Opportunity Winona is focused on helping create new jobs, housing, and commercial activity in the city’s downtown area
For more than 150 years downtown Winona has been a place that supports and connects the historic Minnesota community. Today city and community leaders launched a new effort to encourage investment in the downtown area that will create new jobs, housing, and commercial activity to the benefit of the entire community. Opportunity Winona is a new public private partnership focused on significant investments in public spaces and new development in downtown. The partnership brings together resources as never before from a wide array of community businesses, institutions, and governmental entities with a focus on the heart of the city.
“This is an important time for our community to bring public and private ideas and energy to downtown Winona,” said Winona Mayor Mark Peterson. “The City recognizes downtown as an important part of this community and is willing to make strategic public investments specially designed to encourage further private sector investment. Downtown Winona belongs to everyone. Opportunity Winona will bring new investment to help the city attract and retain jobs, residents, and energy to support Winona for years to come.”
Opportunity Winona is supported by a diverse group of public-private interests from across the community. The Winona Port Authority is managing the project and the leadership team includes the City of Winona, the Winona Chamber of Commerce, Winona Main Street along with others from the business, education and health care communities.
“We want young people to stay in Winona and retirees to stay connected. A more active downtown with more places to live, work, and have fun helps us make this happen,” said Michael Cichanowski, local business owner and President of the Winona Port Authority Board of Commissioners.
“The bigger goal is bringing together public and private sector funding in a way that creates the best possible result for all of Winona,” said Winona Mayor Mark Peterson. Opportunity Winona will also incorporate much of the work being done by the Winona Chamber of Commerce and the Winona Main Street Program. The Main Street Program has been focused on a variety of projects to promote the district, help retain businesses and coordinate events and other activities that are focused on economic development.
“We all understand how important it is for Winona’s downtown to continue to be an dynamic place that supports jobs, retail, and other activities,” said Della Schmidt, President of the Winona Chamber of Commerce. “Opportunity Winona is a way for us build on what is already working, look at ideas from other communities, and use all of this to help us create the right environment to build towards our future. We strongly support Opportunity Winona and know this is the right way forward for our city.”
Area of focus
Opportunity Winona is targeting the downtown area and will complement work taking place at the Interstate Bridge and Levee Park.
As part of the work, project staff will spend time looking at work done by other cities throughout the region to study the impact, examine how they were funded, and how the work was done. Staff will also engage existing businesses in the process to coordinate work they may be planning on individual buildings with other projects in the area.
“There is a lot of excitement and a strong willingness to work together from everyone involved,” said Lucy McMartin, Director of Economic Development for the Winona Port Authority. “Our hope is to connect what a business may be doing to invest in a specific building with work we can do on streetscapes or other activity to create an even bigger impact.”
Opportunity Winona is supported by the Winona Port Authority, the Winona Chamber of Commerce, Winona Health, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fastenal, Merchants Bank, Winona National Bank, Minnesota State Southeast Technical College, St. Mary’s University, Winona State University, HBC, Wenonah Canoe, Big River Magazine, Bluff Country Coop, Winona Sport and Spine, as well as by a number of other businesses across the city, joining the initiative today and in the coming weeks! People who want to be part of this effort are encouraged to visit opportunitywinona.com to sign up for updates and to get other information.
About Opportunity Winona
Opportunity Winona is a new public private partnership focused on significant investments in downtown Winona that create new jobs, housing, and commercial activity in the heart of the city. For more information, please visit opportunitywinona.com.