CUBA CITY—“Thriving communities don’t just happen on their own,” Jason Scott of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) said at Friday’s ceremony recognizing individuals and businesses who contributed to improvements in the Cuba City community that earned the city a Downtown Revitalization Award from the WEDC.
Scott said thriving communities require a commitment from many people as well as a shared goal or purpose to make big things happen.
More than 100 people attended Friday’s event at Banfield’s Swiss Haus. All of the nominees for Cuban of the Month, published in the Tri-County Press from October 2015 through last month were recognized for their individual volunteerism to help improve the community.
“These individuals are the kind of volunteers any Main Street would be happy to have in their town,” Donna Rogers, president of the City of Presidents organization, said. “They have given tireless volunteer hours to help make Cuba City a better place to live.”
Rogers was presented with an award for the City of Presidents’ contributions to the city’s ongoing beautification initiative.
Tim Gile also accepted a plaque on behalf of the Cuba City Chamber of Commerce for its assistance in funding some of the city’s projects.
Honored guests at the ceremony included State Representative Howard Marklein, Grant County Board Supervisor Bob Keeney and Mark Tallman and Scott of the WEDC.
“Tourism is all about the people and welcoming them,” Andrew Nussbaum, regional tourism specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, said. “The longer we keep them here, the more of a financial impact they make on the community.”
Through its Main Street and Connect Communities programs, the WEDC provides resources such as online learning, networking, workshops and partnerships for communities. Cuba City has been a part of the Connect Communities program sine 2014. Since then, the city has participated in the First Impressions program, improved its curb appeal and improved marketing efforts.
“This can’t be accomplished by one individual,” Scott said. “You should be proud of what has been accomplished.”
Representatives of Cuba City accepted the award for best revitalization initiative for a community under 5,000 people at a ceremony in Wisconsin Rapids on April 7. The WEDC recognized the efforts by Wisconsin Main Street volunteers and staff for their historic preservation and downtown economic development efforts of communities in Wisconsin in 2016.
Cuba City had many different facets that contributed to the winning award, including the façade improvement program, street resurfacing, new flower pots, the relocation of the historical Cuba City State Bank clock, new presidential shields and flags, cleaning and painting of the presidential caboose and new LED street and Christmas lighting.
Cuba City Economic Development Director Bob Jones said there were 14 different organizations that contributed to this recognition, including the City of Presidents Committee, Cuba City Chamber of Commerce, Cuba City Common Council, Cuba City Community Development Corporation, Cuba City Department of Public Works, Cuba City Utilities, Cuba City Downtown Task Force, Cuba City Garden Club, Cuba City Greenhouse, local businesses and commercial property owners, individual and corporate donors, WPPI Energy, WEDC Connecting Communities and Vierbicher Associates.
Rogers reviewed some possibilities for the Cuba City community to build on in the future, including a presidential museum and new businesses that tie to the presidential theme. She said she welcomes ideas to improve tourism in Cuba City.
“The future of Cuba City is solid as a rock,” Nussbaum said.