Celebrating Community Success

Mike Breininger


So many people are working to make Richland Center and Richland County great places to live and raise
families. It would be nearly impossible to recount all the successes of the past year so Southwest
Partners, a community development organization, wants to mention a few efforts where it had direct
involvement.


The new Woodman Aquatic Center officially opened on July 4, 2020. Hundreds of children and families
have enjoyed this community gem since its opening. The project cost of nearly $4.5 mil. was funded by
private donations and the City of Richland Center. SW Partners privately raised over $2 mil. for this
project with Mick Cosgrove, Liz Perkins, and Dale Bender taking the lead for SWP and working closely
with the aquatic center ad hoc committee.


The Richland Hospital acquired the Richland Medical Center, which included the Center Creek
Professional building on Cairns Ave. (the old medical center building). With a strong interest in
community and economic development, the Hospital donated the building to SWP. SWP carefully
evaluated the needs of the building and the benefit of the community and decided to put the building
back in the hands of a private business, Capital Wealth Advisor Group (CWAG), who has invested
hundreds of thousands of dollars, and now occupies the building and rents office space to other
businesses. The Richland Hospital deserves credit for its foresight and benevolence toward Richland
Center. SWP lead on the project was Mike Breininger.


With the COIVD 19 pandemic and many businesses suffering, SWP initiated COVID Caring Cash (CCC).
This effort allowed prospering businesses and individuals to donate funds to the CCC that were returned
to businesses suffering from the COVID shutdowns. When community members bought $25 worth of $5
COVID Cash Cards, they received a bonus $10’s worth of Cards. CCC could only be spent at local
businesses that were participating. The sponsor matching funds amounted to $31,185 when matched
turned into $121,216 in cash supporting local businesses with a net economic impact of about $350,000.
SWP team member, Mick Cosgrove was lead on this effort.


When most area high schools and UW-Richland were forced to cancel their graduation ceremonies, SWP
stepped in with the Tribute to Graduates. Large portraits of graduates from six area high schools as well
as UW-Richland grads were displayed on the chain link fence along highway 14 at Krouskop Park. The
tribute was lighted with music playing for two weeks. SWP leads were, Becky Dahl and Liz Perkins, with
community leader, Sheila Troxel alongside.


A new foundation, Community Legacy Foundation, was formed by SWP in 2020 to build an ongoing
funding source for future community projects. This foundation will seek to support efforts that benefit
most or all of the community in the future. SWP lead on this project is Mick Cosgrove.


A new canoe/kayak landing and parking lot was developed along the Pine River at the intersection of
Hwy. 80 and County Trunk SR. This new landing will make the portion of the Pine from Rockbridge to
Richland Center more accessible and useable. Over the last few years SWP has worked to install many
landings/ports along the Pine to keep the river clear and accessible for recreational use which has seen
dramatic increase in the past few years. SWP lead on the project was Dale Bender.

After 3-years of the SWP economic development organization, Community Prosperity Alliance, re-
invigorating economic development, the City of Richland Center and Richland County decided to fund
and initiate a new economic development cooperation. The County, the City, SWP, and community
business members formed the Richland Economic Development (RED) Board. In 2020 the RED Board
hired a new full-time Economic Development Director, Jasen Glasbrenner. Since the hiring of Jasen,
there have been new businesses coming to Richland Center and economic development is on the move
again. SWP lead on economic development is Mike Breininger.


Looking ahead:


SWP continues to plan for future community development in 2021. Some of the projects SWP will be
initiating or completing in 2021 include:


*Another slide and diving board for the Woodman Aquatic Center.


*A new skate park at Krouskop Park.


*Safe routes walking and biking path to the Richland Middle School and eventually to Doudna School.


*Quality affordable childcare.


*A test kitchen for commercial and community use.


*Initial plans for a sports arena to be constructed in the future.


Want to be involved: Southwest Partners, southwestpartners.org, Facebook,

 

email: Becky Dahl<k2p2_becky@me.com,

 

 

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