Menomonee Falls and Rob Kos Entertainment will host events downtown
For Menomonee Falls to be a “true focal point for the community,” as Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said, the downtown needs to use high-quality events to draw people in.
He is convinced that Rob Kos Entertainment can do the trick.
The entertainment company will replace Felicia Reichard, who previously oversaw business improvement activities and downtown programming with the Business Improvement District and Menomonee Falls Downtown Inc.
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With the new contract with Rob Kos Entertainment, Fitzgerald is confident that Downtown will continue to grow in its programming and in the success of downtown businesses.
The entertainment company will oversee downtown programs, coordinate downtown marketing and support its operations, Fitzgerald said.
Rob Kos said he and Traci Cain, who is the Gathering on the Green program coordinator, will work together. Kos is also the executive director of the Thiensville Business Association.
“I think she (Reichard) did a fantastic job,” said Kos, who has also been a Menomonee Falls resident for 12 years. “It was really great to see everything in the village (last summer). Our plan is to continue what has been done.”
BID and MFDI will work more as one unit
Fitzgerald predicted that the BID and MFDI will be more cohesive and operate more as a single organization, rather than independent entities. He said each organization will have a volunteer board of directors and one member, Kristin Sobotka, will serve on both. Fitzgerald said it would help the two organizations work together.
“We didn’t have that before,” he said. “We have to make sure the communication is as good as possible.”
Fitzgerald noted that the BID is funded by corporate tax assessments, and that the MFDI, which has 501(c)(6) nonprofit status, is funded by revenue from beer gardens and sponsorships. MFDI, BID and funds through tourism, through hotel taxes, contributed to the $105,000 cost of the contract with Rob Kos Entertainment.
“I support this (agreement) very strongly,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it was too many tasks and too much (of a job) for one person. I think (using Rob Kos Entertainment) divides the tasks and the work better.”
Events to come
Fitzgerald predicted that the number of events in Village Park and downtown will increase quite a bit this year. Most of the previous programming will remain, such as major festivals, beer gardens and the farmers market.
Kos said the first event planned under the new partnership is the Falls Memorial Fest on May 28, an annual street festival on Main Street that includes live music, a car show and vendors.
Lavender Fest, which started last year, is scheduled for July 23. It will feature live music, artists, vendors and business owners who make and promote “all things lavender”.
Fitzgerald also said other events will be scheduled for Village Park in downtown Menomonee Falls, such as arts events and recreational events like yoga and Pilates.
Kos said the beer gardens will definitely return to Village Park this summer on Wednesdays, from June to October. He said about 20 of them are planned; each should include live entertainment.
Village Park was created last year as a $2.1 million project, including a multi-purpose plaza, performance stage, shelter with restrooms, landscaping and lighting features, gathering spaces and several electrical access points for event vendors.
A splash feature, an all-inclusive children’s playground, and upgrades to the tennis and pickleball courts are set to be completed this fall at the park
Sunset concert series expands
Kos said he plans to increase the Sunset concert series from four concerts to six.
Fitzgerald said Rob Kos Entertainment is the one doing this because of the work and reputation he has for coordinating Gathering on the Green.
Dates for the Sunset concert series are June 9, 23, July 14, 28, and August 11 and 25.
Support downtown restaurants
Kos said he would like to find a way to support local restaurants through events downtown.
One idea he had was to distribute menus with QR codes so people could easily order from local restaurants and then pick them up. He said that could be done instead of relying on food trucks.
Food Truck Friday, a new event, is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. from June 3 through October 3. 14 at Village Park, although neither Kos nor Fitzgerald will confirm whether they plan to proceed with this event. The event aimed to feature a different food truck each week.
Kos said that for now his goal is to meet with various committees and people who have participated in previous events.
“If we can continue to grow events and improve the business environment, we can have a very thriving downtown that people feel good about and stay central to Menomonee Falls,” Fitzgerald said.