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September 20, 2017

kayla breese/River News

 Pedestrians make their way down Brown Street in Rhinelander Saturday perusing the sidewalk sales held in conjunction with a block party celebrating the completion of the $9.8 million downtown streetscape project.
kayla breese/River News

Pedestrians make their way down Brown Street in Rhinelander Saturday perusing the sidewalk sales held in conjunction with a block party celebrating the completion of the $9.8 million downtown streetscape project.
9/12/2017 7:29:00 AM
Community, merchants celebrate end of streetscape project with block party

Kayla Breese
Feature Writer

While the city of Rhinelander's streetscape project was occasionally hampered by wet weather, when it came time to celebrate the end of the project with a block party Saturday, Mother Nature provided beautiful sunshine.

A large crowd of people made their way down Brown Street, checking out sidewalk sales and tasting some of restaurant row's best dishes while their children enjoyed games and a bounce house.

Robin Harrison, treasurer of Downtown Rhinelander Inc. which organized the event, was pleased with the turnout.

"It's wonderful, both (DRI president) Jim Hext and I have been blowing up Facebook and it worked," she said, adding that the goal was to host a community-centered activity to celebrate the new look of the downtown.

"It wasn't to have another event where people could come shopping to or whatever, we wanted it to be a community event so that families could come and enjoy things," she said.

Diane Dodge, owner of Diane's Frame Shoppe, was pleased to see so many people downtown.

"I think, so far, it's going very well, we've had lots of people, they look like they're having fun," she said.

Like many others, Dodge said it's a good feeling to know that the streetwork is complete. She said she likes the new look.

"I think it's great, it's nice and fresh and clean, a lot of good comments, the sidewalks are big, we can put stuff outside," she said.

Mary-Jo Swearingen, owner of Denim and Leather Exchange, was enjoying the festive atmosphere.

"I think it's super, everybody's having a good time, lots of kids," she said.

She was surprised to see so many people congregating at the tables and was happy there were events for children.

Swearingen said she hopes a similar event will be held next September and noted she always appreciates the community's support of downtown events.

"I'm very happy to celebrate the completion of downtown," she added. "Downtown looks great, the project is complete and it was done nice and looks nice and fresh and clean."

Jim Goslin enjoyed the outdoor seating on a beautiful late summer day.

"It's always fun to come down (here)," he said.

Rod Ankrom was also out celebrating the completion of the downtown street project and was happy to see so many out as well.

"It's a wonderful event to get the people of the community together to celebrate something that has taken a long time to complete," he said.

He also enjoyed being able to eat and relax at the outside tables.

"We've seen so many people that we know up and down through the street," he said. "It's a wonderful idea. I think we should do this every year. It's great to have events and games for the kids and it brings out whole families to a wonderful, wonderful event."

Candy Noffs was soaking up the sun while she was at the event.

"I think it's a beautiful day for it," she said, adding that she was pleased to sit outside and enjoy the new downtown.

"I know it was a long project and I'm sure everybody's glad it's over," she said.

Kayla Breese may be reached at

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