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Oregon Focus


Inside Youth Center construction begins ... 2 Hotel nears completion ..... 3 Jefferson Crossing opens downtown ... 4 Perry Parkway connects ..... 5 School district prepares for referendum ... 6 New business questionnaires ... 7


October 25, 2018

Oregon Observer

Oregon Focus

Youth Center gets started Fundraising effort brings in $1 million for new building project BILL LIVICK Unified Newspaper Group

A new Oregon Youth Center is under construction at 110 N. Oak St., funded almost entirely by donations. The Oregon Community Resource Network raised about $1 million over the past year for the project, and work at the site is finally beginning to make progress, contractor Dan Bertler told the Observer this month. Bertler, owner of Supreme Structures and a member of the OCRN board of directors, has volunteered his company’s time and labor for the project. He said complications delayed the start of building at the site until the second week in October, and he hopes to have the new 5,800-square-foot youth center ready for kids to use in February. Workers have begun prepping the soil and putting in footings and a foundation, Bertler said. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project that OCRN and the village held in late June was premature because of legal and physical issues that arose. That included needing the village attorney to draft a new land lease for the property, create a certified survey

Photo by Scott Girard

The new Oregon Youth Center building will be constructed in a lot adjacent to the current Youth Center building on North Oak Street. A groundbreakTurn to OYC/Page 6 ing for the new site was held in late June, but delays in approvals halted construction until this month.

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The Oregon Area Food Pantry, which in November 2017 began operating in a new building on Alpine Parkway, added more hours and days to its monthly distribution schedule this year. The pantry had traditionally been open the last Thursday of the month for four hours in the afternoon but its board of directors added morning hours in April, and in October the board decided to begin distributing food to residents in the Oregon Area School District on Tuesdays through the end of 2018. Board members said they would like to continue the Tuesday hours next year but haven’t yet made a decision.

Board chair Tom Kirchdoerfer told the Observer the additional hours combined “represent a 300 percent increase of our distribution hours in just six months. We have also seen a steady increase in guests since moving into our new facility 10 months ago, rising from approximately 100 families per month to approximately 130.” The Oregon Community Resource Network stepped forward last year to assist with fundraising for a new food pantry and raised about $750,000, helped by an “angel investor” who pledged to fill the fundraising gap if the community were to contribute $300,000. The new, 4,200-squarefoot facility was built on land owned by the People’s

United Methodist Church, which agreed to lease the property to OCRN and the food pantry for 25 years. Oregon-based building contractor Supreme Structures, which donated its time and labor, broke ground on the project in April 2017 and completed it by early November. Through the rest of the year, the pantry is open 9–11 a.m. and 3–7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s open the second Saturday of each month, 10-11 a.m., to accept food donations. Donations can also be made at several churches, the Oregon Public Library and the Oregon Area Senior Center. Contact Bill Livick at bill.

Oregon Focus

October 25, 2018


Oregon Observer

Sleep Inn hotel near end of long road Developer expects to open ‘around end of the year’ BILL LIVICK Unified Newspaper Group

The developer of a new 66-room Sleep Inn and Suites Hotel on South Park Street plans to have the building, which has been under construction since April, open by “around the end of the year.” Adam Coyle, managing member of Oregon Hotel LLC, said the project “took a little longer than anticipated” because of a rainy weather and a busy construction season. Initially he had hoped to open the hotel by the end of October, but at the time the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated a groundbreaking for the project in mid-May, Coyle said it wouldn’t be ready until the end of the year. “The subcontractors were so busy with all the construction going on,” Coyle told the Observer last week. “We weren’t the only one on their schedules, but it’s coming together real well and we’re already taking future reservations.” The $4.5 million, three-story hotel is being built at 1120 S. Park St., the corner of Park and Rosewood Avenue near the U.S. Hwy. 14/State Hwy. 138 interchange. It’s being constructed on a 1.5-acre site and will feature an indoor/ outdoor whirlpool, or hot

