Released February 20, 2007
Door County Economic Development Corporation
Door County Legislative Days is an ongoing, long-tern educational event designed to build improved relationships with State government decision makers. Fortunately, this event has also generated very significant short-term successes for Door County. Highlights of some of these successes are summarized below.
2003 Legislative Days – April 30 and May 1
One hundred Delegates presented the agenda to all state legislators and several state agencies. The Legislative Agenda addressed the following issues:
- Water Quality and Safety of Beaches
- State Highway 57 Four-Lane Improvement Project
- Supporting Education Through Fairness and Equity in Education Funding
- Improve the Door County Business Climate
- Construction of a New Bridge in Downtown Sturgeon Bay at the Maple to Oregon Street Crossing
- Raised awareness of the challenge Door County has to define, identify and address the factors associated with the contamination of the near shore beach waters. Door County received a $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program in 2004 to help fund our source investigation research.
- WI Dept. of Transportation, Deputy Secretary Ruben Anthony promised our delegation that the Highway 57 Improvement Project is budgeted and scheduled to be completed by 2008.
- Having the NWTC funding issue as part of Door County Legislative Day brought attention to this issue and resulted in the formation of the Assembly Speaker’s Task Force to study the Technical College System which motivated the system to look for ways to reign in their spending and growing reliance on the property tax for funding.
- Dept. of Commerce Deputy Secretary Dave Storey promised to provide State assistance to prepare an economic development plan that would help Door County deal with the loss of manufacturing and other jobs and help chart a course to expand the economy. DCEDC and the County received a $75,000 grant to help prepare such a plan. The plan was completed by NorthStar Economics and Grant Thornton and released to the public in April 2005.
- The Legislature approved a sweeping TIF reform bill that enabled the City of Sturgeon Bay to use this economic development tool for phase two of the waterfront redevelopment project.
- Wisconsin Public Service Commission promised that they would assist our efforts to improve local telecommunication services. Since this meeting, SBC has deployed a divergent and redundant fiber line from Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay, SBC has introduced high speed DSL broadband service to Sturgeon Bay, and Charter has deployed high-speed cable broadband service to several communities in the County.
- The State Dept. of Commerce expanded eligibility for the CDBG Community Planning grant program to include telecommunication projects. DCEDC and Door County received a $75,000 grant to assess the feasibility of a county-wide Fiber To the Home and Business Telecommunications Deployment Proposal.
- The WI Dept. Of Transportation announced an administrative determination accepting WDOT responsibility to own and maintain both the existing Michigan St. Bridge and any new bridge built over the Bay. Second, the State pledged $24 million to the rehabilitation of the Michigan St. Bridge and construction of a new bridge. Last, although funding remained an obstacle, the State affirmed its commitment to provide a new bridge on the Maple to Oregon corridor.
2005 Legislative Days – May 4 – 6
Eighty Door County delegates presented the 5 point Legislative Agenda to all state legislators and the 17 point Agency Agenda to ten state agencies. The Legislative Agenda addressed the following issues:
- Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding Cluster Master Plan Implementation
- Downtown Bridge Over Sturgeon Bay
- Public Sector Collective Bargaining Reform
- State Budget Funding for Soo Locks and Tourism Marketing
- Education Funding Reform for K-12 Schools and Technical Colleges
- Successfully communicated a better understanding of Door County issues and needs to state agencies and legislators.
- Provided strong support to Representative Garey Bies and Senator Alan Lasee’s initiative to secure funding for a new downtown bridge prior to rehabilitation of the Michigan Street Bridge.
- The Wisconsin Legislature and Governor included $12 Million in the 2005-2007 State budget for a new downtown bridge to begin construction within one year, with Committee Chair Rep. John Gard specifically citing Door County Legislative Days as being instrumental to helping move the initiative forward.
- The state Department of Commerce announced a $350,000 grant to the City of Sturgeon Bay to support WireTech Fabricators’ relocation to the Industrial Park and redevelopment of their current site for attainable housing.
- The Department of Tourism announced a $40,000 grant to the Door County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau for the new “A Kingdom So Delicious” Door County tourism marketing campaign.
- The Wisconsin Public Service Commission announced approval of a CLEC (Competitive Local Exchange Carrier) license to Brilliant Cities, Inc. to deploy a new, state-of-the-art fiber optics telecommunications network in Door County.