Jefferson meeting with success
Excerpted from Watertown Daily Times
By Steve Sharp
Jefferson County’s quaint, historic county seat is rebounding from the deep economic recession in remarkable style these days thanks, in part, to skilled and knowledgeable individuals, daring entrepreneurs, people willing to turn natural disasters into positive outcomes and perhaps, according to its mayor, “a little luck.”
In a recent State of the City address, Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann summarized the good things that have been happening in the city.
According to the mayor, recently opened, or opening soon in Jefferson, are Fort HealthCare Clinic, Heron’s Landing, and Frawley’s Citgo paired with River’s Edge Market.
Breaking ground are Foremost Buildings; Kwik Trip; the Kuehn Development’s East Reinel Street extension, Jefferson Golf Clubhouse and 20 duplex housing units; a Jefferson solar energy facility; Kendall Packaging’s expansion and the relocation of Del Chmielewski, CPA.
Building facade improvements include those of the Jefferson Area Business Center and the Sherry Lange Agency.
Among public improvements are the reconstruction of South Gardner Avenue and the 100 block of West Milwaukee Street. Historic brick on Dodge Street will be preserved and significant underground infrastructure will be replaced.
There will also be reconstruction of the Citizens Bank/Bee Hive/dime store public parking lot near the center of downtown to improve safety and increase parking. This parking lot work will include creation of what Oppermann called “a city-center atmosphere” that will be conducive to street dances, car shows and other public events.
Oppermann described ongoing shoreline improvements at Rotary Park that will include installation of more dock space with a goal being to entice boaters downtown to support local business.
At the close of his address, Oppermann welcomed Generac and the Wisconsin College of Osteopathic Medicine to the city.
In light of Jefferson’s economic development success, the Daily Times talked with Oppermann, Brandel, Jefferson City Administrator Tim Freitag and other key players in the city’s rise to learn more about how it occurred. In the process, many of these people also provided insight into how positive trends may continue.