Photo by Alexander Cramer

The new hotel on the village’s southeast side is taking shape as crews work on the front entrance on Oct. 18. tub, connected to an indoor swimming pool, over 500 feet of meeting and birthday event space and a 24-hour business center and fitness center. Coyle touted those

amenities as something special and said he’s “excited” about the hotel’s impending opening. “It looks nice, and with the pool and outdoor hot tub and patio, it gives people

something to enjoy on a cold winter day,” he said. “I hope it gives people something to talk about and a reason to come back.” Village officials have long sought a modern hotel

to provide rooms for visitors and promote economic development. A room tax generated from the hotel would help fund tourism-promotion in the village. Village president Steve

Staton said the hotel will “have a significant impact on the ability of things like the ice arena and the soccer association to host events.” People attending those events will be able to stay in town, which will “drive economic development as people use our restaurants and other businesses,” he predicted. The hotel will be managed by Verona-based S&L Hospitality, which hired Oregon native Paul Harms to manage its day-to-day operations. Harms has extensive hotel management experience. He said a hotel here “is long overdue” given the number of local businesses, wedding venues and nearby sports complexes that host tournaments throughout the year. Harms said he’s “looking to hire about 25 people” when the hotel opens. The developer will receive $800,000 in village tax increment financing for the project. The assistance has been structured as a “pay-asyou-go TIF,” which means a portion of the property taxes the hotel pays each year will be reimbursed until the financial assistance is met. The arrangement precludes a financial risk for the village. Contact Bill Livick at bill.

Message from the chamber

The Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the community and all our businesses for their loyal support. The Chamber is working with our new and Knutson existing business members to make the Oregon area a great place to live, work and play. We have had a great summer participating in many exciting new projects throughout the community, and more are yet to come. This year, we have welcomed 30 new chamber members. We are actively building new and strengthening existing relationships with our businesses to help improve economic growth in Oregon. Together with our businesses, we have celebrated many groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings. Groundbreakings are a way to highlight new businesses allowing for the creation of new jobs within the community. There were three this summer. In April, Omni Technologies broke ground on the west side of Oregon. Omni Technologies provides life safety and security systems, and we are excited to have their business in the

community. The hotel broke ground in May with a great turnout in support of the exciting new addition to the Oregon community. Sleep Inn and Suites is anticipating opening its doors in December and will bring more economic business to the community. The Youth Center ground breaking took place in June, and it will also be a great asset to our children in the community. There were four ribbon cuttings this summer. Ribbon cuttings create awareness and allow businesses to introduce themselves to the community. Jefferson Crossing Apartments had their ribbon cutting in August, showing off the impressive 61-unit bu i l d i n g , f e a t u r i n g 6 0 underground parking stalls and many great amenities. All units are already occupied by residents. This shows there is a great need for housing in the community. In September, we celebrated the Perry Parkway connection, which creates an additional route to the high school, helping to alleviate downtown congestion. Cornerstone Family Chiropractic celebrated their new location in Fitchburg, which will offer new techniques to chiropractic care.

And Ryan Gerharz – State Farm opened a new office on the north side of Oregon located in the shopping center around the corner from Bill’s Food Center next to Mark’s Barber. Oregon Summer Fest was a great success. We were able to offer free admission to live entertainment which increased crowds. We had many praises on the run including great organization and beautiful scenery. Thanks to all our volunteers, who made this event flow smoothly. Small Business Saturday is Nov. 25. The Oregon Chamber will be sending out a small business mailer to Oregon residents filled with special deals from local businesses encouraging the community to shop local and support small businesses. Dec. 7 is our Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Waterman Park. Join us for the tree lighting, sing Christmas carols, watch Santa arrive on the firetruck and walk over to Oregon Area Fire and EMS station for a chili dinner with Santa. All donations will be used for the funding of the Jaycee Park West renovation project. This is a great community event that brings everyone together.

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October 25, 2018

Oregon Focus

Oregon Observer

Jefferson Crossing adds downtown housing BILL LIVICK Unified Newspaper Group

The Jefferson Crossing apartment complex in downtown Oregon held an open house in late August, but leases for the 61-unit building had all been signed early July, the developers said. Brett Riemen and Brian Spanos began construction of the three-story building in May 2017 on a 1.3-acre parcel located between the Jefferson Street parking lot and the railroad viaduct. Riemen told the Observer the complex filled up about six months earlier than anticipated due to its downtown location and the lack of new apartments in the village over the past decade. “There was pent-up demand,” he said. “And it’s just a great and a very visible location. It’s so easy for people to walk to downtown restaurants and businesses.” The complex has an underground parking stall for each of its 61 units, along with 29 surface stalls in the parking lot the developers completed building in September. But improvements to the adjacent Jefferson Street parking lot won’t be completed this year because bids to install underground lighting and new electrical service to South Main Street businesses had to be rejected, Oregon public works director Jeff Rau said last summer. He planned rebid the work in

Photo by Alexander Cramer

The Jefferson Crossing apartment building saw its first tenants move in this summer. November for the 2019 construction season. Riemen said parking in the area has turned out to be one of the biggest issues to work out with village officials and businesses.

