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Another Main Street revival

The 102 E. Main Street building, on the left, is being renovated and will be open for commercial use below and apartment rental above. The next door building is slated for a makeover next year. James Card Photo

102 E. Main fixed up, 104 is next

By James Card

Another old building on Main Street is coming back to life, adding to the momentum to the rejuvenation of downtown Weyauwega.

This year the momentum got a big boost when Brad Leonhardt took over and repaired the 118 E. Main St. building – the end to a year-long struggle of the city trying work with neglectful out-of-town owners to do something with the historic building.

Main Street momentum was also bolstered in 2023 with the opening of the Weymont Food Pantry, Silverback Strength, Dahlke Life Celebration Center, Main Street Klippers and Heckey’s Computer Service and Vacuum Repair.

The next building getting a makeover is 102 East Main St. Long ago it was the home of Coast to Coast, a hardware store that was part of the True Value Company. It held other businesses over the years and most recently it was the office for Ralston Realty.

It was purchased in foreclosure five years ago by Steve Liebe and his wife Terrie Tews-Liebe.

“We gutted everything right down to the studs. We had to replace about 70 percent of the floors joists. It was in bad shape. We had the buildings in back torn down. It was like an add-on building but it was added-in poorly. It was full of junk and it had so much damage so we had Brad Lind Excavating some and tear that off the back. We own 104 Main, the little brick building next to it. We had the add-ons on both of those buildings taken off,” said Tews-Liebe.

The first floor will be a commercial space and the upstairs will be two apartments: a two bedroom with a bonus office space and a two-bedroom apartment.

The apartment renovations should be finished by the first of April. The first floor commercial space is more open ended. New windows and lighting were put in. The front of the building will be completed in the next two weeks.

The project was helped with a $93,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

“Weyauwega’s a great little city and I think it will continue to come back. I think more people are starting to shop small towns. I think if you continue to promote small towns I think people will start to shop there again. I think places like Amazon—even though they are great—will start raising their prices as time goes on. I think online prices will continue to rise to people will come back to the small towns if we can get going what needs to be done and continue to strive to offer that infrastructure and things that small communities need to build on for the people,” said Tews-Liebe, who was born and raised in Weyauwega.

The building next door, 104 East Main, is slated to be renovated by next spring. Tews-Liebe expects that project to be easier as it is just commercial space and no apartments.

“I’ve going to leave it open and try to find a renter. I hate to close up the walls and then some comes in and needs plumbing here and plumbing there. I’m hoping to advertise it to help you build it to your needs. It seems like more people want to rent rather than own the building. It takes up a lot of capital for them to put up. I’m hoping to attract somebody with some retail,” said Tews-Liebe.

“Each city has to find its own niche. I notice that when I go to a lot of small towns they have something that brings you in. I’m hoping Weyauwega can find that again and bring the people in. That highway is going right past Weyauwega and there’s no reason why we can’t be bringing people off that highway even if it’s just to have an ice cream and walk downtown Main Street,” she said.

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