Have you ever thought about what made you stay around southwestern Wisconsin? Or how about what would make your life better? Will future generations enjoy and invest in it?
These are a few of the questions a regional project called Grow Southwest Wisconsin has in mind. While each person’s circumstances are unique, the issues people face in the southwest corner of the state are bound by common threads.
Over the coming months, professionals and residents alike will begin to critically think about what collectively makes Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, and Richland counties unique. And in the process, they will work out how residents and businesses can achieve an ideal future.
To do all this, Grow Southwest Wisconsin is bringing together more than 100 leaders from across the region this fall to discuss agriculture, business and industry, culture and creativity, education, energy and utilities, health and social services, housing, nature and environment, and transportation.
Each 2½-hour discussion will be held at the Iowa County Health and Human Services Building at 303 W. Chapel St. in Dodgeville. The public is invited to attend and weigh in on the discussion during a public comment period. These meetings are also a good place to simply learn more about each topic. All meeting dates and times are listed on the project website at www.growsouthwest.org. More public participation opportunities are also planned for 2013 as the project shifts gears to begin rolling out the necessary work tasks.
According to Doug Pearson, director of facilities at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, this project is a great way for the college to stay connected to the communities it serves. The college stands to benefit by ensuring its programs meet the identified economic and educational needs of employers, employees, students, and residents in southwest Wisconsin.
One of the project›s overall objectives is to improve the way people and organizations handle day-to-day activities. For example, could multiple groups team up to work on similar issues instead of doing so separately? Maybe someone has equipment or resources that others could utilize but do not know about. Perhaps the annual Southwest Wisconsin Day, to inform and lobby the legislature at the state Capitol about issues facing the region, best illustrates the benefits of strength in numbers.
The meeting schedule:
Sept. 26, Oct. 10, Oct. 24, Nov. 7: Agriculture, 5:30–8 p.m.
Sept. 27: Transportation, 9–11:30 a.m.; business and industry, 5:30–8 p.m.
Oct. 2, Oct. 16, Oct. 30, Nov. 13: Health and social services, 9–11:30 a.m.
Oct. 3, Oct. 17, Oct. 31, Nov. 14: Nature and the environment, 5:30–8 p.m.
Oct. 4, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15: Energy and utilities, 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; education, 5:30–8 p.m.
Oct. 8, Oct. 22, Nov. 5: Culture and creativity (room 1001), 5:30–8 p.m.; housing (room 2001), 5:30–8 p.m.
Oct. 9, Oct. 23, Nov. 6: Business and industry, 5:30–8 p.m.
Oct. 11, Oct. 25, Nov. 8: Transportation, 9–11:30 a.m.
Additional information about the project and upcoming meetings can be found on the project’s website, www.growsouthwest.org.