Jefferson Crossing is a combination of studio, oneand two-bedroom apartments along with a fitness center, a community room and an outdoor patio with a gazebo. Village officials had hoped

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for a redevelopment of the area where the 41-foot-high building was constructed. It replaced six parcels — private homes and an auto repair shop – that for years were the subject of complaints about

the storage of unused automobiles and debris. Village President Steve Staton said the project will drive economic development in downtown Oregon. “I think it changes the face

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Village administrator Mike Gracz has said that 40-50 new housing units per year is the range the village is aiming for.

Housing permits drop in 2018 SCOTT GIRARD

Unified Newspaper Group

The Village of Oregon had another quiet year on the housing front, and it might not improve next year. The village approved 30 single-family housing permits through August, the most recent numbers village administrator Mike Gracz provided to the Observer. Last year, the village had approved 26 through that same timespan, and ended the year with 32. The village’s recent peak in housing starts was 73 in 2015. It dropped to 56 in 2016. Gracz told the Observer in an email Bergamont had the most home starts this

New home starts Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

New permits 20 22 26 58 48 73 56 35 30

year, and he predicted the Highlands of Netherwood could have the most next year. “But we will most

likely be close to that number again in 2019,” Gracz wrote. While no duplex or multifamily permits were issued as of August, the 61-unit Jefferson Crossing downtown apartment building opened in the middle of the year. Last year, it seemed the village was headed in for a big year in 2018, with additions in the Oregon Parks and Merri-Hill neighborhoods expected. Gracz said there was “nothing specific” that held those up, attributing the year to “normal housing trends.” Contact Scott Girard at and follow him on Twitter @sgirard9.

Oregon Focus

October 25, 2018

Oregon Observer


Library turns focus to fundraising After hiring new director, village, library boards come to terms for new building ALEXANDER CRAMER Unified Newspaper Group

A new library building is estimated to cost $10 million to $12 million. needs – Busch resigned as director, citing “hostility” in her dealings with the board. The cost estimates haven’t changed, but new director Jennifer Endres Way has been working on fundraising since being hired in May. She told the Observer she expects the fundraising campaign to take about 18 months and said the fundraising consultant

North meets South Village unites Perry Parkway, connecting OHS to Janesville St. ALEXANDER CRAMER Unified Newspaper Group

Drivers hoping to avoid downtown Oregon on their way through town now have another option, after the village connected North and South Perry parkways. That’s a project village leaders said has been decades in the making. The road was an obvious logistical choice, but a challenging one, as it had to span the Badfish Creek and because 70 percent of the project is in wetlands. That meant extensive permitting from the state Department of Natural Resources as well as the added task of diverting the creek while crews laid a culvert, public works director Jeff Rau explained. “There’s a reason this road has taken 30 years to build,” Rau said. The $1.2 million connection opened Sept. 10. Village leaders expect students traveling to and from the high school to make heavy use of the road and have said the intersection between Perry Parkway and Janesville Street may be the future home of traffic signals. The high school sits about a mile north of that intersection, which Trustee Amanda Peterson said is becoming dangerous, especially for pedestrians. She questioned village staff at a recent Village Board meeting about possible steps the village could take to manage traffic.

