KIELER—Grant County tourism information is once again available to the 700 daily visitors of the Kieler rest area.
Located off Hwy. 151 Exit 1 at the intersection of Hwy. 11 near the Iowa and Illinois borders, the Kieler rest area has been without local tourist information for many years. The building is owned by the state of Wisconsin.
“At some point they closed everything except the restrooms and I’m not really sure why,” Robert Keeney, chairman of the
Grant County Board of Supervisors, said.
For the past two years, the Grant County Board of Supervisors has been working on a plan to better use the space to promote local events and attractions.
“We saw it as an opportunity to better promote Grant County,” Keeney said. “We don’t want to take any business away from the regional tourism site in Platteville, but we want to give more attention to our tourist stops along the river route, like Potosi, Cassville and Boscobel.”
The Grant County Board of Supervisors and Grant County Economic Development Corporation coordinated on purchasing a 55-inch TV screen to display digital advertising and promotions.
“We’re not doing this to generate income, but to generate interest in what Grant County has to offer,” Keeney said. “The state says we can’t profit, just promote.”
There are no other rest areas in Grant County.
“We mainly rely on the chambers and tourism council to promote our local attractions,” Keeney said.
He said they are discussing the purchase of a second monitor to display the local Discover Wisconsin videos and local community promotional videos.
Dan “Hedley” Bowden of Cuba City will be handling the advertising and digital promotions at the rest area. Bowden said the monitors are reserved for Grant County information and advertisers only. He anticipates promoting events like Platteville Dairy Days, the opening of the Cassville ferry, events at the Potosi Brewery and more. The event fliers will be surrounded by information from local advertisers, the local merchants who depend on traffic counts throughout the area.
“This is the gateway to Wisconsin as well as Grant County,” Keeney said. “It is a high visibility location. A lot of people stop there. Not everybody stops in Platteville if they’re heading north, so this is just one more exposure point we’ve got.”
Bowden said the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has embedded a travel monitor stripe to count vehicles that stop at the Kieler rest area. In 2015, it reported an average of 321 vehicles each day with approximately 2.2 people per vehicle, estimating 706 people visit the rest area each day. Some months are higher than others. In July, the cars add up to 429 each day for over 1,000 people a day. In 2015, the DOT estimated 257,690 people visited the Kieler rest area.
“Those numbers are quite impressive,” Bowden said. “It’s a good thing for Grant County.”
Throughout Wisconsin, at least six other rest areas owned by the state have been taken over by local visitor bureaus. Grant County signed a two-year contract with the state to use the building to promote Grant County attractions and events. With that, the county has created a policy for materials on display at the site.
-All materials in the rest area must be approved by Grant County prior to being displayed.
-Materials must be for Chamber of Commerce or community events or destinations.
-Posters shall have a minimum size of 8.5 inches by 11 inches and shall not exceed 18 inches by 24 inches.
-Maps, brochures and posters shall be professionally produced, printed and folded.
-Materials will be removed upon the completion of the event.
-Promotional materials should include a website, social media site or a phone number to contact for additional details.
-No materials from businesses or private individuals.
- No materials promoting raffles or lotteries.
Keeney said he, county board supervisor Dan Timmerman or Ron Brisbois, executive director of the Grant County
Economic Development Corporation, will need to pre-approve all materials that will be displayed or available to the public.
“We want to make sure we know what is going in there,” Keeney said. “We want it to be professional copies of promotional materials.”
There is no cost to the county for renting the facility. The state even pays for the electricity at the site.
“I’m excited about it,” Bowden said. “Being local, you never think of those kinds of numbers going through the area.
It’s big numbers. It was very surprising to me.”To promote an event or advertise your business, contact your local Chamber of Commerce or contact Keeney at 608-723-2711.