All the hard work of the Soldiers Grove community to clean up after the August 2018 floods came to a tangible head at the Soldiers Grove Village Board meeting on Thursday, June 6. Desperadoes Wonderbar Bar & Grill, and the American Legion Post 220 presented the board with two checks from funds raised for flood recovery.
Brian McCormick and Julie Ruef from the Legion handed the board a check in the amount of $13,600. The funds were raised at a fundraiser held on Saturday, May 4, that featured a dunk tank, pie contest, decorated bike contest, various raffles and food. The group had previously raised and donated $13,525 for flood victim relief in the late summer of 2018.
Kathleen Sobek, co-owner of Desperadoes Wonderbar Bar & Grill, was on hand to make a $750 donation to the village for flood recovery. She also presented the village with a $725 donation to the North Crawford Rescue Squad. The funds were raised through selling raffle tickets for prizes at the business’ grand opening held on Saturday, May 18.
Jim Bowman of Driftless Development addressed the board about plans for economic development in Crawford County. He said that the success of the two new businesses in Soldiers Grove debunks the myth that the work of his organization would be “all about Prairie du Chien.”
Bowman explained the history of how Driftless Development, Inc., (DDI) had formed by the merging of Crawford County Economic Development Corporation and Prairie du Chien Economic Development Corporation to improve efficiency, avoid duplication and conduct more meaningful business and community development services. The initiative was fueled through $80,000 in funds paid annually by the Ho-Chunk Nation to the county.
Bowman emphasized to the board that there are “many other opportunities for Soldiers Grove,” and asked the board to consider making a monthly donation to the effort as a way of giving back for the support DDI has already given the village.
He said that development in the county will have two focuses: community development and business development.
Community development will involve making public improvements to become more attractive to businesses, and the glue that will make it work is good leadership.
Business development will take three forms: attracting businesses, which is the most expensive; business expansion and retention; and fostering start-up businesses.
DDI has conducted both a market and a housing study for the county, both of which include Soldiers Grove. In the report, it lists DDI’s ‘Pathways to Progress,’ which are:
• More young people
• More housing
• Improving schools
• Jobs and trades
• Revitalized downtowns
In other business, the board:
• heard that regular payments are being made on all of the village loans;
• heard a report that the Money Market account contains $45,779.61, and the regular checking account contains $303.46;
• heard that various activities are being planned to mark the Soldiers Grove Library’s 50thanniversary;
• approved the Sewer System report;
• approved the sale of a village property to Ryan and Krystal Campbell;
• approved hiring two protection officers for Saturday night at Dairy Days;
• approved a $300 donation for the Gays Mills Fireworks;
• approved the annexation of Rick and Deb Olson’s property into the village;• approved liquor licenses for Country Gardens and Campbell’s, and cigarette licenses for Burkum’s and Campbell’s.