Photo by Alexander Cramer

Perry Parkway bends its way north toward the high school and past the waste water treatment plant as Al Kuehl walks along the newly paved sidewalks on the day the road opened to traffic, Monday, Sept. 10. Installing traffic signals could take a while, as Janesville Street is a county road, administrator Mike Gracz said, and the county typically does not do such work without having a study done. Gracz went on to say the village hasn’t heard anything from the county about doing such a study in 2019. In the meantime, board president Steve Staton directed staff to place a sign in the middle of the street reminding motorists of the presence of a crosswalk. While managing traffic from the new connection has presented challenges to the board, getting the project completed was a massive challenge itself. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 10, public works director Jeff Rau said the village originally called off funding the project 25 years ago because environmental costs associated with working in a wetland kept rising. The project was delayed again after flooding in 2007, and bids for the current version went out five years ago

under former public works director Mark Below. There were also logistical challenges to building a road spanning the Badfish Creek. The water had to be rerouted while crews laid a perfectly flat bed for the creek’s new home: a 230-foot tunnel of concrete that’s 12 feet across and six feet high. The culvert came in 27 sections, each one weighing more than 39,000 pounds which had to be individually lifted into place. Meanwhile, Rau said, contractors had to deal with unprecedented rains and unexpectedly poor soil conditions this spring. “Ruekert and Mielke did a great job,” Rau said. The connection completes a sort of ring road around the village, something Gracz said the village had been planning for years and hopes will ease congestion at the busy downtown intersection. Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.cramer@

Photo by Scott Girard

is supposed to provide guidance by about mid-November. She has experience in fundraising for, planning and opening a new library from her time overseeing the transition of the Prairie du Sac public library into a new configuration and different building. That’s something former Library Board chair Brian Busler said

Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.

Message from the village president

A busy year of planning and building infrastructure The past year has been a busy and productive time for the Oregon Village Board. The focus has been on infrastructure updates, economic development, and the civic campus plan. The Village Board continues to work closely with the Oregon Area Chamber Staton of Commerce and its director, Judy Knutson, on economic development. I am pleased to say the chamber and the village work well together and that the community benefits as a result. The Village Board supports the chamber’s community guide with a financial contribution and also budgets for economic

development projects. There have been several attempts to bring a hotel to Oregon over the last 12 years. The most recent proposal for a hotel came before the Plan Commission and Village Board in 2017. This proposal was solid financially and was approved for construction, which began this spring. In spite of the rain, the project has proceeded and is now an enclosed three-story building on the southeast side of town. The Sleep Inn Hotel will open by the end of the year and will be a significant enhancement for our community. The civic campus plan, which focuses on downtown redevelopment, continues to

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A tumultuous year of planning for a new Oregon Public Library has ended with a continued commitment from the Village Board to borrow $6 million for a new library and a formal agreement between the Library and Village Board on which body pays for and controls various aspects of the building and the building process. Things took a setback in January when library director Nikki Busch abruptly resigned, but the new director has already spearheaded the beginnings of a fundraising campaign. The results of that campaign will determine the size, design and timing of the new building, originally estimated to cost around $10 million to $12 million. Village and Library Board leaders had planned for the building to be constructed in 2019 and open in 2020 or 2021. Those dates might be optimistic, as the fundraising campaign is expected to take 18 months. The Village Board and Library Board have split the $20,000 cost of a fundraising consultant, who will be tasked with determining a feasible goal. That feasibility study will determine the scope of the project, but also incorporate public input on the design and features of the building. Shortly after the Village Board decided to limit its borrowing to $6 million – far less than a space-needs study had indicated would be necessary for the growing village’s

was key in her hiring. In the meantime, Way has said it’s important to “get an architect involved again to get those assumptions current and in today’s dollars.” The initial plans won’t be detailed enough to go out to bid, but can be used to create a vision for and get people excited about the project, Way said. It could also be used to flesh out donation opportunities, she said, like identifying spaces in the library that might be naming opportunities, for example. In 2015, a space-needs study determined a 35,000-square-foot library would accomodate the village’s growth by 2030. That would be about three times the size of the existing library, built in 1995. The location has been essentially set since 2016: The boards have agreed that the library will go on the site of the former Methodist Church at 249 N. Main St. the village bought in 2016 for $890,000. The library is considered to be the first part of an effort to create a new civic campus to accommodate the village’s recent and projected growth. The next step is likely to be a senior center, which is expected to need twice the space it has now, and the Village Hall is also part of the planning process. Meanwhile, programming at the library has continued uninterrupted, with storytimes and frequent special activities like magic shows and escape rooms for kids with youth services librarian Kelly Allen and Wendy Borden. Kara Ripley was hired in March as the adult services and outreach librarian, and has brought programming for teens and adults like learning how to code, trivia nights and advice sessions for jobseekers.


