We sat down with a Rajiv Singh & Alex Kudrna, two downtown Kenosha business owners and board members of The Kenosha Lakeshore BID to find out what’s going on in downtown Kenosha.
Q. Why did you chose Downtown Kenosha for your business?
ALEX KUDRNA of BACKYARD DREAM STUDIOS/THE O: I chose Down- town Kenosha due to the sense of community and the drive to make it a destination spot. Plus, we are only blocks from Lake Michigan with an amazing waterfront.
RAJIV SINGH of WYNDHAM GARDEN: The opportunity to purchase a hotel situated on the water of Lake Michigan was very appealing. Given its location, I saw an opportunity to add value to the property by expanding its services and offerings. I’ve been very fortunate to work with good people who share my vision for wanting to bring entertainment to the hotel, and more importantly are very capable of executing
Q. Why did you decide to join the BID (Business Improvement District) board?
RAJIV: The more Downtown Kenosha flourishes, the better it is for my hotel. Being a stakeholder in the community, having an oppor- tunity to serve was something I did not want to pass up. And being a part of the BID board has also given me an opportunity to meet many amazing individuals who are committed to Downtown Kenosha being successful.
ALEX: I was asked by the Mayor several years ago to join the board. I felt it as a calling to make a difference in the downtown and my op- portunity to work with other
business owners to accomplish a common goal. That goal is providing an experience for every guest that enters Downtown and providing resources to business owners.
Q. What do you love about being a business owner in Downtown Kenosha?
RAJIV: Downtown Kenosha has a lot to offer, and having a hotel here is a very unique experi- ence for me. The sheer number of events hap- pening in Downtown Kenosha is
always impressive, and I love the energy in town during the summer season. But the aspect I’ve found most appealing over these last five years is getting to know the business owners, local officials, and others in the community in the Downtown area. Having owned properties throughout the tri-state area in various markets, I can honestly say small business owners here are very engaged and legitimately interested in the city of Kenosha and its people.
ALEX: I love the community that downtown offers from the business owners to the tourists. You get a small town feel, in a big city. You will always see a friendly face willing to help and ask you about your day.
Q. Where do you see Downtown Kenosha in five years?
RAJIV: I believe small business is the
foundation for Kenosha’s future. Five years from now I see us being a stronger Downtown, bolstered by new developments, but still flourishing because of the hard work
of business owners contributing to our community. It is why people choose to come back to our town. I hear it all the time from hotel guests. People love our community and the people in it.
ALEX: I see Downtown only getting more pop- ular and busy. Downtown is growing rapidly and new people come in everyday. I hope to see every storefront filled with businesses and we have zero vacancies.
Q. What are some of the long & short term goals you would like to see get done during your term on the BID board?
RAJIV: Improving walkability and being more friendly for bicycles is something that I feel is important, especially given the advantage Downtown has with the Lake. We are working on getting new bike racks, and something I would love to see would be a service like Bublr Bikes in Milwaukee being in Downtown Kenosha. Improving lighting is also something I think could bring a lot of value. Finally, creating more destination points as reasons for people to visit is of interest. Ultimately, it is about creating additional reasons for more people to come visit our Downtown and spend their time with us.
ALEX: Long term goals are filling the vacant storefronts and continuing to grow downtown. Short term goals include; Bike racks, banners, and more events right In our downtown.
The Kenosha Lakeshore BID was created by the City of Kenosha in 1986 to allow businesses to develop, manage and promote Downtown Kenosha and to establish an assessment method to fund permitted activities. The BID Board meets each month, on the third Tuesday at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Downtown Kenosha at 8:30am. Meetings are open to the public.
Q&A and phots by Donny Stancato
Edited by Jason Hedman
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(This article first appeared in the Downtown Kenosha Magazine Summer 2022 issue)