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Economic Development determined to grow Lafayette County
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Abby Haas

DARLINGTON – It is really important to let others know what Lafayette County has to offer and that is just what long time Lafayette County resident, Abby Haas gets to do in her new position as the Economic Development Coordinator for Lafayette County.
Haas grew up in Darlington and went to college in Platteville, where she has a degree in Animal Science. During college, she began working in marketing and wanted to more in the marketing department and stay in the area. With this job, Abby is not only marketing different businesses and communities but also tying it all together to market the county as a whole.
“I didn’t know too much about economic development but am excited for this challenge,” she mentioned.
Haas has been working on updating the county website at the moment. She commented on how fast everything is moving and is hoping by the end of the year the county will have chosen a provider to help them create a website that will reach tourists and anyone looking at Lafayette County as a place to build a new business or make it their home.
“Since we live in the Internet age, it is important to have that website,” Abby said.
But getting the Internet is another story. She has been working on getting more money for broadband for the county. In January, the county will submit their third application for money. Broadband has only $7.5 million in the State’s budget, opposed to the $15 million it was supposed to have.
“It is going to be competitive again. We don’t have broadband in this county. We have people that work at home and have to come to the library just to get WiFi. It is really important and could bring more jobs to the area. If that money could stay in Lafayette County, that would be very beneficial,” Haas commented.
Along with the title as the Economic Development Coordinator, she has taken on the responsibility to help with the tourism aspect of the county. She addressed how other counties have been using a mapping system to show sites and things to do throughout the county.
“We could use the mapping software to show people how to find Amish farms. The Amish are a big draw for some people and we could show where to go for the best mums or what hours they are. We could tie that into farmers markets because they sell items there. We could look at the best birding spots or where is the best place to put a canoe into the Pecatonica River. It would be nice to tie in the ATV/UTV trails because they are a big draw around there. There are a lot of possibilities.”
But she can’t do it all on her own. Communities in the county can help by using word of mouth about how great their towns, villages or cities are.
“Everyone is so proud of their community and I want to help them. We can share what is happening in their community with different communities in the county so they can play off each other’s ideas and build up themselves. Brag. Brag about what you have and let me know. We want the newspapers to pick up articles about what we have to offer in little Lafayette County.”
Abby, along with her husband, Corey, are excited about the opportunity this position has for her and for the county. If you have an event or an idea that can help your community or the county, let Abby know and let’s keep growing Lafayette County.