Village asked to join development group
"It makes sense to be part of it," Dave Thiel told the board during its Dec. 13 meeting.
The village board did not take any action on the idea.
"I think it gives us a lot to think about and talk over," Village Board President Dan Sambs said.
A group of municipal leaders from throughout Waupaca County started the corporation in 1995.
Thiel, who became the corporation's executive director in 2000, said he is the only person working full time on economic development in the county.
Initially, the corporation raised money from businesses and received matches from municipalities. "Then, we went to more or less publicly funded," he said.
Thiel said funds from the state and federal government become available for businesses in the county that want to expand.
They compete for those dollars, and as the loans are repaid, additional money is available for other business loans.
"I know you don't have a lot of industrial in your world," he told the village board. "You're tourism."
Thiel said that today's retail areas are not what they once were.
Many people commute to work and then, shop in the community in which they work. Others shop online, he said.
"You have to remake yourselves," Thiel said.
He said the village is involved in the countywide tourism project.
"When you pitch Waupaca County," he said, "you have to pitch all the assets in the county, to keep people here longer and move them from one community to another."
The county tourism project will include putting a strategic plan in place next spring that Thiel says will go out to a targeted market, using such things as You Tube and Facebook.
"We'll be measuring that, and you'll see the results of that. It's the first part of remaking yourselves," he said.
Thiel said the seven communities in the county that are represented on the economic development board want Fremont to be a member of it and not just involved in the county tourism project.
"Think it over," he said.
Village Trustee Per Dobbe said the village is not utilizing its commercial district.
Thiel said, "We would come in with ideas for how to grow, but you need a group of people here doing things."
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