Creating Livable Communities as an Economic Development Strategy: a 2007-08 Program Innovation Fund Project
Economic development is a key issue for Wisconsin communities. Research shows that the workforce is looking for livable and walkable communities, where people can feel safe, enjoy attractive neighborhoods, vibrant downtowns and popular gathering places. This project will identify the types of community amenities that are attractive to today's workforce and will create a process to determine how well the community is offering these amenities. This project uses an innovative combination of secondary research, local public participation and community inventory and mapping strategies. These efforts will be conducted by colleagues from Cooperative Extension offices, Continuing Education directors, UW Barron and Marshfield/Wood County faculty and service learning students, UW-Stevens Point/Extension specialists and graduate students in the Center for Land Use Education and community leaders in Rice Lake and Marshfield. Although funded for one year, the team plans to extend this project over several years. Expected outcomes include: a complete inventory and mapping assessment for each case study community, detailed recommendations for improving the quality of life, specific actions that can be implemented in each community and a replicable model for other Wisconsin communities.