Carrollton Square Initiative travels to Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin to see redevelopment in action

Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in News | 0 comments

Carrollton Square Initiative travels to Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin to see redevelopment in action

CARROLLTON, ILL. to MT. HOREB, WISC. (WITH EXCERPTS FROM THE GREENE PRAIRIE PRESS): Several members of the newly formed group, the Carrollton Square Initiative, traveled to Mt. Horeb Wisconsin for two days at the end of January to see first-hand how a small town can be revitalized.  Mt. Horeb itself is a community that has engaged Vandewalle & Associates, the consulting firm the CSI is considering to handle the redevelopment of the Carrollton Square district in Carrollton, Illinois. The firm came recommended by one of the board members who had worked with them in the past. 

Justin Hamel, a CSI board member, explained why Mt. Horeb–a community of comparable size to Carrollton–is a particularly appealing example for the committee to study. “Mt. Horeb became a community that a lot of people want to move to now,” Hamel said. “They want to retire there, they want to raise their kids there, and a lot of this is because of the processes that were put into place by this group. We wanted to see kind of what they were able to contribute, how the town reacted to this, and just get a feel for what really got done.”

During the trip to Mt. Horeb, they met with civic leaders and representatives from Vandewalle. “They went over their whole plan on how they engaged the community and how they worked with private investors, went after grants, and then talked about the civic partnerships involved,” Hamel said. “After that, we toured the town and met with the different business owners and also met with the new businesses that relocated to the town.”

“When we see the challenges Carrollton and more broadly Greene County face, it was interesting because (Vandewalle & Associates) sees them more as opportunities,” board member Nikki Graham said. Carrollton, with a population less than 3,000, is located in south-central Greene County about an hour from St. Louis. 

The group understands change is possible but doesn’t happen overnight. Hamel said the transformation seen so far in Mt. Horeb took about three years from concept to where they are now.

“It started pretty quick for them, and they have seen some major progress, and a lot of it is due to the fact that they hit the ground running,” he said. “You engage a group like Vandewalle, and they lay everything out for you. You stop spinning your wheels as much and run in a straight line instead of a zig-zag line.”

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