Regional Economic Initiative Wood and Adams Counties
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
The paper industry has been in decline and restructuring for the past two decades. So also have many of the communities for which the mills were the anchor employers. Wisconsin Rapids and the surrounding 16 municipalities in southern Wood and northern Adams Counties formed the Regional Economic Growth Initiative (REGI) to restructure their economies and reinvent their communities.
Competitive Community Asset Assessment and Strategic Work Plan
Diane Lupke & Associates, Inc. was engaged to conduct a Competitive Community Asset Assessment and Strategic Work Plan. The effort consisted of four dozen interviews, an economic position assessment, innovation audit, LQ employment concentration assessment, SWOT, development of a model process, a continuum of capital, and a strategic work plan.
The recommended Strategic Work Plan focused on advancing innovation in core industries with a competitive advantage: paper and forest products; agriculture, especially cranberries, and potatoes; and healthcare.
The Strategic Work Plan included:
Securing core industries and greater regional collaboration
Building economic development capacity
Shoring up infrastructure and investing in their shared central place.
Additional work was conducted, and is ongoing, with the City of Wisconsin Rapids, the Incourage Community Foundation on the Tribune Building Partnership for Sustainable Communities.