October 25, 2018

Oregon Focus

Oregon Observer

The path to referendum Jaycee Park West fundraising begins Task force recommendations led to project for new schools SCOTT DE LARUELLE Unified Newspaper Group

This past year saw steady progress toward the Oregon School District’s decision to go to referendum Nov. 6 to fund a new elementary school in Fitchburg. A task force gave a critical recommendation in February after meeting frequently throughout 2017 to make recommendations to the board in three areas: population projections, how those projections would affect current building and grade configurations and where and when additional buildings would be needed. The Student Growth and Population Task Force findings included the projection that district enrollment will rise from current levels of around 4,000 to more than 6,000 by 2030. To cope with this expected student surge, it presented the board with five options, all of which called for construction of at least two schools, including at least one new elementary and middle school, with a variety of modifications to existing school grade configurations. In March, the board started holding lengthy work sessions to discuss the task force’s findings and to plan timing for a possible referendum to have at least one new school in place by fall 2020. During the next two months, the district held a dozen focus groups to hear directly from community members, and by the end of May, the board whittled the list to two plans, that essentially differed in whether an elementary or middle school would be built first. Ultimately, the board approved a plan to build a K-6 elementary school off the Lacy

Road interchange in Fitchburg by fall 2020 to accommodate expected growth there, with a middle school to follow (likely off the Hwy. 14/MM interchange) as soon as 2024. That, however, would be left to a future referendum. The board also set the referendum date for Nov. 6 to take advantage of expected higher turnout during this fall’s gubernatorial race. At the time, Busler said public feedback would continue to “help shape the final plan,” and with the date set, district officials put together a communication engagement plan, holding three community “open house” meetings for district officials to talk about plans and answer questions from the public. Busler said if the referendums to build the two schools are successful, it will set off a chain reaction to even out enrollment at schools that would add a fifth-grade to the three current elementary schools (Brooklyn, Netherwood Knoll and Prairie View), drop the sixth-graders from the Fitchburg elementary school, switch Rome Corners Intermediate from a 5-6 to K-5 school and add sixth-graders to Oregon Middle School. The task force was commissioned by the school board in February 2017, and it studied population growth projections around the wide-ranging district, which reaches from Brooklyn north to nearly the Beltline. The 10-member group included district administrators, teachers, school board members and residents from Fitchburg, Oregon and Brooklyn, as well as urban and regional planner Mark Roffers as consultant. “I don’t think it’s if new facilities are required, I think it’s a question of when are new facilities required and what would those new facilities look like,” Busler said then. “That’s the part that’s next up for the task force to look at.”

OYC: Set to open in February Continued from page 2 map and then shepherd the plans through the village’s permitting and approval process. Bertler had planned to construct the new building, move the youth center into it and then take down the building that’s being replaced. But now he and the rest of the OCRN board of directors hope to find a temporary home for kids to use as a youth center until Supreme Structures completes the new youth center and demolishes the old one. That would allow Bertler to mobilize his construction crew just once at the site. He said building the center and returning later to take down the old building would be costly and take more time. To c o m p l i c a t e t h e

situation, Supreme Structures took soil borings in July and discovered conditions that required extra steps to prepare the ground for construction. It also caused Bertler to develop new building plans, and the cost of construction increased. Soil borings revealed soft ground composed largely of peat, which forced Bertler to redesign some of the building footings and structure and come up with some different ways of building it, he said. Bertler and OCRN chair Randy Glysch said the organization has reached out to donors for more funding and got good results. “We have been very fortunate that we have a community of individuals who have stepped up to offset some of

A plan to create new recreational fields at Jaycee Park West includes selling naming rights for as much as $300,000 over 25 years. The Oregon Village Board approved a phased plan in April that starts with a $1.5 million plan to add four new ball fields over the next year. The approval of a naming rights policy in October gave a nonprofit committee overseeing the fundraising the green light to begin securing donations. Organizers – including private stakeholder groups, like sports organizations that use the fields – will sell commemorative bricks and will also be able to sell naming rights to amenities as small as walking path posts and as big as the park itself. Their goal is to raise $500,000 for this first phase. Organizer Judy Knutson said the hope is for the project to break ground in the spring. The village has been working with the Rettler Corp. for several years to plan the park. The original design included four ball fields and eight soccer fields, along with two new parking lots, walking paths, three new pedestrian bridges and a “concessions plaza” on 25.3 acres, but it was modified in August to include pickleball courts. The project is estimated to cost about $4 million

