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For Immediate Release: October 3, 2023
Contact: Barbara Behling

    Sun Prairie, WI…The renovation of the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce office at 109 E. Main St., Sun Prairie, is under way.
    When completed in January, the updated office space will have contemporary furnishings, a conference room, a visitors information center in the front vestibule of the building and be designed to handle construction of a future second floor.
    Plans for the office remodeling began in late 2018.
    “While the building was deemed structurally sound after the 2018 explosion,” remarked Christina Williams, executive director of the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce, “and blown out windows were replaced, several damaged features were not repaired.” The damaged included the large front awning, with lights that haven’t worked since the explosion, as well as door frames that are no longer plumb, a damaged ceiling and no hot water.
    The chamber building, then known as The Belda Building, was constructed in 1956. The Belda Building housed the Belda Real Estate and Insurance office as well as the Main Hair Salon.
    Seeking a new downtown Sun Prairie location, the chamber purchased the building in 1993. Remodeling at that time included new wood-style plank flooring, carpeting and paint.
    The renovated building will include updated wireless internet access, a new phone system, improved security features, new outdoor lighting as well as upgraded electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
    “We believe in a vibrant downtown and want to remain a vital downtown resident with modern, functional offices,” remarked Williams. “The new space will allow us to host monthly board and ambassador meetings along with reoccurring Corn Fest meetings. An added benefit for chamber members, will be the opportunity to use the Board Room for their gatherings.”
    But the chamber needs your help. Although it received a $172,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant in 2021 to help cover the cost for the remodeling, the chamber experienced supply chain shortages and price increases due to inflation that resulted in a final completion price of around $500,000 for the project. This includes funding for on-going maintenance and repairs.
    The chamber is already receiving assistance with the project: Board Secretary Jeremy Woldt, owner of Interiors by JW has donated interior design and architectural services and KONTEXT Architects has donated structural engineering services.
    Operation Fresh Start youth, who began demolition on Sept. 12, are providing framing assistance as part of a service partnership. Their program empowers young adults on a path to self-sufficiency through education, mentoring and in this case construction skills. The team worked onsite four days a week with a supervisor who was teaching them employable skills for the trades.
    The Chamber has an eye on sustainability during demolition and construction. During demolition, the metal was sent to a recycling facility. Habitat for Humanity received wall cabinets, light fixtures and select shelving. A local restaurant has repurposed ceiling tiles while theirs were on backorder for several months and furniture was donated to various businesses and non-profits. The team is also working with WPPI and Focus on Energy to incorporate energy saving systems.
    Others are also stepping up to help. The chamber received a Tourism Commission grant and recently a façade improvement grant from the Downtown Business Improvement District Board to enable the chamber office’s renovated façade to match Sun Prairie’s historic downtown with a contemporary flair.
    “We are asking Sun Prairie service clubs, former board members and the business community for financial gifts,” said Williams.
    Williams said the chamber will not conduct a large capital campaign to finance the chamber’s office remodeling costs, in order to avoid conflicts with other campaigns such as the one already under way by the Sun Prairie Library Foundation for the Sun Prairie Public Library expansion.
    The chamber has no debt, Williams said, and in order to avoid debt for the project, the chamber has set a fundraising goal of $500,000. A committee led by chamber employee Barbara Behling is working with volunteers on the effort. Payments to the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, may be made over two years and are payable by December 2024.
    During the remodeling, which is expected to be completed by mid-December, the chamber has relocated its office to the Community Room at the Sun Prairie Municipal Building, which is located at 300 E. Main St. in downtown Sun Prairie.
For more information about the new chamber building or related fundraising campaign, contact Behling by phone at 608-478-4623 or via email at

New Chamber office reception area:

New Chamber office meeting room:

Belda Building and Main Hair Salon (courtesy of Sun Prairie Historical Library & Museum):