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New spots and a big donation: What we learned at the 2024 State of De Pere

Posted at 10:22 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 23:22:54-04

DE PERE (NBC 26) — The State of De Pere featured four main speakers: Definitely De Pere director Tina Quigley, De Pere Area Chamber interim president and CEO David Vander Bloomen, St. Norbert College president Laurie Joyner and city mayor James Boyd. Each speaker touted their organization's achievements in 2023 and 2024, with a few announcements and updates included.

  • Quigley announced the arrival of three new downtown establishments:
    • Blue Door Artworks is set to open on May 30
    • The Porch bar will open June 20
    • A bakery plans to open on the former Tazza Coffee site sometime in June
  • Joyner announced a seven-figure donation to the College, which came in from unnamed donors in recent weeks
  • Boyd said the Shopko site redevelopment site is set to break ground by the end of 2024
  • The City says the full event will be available for public viewing here shortly
  • Video shows renderings of the new Shopko site

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Did you miss the State of De Pere Wednesday night? Well don't worry — we were at the Mulva Cultural Center, and here's what we learned.

Nearly 200 De Pere residents filled the Discover Auditorium to hear updates from people like Definitely De Pere director Tina Quigley — who announced three new establishments downtown: Blue Door Artworks will open May 30.

"Downtown will soon be home to a vibrant new arts studio," Quigley said.

The Porch bar is on the way the month after.

"Be prepared to experience live music at our newest venue, opening June 20," Quigley said.

And a yet-to-be-announced local bakery is moving into the former Tazza Coffee space.

In higher education, St. Norbert College president Laurie Joyner announced a recent seven-figure contribution that came in from a donor couple — which Joyner hinted could go toward religious initiatives.

"The donor is very excited about mission integration at the college, so really trying to amplify our Catholic and Norbertine heritage," Joyner said.

This comes days after the college broke ground on a new business school building, months after laying off nearly 50 employees.

"But that is a completely different budget from the standard operating budget," Joyner said.

Mayor James Boyd was the last to take the podium at the State of De Pere, giving updates on things like the affordable housing initiative called Deeper Roots, which loans people up to $20,000 with 0% interest.

"The hope would be they upgrade their house, maybe in the future look to sell it — which opens up home ownership for other people," Boyd said.

Boyd says two homeowners have already been approved for the loans.

He also says the development of the former Shopko site is nearly a reality.

"There actually are six structures on the Shopko site," Boyd said, "so I think they're looking at possibly three of the structures will have shovels in the ground."

Including De Pere's first-ever parking structure.

The mayor says shovels on the Shopko redevelopment project should be in the ground by the end of 2024.