Screenshot courtesy Rettler

A new concept plan, approved by the Village Board earlier this year, includes a dozen pickleball courts, which can be seen at top right. and will be split into three phases. The first phase includes two 220-foot Little League baseball fields, two 210-by-360 feet soccer fields, a temporary soccer field, a 77-stall parking lot and a new pedestrian bridge. Other work involves grading and preparing the site with utilities. The grading work is of particular importance after this spring’s flooding issues. At a recent Village Board meeting, representatives from a local soccer club pointed out the number of fields that are currently home to standing water, including those immediately adjacent to the skate park. In August, the board

changed the concept plan of the park to include a dozen pickleball courts in the northeast corner of the park, replacing a youth soccer field. The new courts would be built in Phase 3 of the plan and would add $337,000 to that phase’s price tag, according to documents from the meeting. Fundraisers would net over $1 million if they’re able to sell every sponsorship opportunity they’re offering, ranging from 8-inch by 6-inch commemorative bricks for $150 to naming rights to one of the fields for 25 years for $50,000, to renaming the park for 25 years for $300,000.

Staton: Hotel, library, downtown projects the additional costs in the past few weeks,” Glysch told the Observer. He said they also have some “leads” on a temporary home for the youth center while the old building is being demolished and the new one is going up. The new center will have an indoor play area with a pool table and air hockey, a half-court basketball area, a comfortable seating area, a computer lab/conference room and a “warming kitchen.” Architects call the design “the barn look” because of its high ceiling and relatively open floor plan. “It’s going to be so much better than anything they’ve ever had,” Bertler said. Contact Bill Livick at bill.

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Continued from page 5 be a focus for the board. This plan focuses on the library, senior center, village hall, and youth center. The planning process for the new library is proceeding and a memorandum of understanding has been completed, which defined the roles of the Library Board and Village Board. The Library Board hired Jennifer Way as the new director this summer. She brings experience with a new library facility to the process and has provided productive leadership and a consensus-building approach to the development of the agreement between the library and village. The Library Board has hired a firm to do a fund-raising feasibility study, which is currently underway. The $6 million allocated by the Village Board will be enhanced by the fund-raising efforts, and the library will be constructed on the site of the former Methodist church on Main Street. The next focus of the civic campus plan will be the Oregon Area Senior Center. Initial discussions have centered on a new center on the site of the current senior center and library. Conceptually, the building would be privately owned and would have a senior center on the first floor (space to be rented by the village), and the top two floors would be senior housing. These plans are very preliminary and will be finalized over the next three or four years. The Oregon Youth Center was accepted by the Oregon Community Resource Network as their second project

after the construction of the food pantry in 2017. OCRN quickly raised the necessary funds, and a new youth center is being built on Oak Street on the same location as the current youth center. This new facility will greatly enhance the experience of youth as they attend the programs of the center. This project is a tribute to the generosity of our community and its commitment to our youth. Infrastructure improvements involve chip and seal on five village streets and new blacktop on Rutland-Dunn Road. The signature project has been the construction of North Perry Parkway form the ice arena to Park Street. This spur provides convenient access to Oregon High School and its athletic fields. This project also involved moving the compost site, which is now just south of the former site. Another part of infrastructure development is public parks. The Village recently held a ribbon cutting for the Elving Kjellstrom Park on the Northwest side of town on Braun Road. The Kjellstrom family, in honor of Elving, donated the land for the park and also made a financial contribution for the park. The pavilion offers a very nice spot for cyclists to take a break from their ride. Construction started last year on Jefferson Crossing apartments in downtown Oregon. It was projected that full occupancy would take several months but all 61 units were rented by mid-July! This is a tribute to the design and quality of the building,

