Incourage Community Foundation writes about their new approach to community development
I’ve been thinking about our community’s historical and current approach to economic development in light of recent attention to downtown Wisconsin Rapids. So much has changed in the last 20 years - yet many of the challenges remain the same.
In June 1996, our local newspaper printed an editorial entitled Common Vision is a Key to Progress Here, in which editors expanded on a resident’s earlier call for a community vision, common agenda and people working together. Editors commented on the need for collaboration and common vision for downtown development:
“Every community needs dreamers and thinkers – people of vision who can see what exists, offer suggestions for the future, and then chart a course for action. Sometimes, those people are governmental officials. Sometimes, they’re administrators or staff people who do planning as part of their jobs. But regular citizens can have the gift of this sort of ‘vision,’ too.”
In explaining the success of a community development initiative by SWC2000 to build athletic facilities, the editorial went on to share:
“…organizers realized that individually, it would be difficult to raise the money and get the work accomplished… But when they pooled their efforts, great things could happen.”
Further, “People knew the plan and were more likely to support it.”
The structure and underpinnings of our local economy have changed since the above referenced editorial was published 20 years ago – yet we are still today calling for common vision and collaboration in downtown Wisconsin Rapids.