Archive for November 2011

Oshkosh has no need to apologize

November 18, 2011

By Rob Kleman, executive director, Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corp.

I often find that Oshkosh feels sorry for itself.  Wish lists are full of desires for more chain department stores and restaurants.  The perception of many is that we are not growing to the extent of our neighboring cities in Northeast Wisconsin.

It’s simply not true.  The Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corp. (OAEDC) recently compiled new commercial and industrial construction totals for the past six years.  The numbers come from the State Department of Revenue and show that during the past six years, Oshkosh had $297 million in new commercial construction, more than Appleton, Green Bay, Fond du Lac, Neenah, Ashwaubenon and Grand Chute. Oshkosh also led the way in industrial construction during those same six years, with just under $46.4 million in new industrial construction, higher than any of those same cities.  Of significance is that the State of Wisconsin is not required to report construction numbers, so these totals do not include nearly $60 million in construction at UW Oshkosh.

It’s important to note that two of those cities—Appleton and Green Bay—are larger than Oshkosh in population and yet did not expand in either commercial or industrial construction at the same rate as Oshkosh.  For example, Oshkosh’s new commercial construction per capita was $4,495, compared to $2,572 in Appleton and $1,566 in Green Bay.

The elephant in the room when it comes to local economic development is the Town of Grand Chute in Outagamie County.  This is, of course, the township where much of the Appleton area’s retail and commercial space is concentrated.  It’s where the Fox River Mall calls home.

And so, OAEDC compiled the same numbers for highly developed locations in both the Appleton and Green Bay areas.  You may be surprised to know that Oshkosh still holds its own against these areas.  Yes, when you combine the City of Appleton and the Town of Grand Chute, total new construction equals $310 million.  But wait.  That’s only $13 million more than Oshkosh, and taken per capita, Oshkosh still outpaces that area—Appleton/Grand Chute’s new commercial construction is just $3,316 per capita.

Green Bay and Ashwaubenon, taken together, did not expand at the rate of Oshkosh in new commercial construction, although they did record higher industrial construction totals.  There, $57 million of new industrial construction took place during the six years, but again, its per capita total of $640 is lower than Oshkosh’s $701 per capita total.

Quite often, Oshkosh hangs its head, almost apologetically for perceived shortcomings.  Yet the city has so much to offer.  We have a thriving outlet mall, a “Miracle Mile” of stores and restaurants along Highway 41, a revitalized downtown with unique cafes and shops.  We are home to the third largest state university and a technical college that boasts three locations in our city.  We are the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company—Oshkosh Corporation.  And, we attract more than 1 million visitors every year thanks to EAA, Country and Rock USA, Lifest and many others.

So many cities want to be us, Oshkosh.  Don’t apologize.

Total construction numbers can be viewed online.


EVCO Plastics set to expand

November 9, 2011

Information courtesy of EVCO Plastics

EVCO Plastics in Oshkosh is breaking ground this November on a 30,000-square-foot expansion to their existing 70,000-square-foot building. 

This expansion will provide additional manufacturing and warehouse space.  The expansion should be complete by the end of March 2012.  EVCO plans to potentially add up to 20 people over the next 12-24 months.  This expansion will aid in EVCO’s ability to grow and service their customers.

EVCO Plastics is a plastic injection molder serving OEM’s worldwide in wide range of industries including medical, packaging, agriculture, construction, lawn & garden, industrial and appliance.   The EVCO team is comprised of 800 people and operates more than 140 injection molding machines ranging from 28 to 3,300 tons in 10 manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout the world. 

A ground breaking ceremony will be held at 450 Ripple Ave. in Oshkosh on November 14 at 1 p.m.

Westbrooke Manor cuts ribbon in new facility

November 7, 2011

By Megan Kok, Member Relations Manager

The Oshkosh Chamber and its Ambassadors held a ribbon cutting today at Westbrooke Manor, which now accompanies Eastbrooke Manor at 3508 W. 20th Ave.

The sites serve dementia and Alzheimer patients, who have access to the care needed, even as their condition worsens.

Eastbrooke Manor opened more than a year ago, and Westbrooke Manor is expected to open the middle of this month.  Administrator and Owner Linda Carlson says she is already planning a third facility at the site.

A Professionals Open House, featuring tours of Westbrooke Manor, will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 9.  A public open house will be from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, November 12.

Watch for Westbrooke and Eastbrooke Manor in this week’s holiday parade.  They will be easy to spot!  The facilities are sponsoring Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will end the parade in a horse-drawn carriage at the delight of all the children.  The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, November 10, on North Main Street in downtown Oshkosh.

“It’s Working Wisconsin”

November 4, 2011

By John Casper, President/CEO, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce

Efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker and numerous other legislators are heating up as the past year’s contentious debate continues over Wisconsin Act 10, otherwise known as the state’s budget reform bill.

The bill’s intent was to give municipalities the tools they need to manage and balance their budgets.  Yet, some believe the bill will mean the demise of the public education system and be detrimental to local government services.

Americans for Prosperity and the MacIver Institute have developed a website and ad campaign titled “It’s Working Wisconsin.”  These organizations dispel the concerns of those who believe the bill will be detrimental to our schools, cities, counties and state.  It shows, instead, how the bill is helping school districts and government municipalities save money without laying off personnel.

I encourage you to visit the “It’s Working Wisconsin” website and take a few minutes to view the video on the home page.  If you drill even deeper, you’ll read countless examples of local governments have actually saved money as a result of Wisconsin Act 10.