(WFRV) -- When it comes to picking a place to live, work and travel, a vibrant downtown is critical to the economic future of a community.
That is why this week dozens of leaders are meeting in the Fox Cities to pool their resources.
Many communities are finding creativity is the key to a thriving downtown
"It has been very successful. We have grown faster than we expected" says Daniel Holsen, Owner of Heavy Pedal Bicycles.
In fact the store expanded after just a year and a half in business, thanks in part to help from Mainly Manitowoc, a four year old non-profit.
"They helped us with our sign out front, our location, and also with our business plan" explaisn Holsen.
Reviving a downtown comes with challenges.
"We do have one way streets" says Jamie Zastrow, Executive Director of Mainly Manitowoc, Inc. "8th street is a main artery in our downtown. It spans both sides of the river so yes we have a south side and north side".
Thanks to grants from Mainly Manitowoc, established businesses are investing in thier curb appeal.
Downtown eye sores are getting a fresh coat of paint.
"We are in the process of creating our first mural in the downtown and we're hoping thats an annual event" says Zastrow.
Manitowoc is finding the arts are critical to success.
"Not just because we have a performing arts center, and museums and things like that but we have an awesome artist community" she explains.
Local artists are able to showcase in empty storefronts. It fills the space and gives people another reason to come downtown.
"I gotta say its a dream come true" says Holsen. We are really happy with how things are going and hopefully many more years.