HORICON - Summing up first impressions gleaned during visits to Horicon by a pair of teams from Seymour on Oct. 9 and 13, Jim Resick said "You have some real human capacity to get things
Outagamie County Community Development Educator Resick also said, "The glue that holds a community together is not brick and mortar. It is how well people work together."
Resick was one of four Seymour team members who spoke at the town hall meeting Thursday night hosted by the Horicon Phoenix Program. The team was part of "First Impressions," a program for community assessment and improvement.
Areas covered by the team of retired mayor Harold Pingel, city council member Colleen Sutherland and retired school district administrator William Loasching, included community entrances, housing and residential, education and schools, health care, downtown business and buildings, positives and challenges, other shopping areas, and industrial and local economy.
The team also looked at professional services, tourism potential, and public services and infrastructure.
Pingel pointed out that all had expected to see more tourism because of the marsh, more industry and a larger school system.
"The downtown is very undesirable. It is busy and noisy with lots of truck traffic. There is a lack of retail offerings and no grocery store," the group reported. "There is a lot of traffic on Highway 33, but very little of it stops in Horicon. We would expect some attractive specialty shops as well as clean, neat service stores," the report went o.
Sutherland said, "You have a motel and campgrounds, a water park and a golf course. And you have tourism potential with the new education center. Get people into Horicon."
Commenting on positives about Horicon, Loasching cited the Horicon Marsh, the industrial base, the friendly attitudes of residents, the outstanding public library, the Rock River and the parks.
"Tourism is important. You have to figure how to capture it. You have community pride and support. You all want to do something, but don't know what to do," Loasching said.
Although the visitors from Seymour liked the Marsh and the Rock River, they said they did not think that would be enough to have people move to Horicon.
"Horicon is not a place for young families. There is no shopping, no movie theater and no entertainment. The parks are nice. Would a senior citizen locate in Horicon? No. There is no transportation, no grocery store and not enough basic stores and medical care."
The recommendations of the team members as outlined by Loasching, was to try to recreate the downtown.
"Buy the empty stores. If all those people work toward the same goal, it is going to be positive. It may not be what everybody wants, but it is a step forward. If your average age keeps increasing, it is not going to be good. You have to bring young people in. You have to change into the kind of community people want."