the Broadway District annual address, told attendees better times are ahead.
“We’ve seen more than double the number of businesses that have opened than would have closed. And in the Broadway District we’ve probably outpaced those average numbers,” said Johnson.
“The next couple years, in particular, are going to be really exciting,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich.
Johnson told those gathered that plans are in the works to bring some events back to the district, which in turn bring potential customers to these businesses.
“We’re excited to report the Farmer’s Market on Broadway will be coming back to Broadway,” said Johnson.
Also planned Fire Over the Fox, but fireworks only. As for the fate of Taste on Broadway and Ignite Market, planning is still very fluid.
“It seems kind of weird to come before you and say hey, here’s what we’re working on, we don’t know what’s going to happen, but those are the state of affairs today,” Johnson said.
But more public art is definitely in the district’s future, along with a possible mural festival, rotating sculptures and more.
“It is our expectation that we’re going to invest 100-thousand dollars in public art initiatives,” said Johnson.
Along with some 575 new residential units planned or under construction.
“I think the investment is very wise. I think what we put into this, we’re going to more than get out of it,” said Alderperson BIll Galvin.
Yes the pandemic has been hard, but city leaders see an end. So too Broadway business owner Frye, who feels very optimistic.
Johnson says the city also plans to make the district more accommodating to cyclists and pedestrians.