as well as the attraction Oregon has as a place to live. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the years of service of Darlene Groenier as a Village Board trustee and citizen who was dedicated to our village. Darlene fought a courageous battle with cancer but succumbed this spring. Thank you to her for her many efforts in making the village a better place. Randy Glysch has been appointed to fill the remainder of Darlene’s term. One disappointment this summer has been the flooded condition of the Oregon Rotary Bike Trail. The water north of the trail has risen to unprecedented levels and portions of the trail are under as much as twenty inches of water. The Village has begun researching possible solutions so it can be reopened next summer. Several people have told me that they appreciate how nice the flowerpots downtown look. Gary and Donna Disch, Lynne Johnson, Marty Berman and Eileen Durkin volunteer their time to care for these downtown enhancements. A sincere thank you to them. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to our village employees for the fine job they do in serving our residents and taking care of our infrastructure. Thanks also to our department heads for their expertise and leadership. It has been a pleasure to continue to serve our residents in 2018. I appreciate your support and input. Steve Staton is the president of the Oregon Village Board.

Oregon Focus

OSD constructed key piece in July ALEXANDER CRAMER Unified Newspaper Group

The proposed splash pad saw some concrete progress this summer, with the school district in July constructing the pump house that will move water through the attraction as well as improving locker rooms at the pool. In early fall, organizers of the project received a $650,000 estimate for construction costs for the pad from KSW Construction, a crucial step in getting fundraising going in earnest, aquatics director Deb Bossingham told the Observer. Oregon-Brooklyn Optimist Club secretary Margaret Straub said while the cost estimate from the contractors was around what they were expecting, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t surprising. “I just don’t understand why splash pads cost so much,” Straub said in a phone call with exasperated good humor in her voice. “It’s cement and there’s piping underneath — what’s so complicated?” The Optimist Club is partnering with the pool to build the splash pad, which would be a free summertime attraction for kids and families looking to cool off and have a central place to hang out near downtown Oregon. Straub and Bossingham are set to meet in the coming weeks to establish a game plan for the fundraising effort, which will include solicitation for in-kind donations, like l a n d s c a p i n g wo r k , a n d applying for grants. They’re still hoping to break ground this spring, though Straub said they’re “nowhere close” to reaching their $650,000 goal. Still, Bossingham has expressed hope large donors will step up when it’s clear what the goal is and what it would take to get there. And the village recently passed a naming-rights policy that might open the door for sponsorship opportunities. Several large projects have been undertaken in the last few years fueled by local philanthropy, including the new youth center and food pantry. There’s also the $4 million — $6 million gap in funding for the proposed new library that is expected to see a major fundraising push. Straub hopes that if organizers are successful in breaking ground on the splash pad this spring, the community will realize the project is happening and the donations might start rolling in. “I think the community would really be behind us,” Straub said. “It would be really great for the community.” Contact Alexander Cramer at alexander.cramer@


New business questionnaires Wille Truck Service

Ryan Gerharz State Farm

Address: 748 Cusick Parkway Principal owner or leader: Brad Wille Opening/arrival date: July 23, 2018, moved to Oregon. Have been In business since 2010. Number of employees: Five full-time, three part-time summer help, and in the winter we add six more part time employees for snow operations. Charity connections/plans: Cruisin For A Cure, Brooklyn Labor Day Festival, Oregon Summer fest, would like to work with veterans causes, as well as environmental causes Oregon connection: I was born, raised and still live in Oregon. I love Oregon, we have great schools, a growing business community, and we believe we can be a valuable asset to oregon. Business focus: Truck, equipment and fleet repairs and service. Expert Ford, GM, Chrysler/ Dodge/Jeep/Ram, Cummins, and International Truck Services. Performance, diagnostics, repairs, maintenance, Onsite Mobile Services, and OEM or performance parts are all available. What’s special about your business? We believe our personal touch, integrity, pride, honesty and willingness to stand behind our work and go the extra mile is what separates us from the rest. We will cater to your needs whether it means we stay late, show up early, go onsite, offer technical assistance or whatever is needed to assist you and your operation in your time of need.

Address: 787 N Main St Ste 10 Oregon WI, 53575 (Next to Mark’s barbershop) Principal owner or leader: Ryan Gerharz Opening/arrival date: Sept. 1, 2018 Number of employees: 2 Charity connections/plans: Dane County Humane Society, DAV, open to learning more about local charities. Oregon connection: I grew up in Janesville and wanted to open my agency in Oregon due to the school district and local community. Business focus: Home and auto insurance, business insurance, health insurance, life insurance and financial services. What’s special about your business? We are more than your local insurance agency. We help people realize their dreams and protect their assets. We also offer budgeting help to plan for the future.

