The city of New Richmond's downtown facade grant program was recently recognized with a statewide award. The Wisconsin Association of Historic Preservation Commissions (WAHPC), a state organization affiliated with the Wisconsin Historical Society, recently recognized the city of New Richmond with an award of merit in the Economic Development category at its annual meeting.

"While New Richmond has seen a lot of changes and growth, the community strongly values its local history and small-town values and charm. These awards truly reflect the efforts of the entire community, especially our downtown business owners who have invested in their properties and are contributing greatly to our downtown's recent resurgence," said Director of Planning Noah Wiedenfeld.

In the past two years, the New Richmond has awarded 14 grants totaling nearly $40,000 to downtown businesses for façade improvements, which in turn has helped incentivize private investment approaching five times that amount. Façade grant applications are reviewed by the city of New Richmond's Historic Preservation Commission to ensure that the projects complement the historic downtown business district.

"The City Council, Historic Preservation Commission, New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce, Friday Memorial Library, New Richmond Heritage Center, and countless volunteers have also contributed greatly to these efforts in the past few years and have strong working relationships," Wiedenfeld said. "We look forward to continuing to work together to partner on projects, programs and events that celebrate our local history."

Wiedenfeld was also recognized with an award in the advocacy category for his support of local historic preservation efforts and the revitalization of downtown New Richmond. He played an integral role with the John Doar History Trail Community Celebration, the dedication of the city's second official state historical marker, the completion of the city's first intensive survey of historic properties since 1983, and several downtown revitalization efforts.

The WAHPC was established in 1985 and consists of landmark and historic preservation commissions, their members and staff, and local history advocates throughout Wisconsin.