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SWWRPC awards Grow Southwest Wisconsin grants
Sinsinawa Dominicans, Folklore Village get funds
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Four projects led by non-profit organizations in Southwest Wisconsin will receive staff support to implement the goals of the Grow Southwest Wisconsin plan.

Projects were selected throughout the region to contribute to the implementation of goals from across nine topic areas, including: agriculture, business and industry, culture and creativity, education, energy and utilities, health and social services, housing, nature and environment, and transportation.

These projects also will support the three Grow Southwest Wisconsin overarching regional priorities — improve regional collaboration, communication, and awareness of resources in Southwest Wisconsin; brand and market the unique character and attractions of Southwest Wisconsin; and preserve, sustain, and manage Southwestern Wisconsin’s agricultural and natural resources

To implement the goals crafted by approximately 100 participants in the fall of 2012, the Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission released a request for projects in January 2013. goal of the Grow Southwest Wisconsin Capacity Building Assistance program is to assist local communities in launching projects that will move the community and region towards achievement of the Grow Southwest Wisconsin goals.

The Sinsinawa Dominicans requested assistance for strategic planning, land use planning, and facilitation. A goal of the strategic planning at Sinsinawa is to identify future uses for the Mound complex land and facilities — which includes 450 acres of woodlands, prairie, orchards, vineyards, gardens, agricultural lands and facilities, as well as, housing, and conference and meeting facilities — and how they might best serve the needs of this local area over the next 20 years.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Sinsinawa to become more connected with others in the Southwest Wisconsin community and to work together toward a sustainable future that cares for people and the planet,” said Julie Schwab, a member of the Sinsinawa Dominican Leadership Council.

This project will address all three of the regional priorities identified in the Grow Southwest Wisconsin planning process, as well as goals in nearly all of the nine Grow Southwest topic areas.

Driftless Area Land Conservancy is currently working to create a conservation priority map for Southwest Wisconsin, which will assist them in their upcoming strategic conservation planning efforts. Their project will work towards realizing goals in the areas of agriculture, business and industry, culture and creativity, education, energy and utilities, health and social services, and nature and the environment, as well as all of the overarching regional priorities.

The SWWRPC will assist in creating this map, and will also create an online mapping tool identifying Driftless Area Land Conservancy’s conservation lands. The mapping will also help the Driftless Area Land Conservancy to better understand the socioeconomic and demographic inequalities in the region to better identify where need may exist for better access to conservation lands. The goals of this project are to provide strategic focus for land and water conservation efforts; to make land conservation and natural resources more accessible to the people of Wisconsin; and to identify new opportunities for community engagement and partnerships.

The Folklore Village Local Foods Festival will address goals in the topic areas of agriculture, culture and creativity, health, and nature and the environment. SWWRPC will assist Folklore Village with the planning and coordination of the local foods festival, including marketing and advertising, procurement, project management, building partnerships, and looking for funding to make this an annual event.

“Receiving this assistance helps make a large project feasible, so we’re grateful to SWWRPC for the assistance because I don’t think a local foods celebration event on a regional basis could be done without their help,” said Rick Rolfsmeyer, Executive Director of Folklore Village. “Their staff is skilled and will assure a successful event. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows the event itself only lasts for a short time but the planning takes months and lots of work.”
Folklore Village is a nationally recognized folk arts and culture center dedicated, to enriching lives through time honored traditions. Since 1968 thousands of people of all ages have come to Folklore Village. This project will be completed in collaboration with UW-Extension Iowa County.

The SWWRPC will assist Neighborhood Housing Services of Richland County with the project Home Ownership Programs of Excellence, including capacity building and public outreach to guide the creation of an innovative neighborhood association in the Haseltine neighborhood of Richland Center. SWWRPC will work with NHSRC and local neighborhood volunteers to develop a neighborhood association business and organizing plan. This process will be documented and will produce a guide which can be used by other communities in the region interested in creating neighborhood associations. The HOPE project will address Grow Southwest Wisconsin goals in the following areas: Housing, Education, Culture and Creativity, and Energy and Utilities. The HOPE project is supported by the Richland County Board.

“We are honored and very pleased to be a Grow Southwest Wisconsin Capacity Building Assistance grant awardee,” said NHSRC Executive Director Terry Testolin. “We look forward to working together with SWWRPC on this grant and in the future on community building initiatives that improve neighborhoods in Richland County and cultivate affordable housing, economic development, and stronger public/private partnerships across southwestern Wisconsin.”