Soleil Wellness & Day Spa Address: 130 N. Main Street, Oregon, WI 53575 Principal owners: Linda Pollock and Megan Malkasian Opening/arrival date: Nov. 1, 2017 Number of employees: 11 Charity connections/plans: We provide numerous donations to area schools, non-profit groups and fundraisers throughout the year. Oregon connection: Two existing businesses merged (Tan Lines Optional/Soleil Massage & Bodywork and The Skin Care Studio) to form Soleil Wellness & Day Spa. Our goal is to provide wellness and spa services for all, including canines. Business focus: Our focus is on providing holistic wellness services for all. We provide a full array of spa services including massage and bodywork, tanning, red light skin renewal therapy, full aesthetic skin care services, eyelash extensions, and medical microdermabrasion. Our services are for people (young and old) and pets. What’s special about your business? We’ve recently added new holistic services and products because our belief is that the body is able to heal itself many times with a more holistic approach, pharmaceuticals are often not the best choice. We offer a variety of organic products including CBD Hemp and essential oils that assist our clients in their healing journey.

Omni Technologies Address: 900 Oregon Center Dr. Website: Phone: 819-1980

Sonny’s Kitchen Address: 101 S. Main St. Website: Search “Sonny’s Kitchen” on Facebook Phone: 291-2266 Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Chamber: Year filled with lots of groundbreakings, construction Continued from page 3 We have been working hard to improve the functionality of the Oregon area community these past months. The Village of Oregon has purchased the land and old motel on Park Street on the southeast side of Oregon. The motel is scheduled to be demolished the middle of November. Oregon Area Fire and EMS along with other local fire departments will use this opportunity to train the staff on proper techniques of fire safety. Once the building is gone, the land could be used for future business development. Another great way of i m p r ov i n g t h e O r eg o n community is by improving our. The Jaycee Park West renovation project is actively raising funds to improve the quality and functionality of the park. The plan offers four baseball/softball fields and four full-size playing fields with proper drainage for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and rugby. There will be 12 new pickleball courts, additional parking lots, a concession building with restrooms, updated walking paths, new playground equipment and so much more. Our goal is to provide the opportunity to

participate in recreational sports and activities without traveling outside the Oregon community. That will focus on improving youth sports participation, bringing business into Oregon and creating a facility to promote fitness and wellness for all. There are many ways to help with the Jaycee Park West project. We are offering sponsorships for naming rights on fields, bleachers, dugouts, park names, pickleball courts and more. There are engraved brick pavers for the walking paths and Jaycee Sports Park apparel, which many can be purchased at The Oregon Chamber partnered with the Oregon Area Wellness Coalition and won two awards as a Healthy Community Designation Silver for the Village of Oregon. This new program recognizes and encourages local efforts to improve overall community health and well-being. Oregon is one of 31 communities to be recognized and one of only 14 communities to receive recognition at the Silver level. And the Wisconsin Active Community Designation shows the Oregon community is continuously working to provide health and wellness to all.

Oregon has tremendous opportunities for responsible economic growth that balances our desire to maintain Oregon’s hometown feel while broadening our economic base. A strong economic future for our community will include growth of existing businesses and the welcoming new ones. These businesses will increase the tax base as well as employment in our community and are a welcome addition to the Village’s business community. 

The Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce greatly values our existing membership and business community. Most of our time and resources are devoted to advocating and promoting our members. However, the Chamber’s mission is also to promote economic development and bring new commerce to our local community. New commerce provides for a healthy, growing, local economy. If you would like to learn more about what is

happening in Oregon or sign up for the Oregon Chamber weekly email, please visit our website at To offer professional services to cut down on the costs of the Jaycee Park project or inquire about naming rights, please contact me at 835-3697. Judy Knutson is the executive director of the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce.

Financial advise is free. advice is invaluable. 



Splash pad fundraising has a ways to go

Oregon Observer

October 25, 2018

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2018 Oregon Focus  

2018 Oregon Focus

2018 Oregon Focus  

2018 Oregon Focus