Sessions provide participants tools for small town success

MADISON, WI. Aug. 4, 2016 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is joining Wisconsin Downtown Action Council, Wisconsin Rural Partners, UW-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture in hosting four forums in August and September to provide communities the opportunity to network, share best practices and identify strategies for small-town success.

More than half of Wisconsin’s municipalities are communities of fewer than 1,500 residents. These small communities represent a wide variety of geographic and economic areas, and have unique issues and needs that are often very different from those of larger communities.

Now in their sixth year, the Small Town Forums, to be held in locations around the state, allow representatives of these communities to come together, network, share best practices and identify strategies to address shared concerns. Additionally, representatives from many state and regional resource partners will be on hand to connect with attendees and provide guidance on specific concerns introduced during the sessions.

The forums are open to anyone interested in small towns, including those involved in business, government, education, and civic and community development. The theme for this year’s forums is entrepreneurship, and participants will learn specifically about strategies that local entrepreneurs and businesses have used to survive and thrive in small-town America.

“As a small business owner, finding ways to help our community thrive and grow is important from a personal and professional standpoint,” said Matt Trotter, a participant in last year’s forum and small business owner in Princeton. “Being able to network and gather creative ideas and best practices from others in similar situations is a really valuable experience. I always come away from the small town forums refreshed and reenergized.”

Each forum takes place from noon to 4:30 p.m. on the date listed. Registration at each site opens at 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $20 and includes lunch. Visit to register.

Forum dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 31 – Phelps (Vilas County), at the Phelps K-12 School, 4451 Old School Road
  • Wednesday, Sept. 7 – La Farge (Vernon County), at the Community Center, 202 N State Street
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14 – Eagle (Waukesha County), at the Municipal Building, 820 E Main Street
  • Tuesday, Sept. 20 – Shell Lake (Washburn County), at Shell Lake Arts Center, 802 1st Street