In 1999, the organization known as the Central Business Council – an ad-hoc group comprised primarily of downtown retailers and business owners – worked with the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce in an effort to create a downtown Business Improvement District. Following Wisconsin rules governing BIDs, the business council and the Association of Commerce gathered enough signatures from downtown property owners in a petition drive to prove majority concensus in creating the BID. On September 22, 1999, the Fond du Lac City Council approved the BID. At that time, the stated mission of the BID was to develop downtown Fond du Lac into a place that is supportive of professional, business and institutional services, specialty and retail stores, the arts and government.
Shortly thereafter, a nine-member BID board was formed with representation from property values large and small (as outlined in the new organization’s bylaws). On January 1, 2000, the Downtown Fond du Lac Partnership – the name for the organization chosen by the BID board for promotional purposes – launched operations at the Association of Commerce. The DFP is the governing body of the BID. Hereafter, the name DFP will be used synonymously with the BID.
The DFP board created an organization chart modeled after the national Main Street Program’s Four Point Approach. The DFP applied to and was accepted into the Wisconsin Main Street Program in July 2004.
The DFP is now governed by an eleven-member volunteer Board of Directors. Funded by the business district special assessment, contributions from the City of Fond du Lac and sponsorships, the DFP works to establish a diverse, prosperous and healthy district that is the social, commercial and cultural heart of our community.
As of January 1, 2013, the DFP became an independent non-profit organization. The DFP employs two paid staff members and is organized into volunteer committees that break down the tasks of the organization.
District boundaries are roughly, Main Street from Follett Street on the north to Ninth Street on the south, and encompassing several side streets east and west of Main.