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  • Writer's pictureBe Local La Crosse


I’ve lived in the Driftless Area for 21 years and have worked in Downtown La Crosse for 18. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I got truly engaged in downtown. It’s amazing how being intimately engaged in your community can change your view of it. The following feature was written by Julie Henline

Originally, becoming involved in Downtown was about better understanding the neighborhood and community where our business is located and giving back the talents of our employees. It has since become personal for me. It’s amazing how being intimately engaging in your community can change your view of it.

A phrase we use at work a lot is “perception is reality”. It’s a reminder that an individual’s perception, often, is their reality. It’s easy to be unhappy with your community and say “someone should do something about that.” One example of this is the frequent complaint that we don't have enough parking downtown. Through my role at DMI (Downtown Mainstreet), I’m involved in parking solution conversations and now have a much greater appreciation for the reality and economics of parking. It’s an area that I can now say with certainty, my former perceptions were not aligned with reality.

"There are so many wonderful people in La Crosse working together to deliver a safe, well rounded and vibrant place to live, work and visit." Julie Henline, Client Relationship Director at Gensler

I find enjoyment working with like-minded individuals who volunteer alongside me on projects that strive to make Downtown La Crosse a great place to live, work and play. While the past few months have been hard, I’ve been inspired by the empathy and creativity of everyone at DMI to be nimble in our support of local business and community.

The first DMI event I went to was a quarterly roundtable and Kay Mazza spoke about her experience in retail. I started shopping more downtown since then and have had lots of opportunities to interact with Kay. Last summer she asked my daughter and me to model for a fashion show for New Horizons. We had a great time!

I love art and live music and with DMI, I have an opportunity to help bring more of this to the community for myself and others to enjoy. Beyond art and music you’ll find me outside biking, hiking or foraging…which I bring inside to my kitchen in creative ways!



To learn more about Downtown Mainstreet, please visit the website

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