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Leader Says Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. Still Operating


Downtown Rhinelander is not dead.

That’s the message given to Rhinelander’s City Council this week.

The city is trying to work out a restructuring for Downtown Works program. Downtown Works is a business assistance program designed to match up potential business owners with willing lenders for low-interest loans. The restructuring is necessary as one member, the Cleary Foundation, has ended, and Downtown Rhinelander has lost some of its funding.

But DRI President Jim Hext told the council they are still alive… 

“….There are a lot of rumors that Downtown Rhinelander, Incorporated is defunct. We are not. We’ve never closed.NWe run seven main events in the downtown, we also too with two indirect events. We have an active Facebook page, website, mailing list…”

A majority of members of the Downtown group voted to stop assessing themselves and funding their portion of Downtown Rhinelander Inc. in 2016. That cut the budget by fifty percent.

Hext says they have been working to improve the downtown…

" We’ve run other programs in the downtown with the flower baskets, if you’ve seen them, where we keep them maintained and watered. We bought all of them through fundraisers. The Brown Street alley project, the alleyway we got the lights put into…”

He says they also contributed $26,000 to the holiday lighting effort. Hext says they have regular meetings with city officials and others. He says they have an active board of directors.

They want to maintain representation on the Downtown Works board.

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