Officials want Cambridge to be tourist destination again
Excerpted from Wisconsin State Journal
By Barry Adams
Abbie Jacob remembers the bus tours.
She was in high school here in the late 1990s and had a part-time job waiting and busing tables at the Inn and Pub.
This was before road construction made it tough for visitors to venture downtown, before the recession — when discretionary spending was flush — and almost 15 years before the Meltzer Candy Co. folded up shop and moved operations and its 100 employees to modern facilities in Janesville.
“It was kind of a zoo,” Jacob said of the bus tours.
“They would always stop at the pottery stores, have lunch and then walk up Main Street and do their shopping.”
The last 10 years have not been kind to this village, but officials, business owners and recreational enthusiasts are working together to restore the crowds.
Instead of bus tours, the vision is more broad in this village of just more than 1,200 people on the border of Dane and Jefferson counties.
Restaurants and shops are still seen as key components, but the village is trying to attract those who bike, kayak, canoe, paddleboard and cross-country ski. Koshkonong Creek, Lake Ripley and CamRock County Park provide the opportunities.
“If you get people to come out and use those facilities, it can benefit the village and the downtown businesses,” said Steve Struss, village president and chair of the Economic Development Committee. “We’re definitely looking to reinvent Cambridge to try and appeal to younger people and to become a destination location again.”
The EDC was formed in 2011 with a mission to promote the village and attract new businesses.