APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) - The Fox Cities Economic Development Corporation is now Appleton Regional Partnership. An affiliate of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, the group is bringing together business and government in an effort to improve the local economy.
"We're about establishing a new name that appears on the map," explained Executive Director Larry Burkhardt. "Fox Cities is not a name we can use when we go out to national and international markets because no one knows where it is."
Sixty area municipalities are banding together to help keep current businesses put and bring new companies into the valley. It's an idea close to the heart of Adam Hammatt. The Kimberly Village Administrator saw the closure of the New Page Paper Mill put 600 people out of work.
"Kimberly lost about 70 of those jobs," Hammatt explained. "That means 530 jobs were lost outside of Kimberly. So we recognized that, regionally, this had a huge impact and in order to bring something like this back in, we need to work together regionally. So we feel putting together a partnership of this magnitude is going to do just what we need it to do."
The partnership will be funded through money from each municipality as well as some participating local businesses.
"So it's kind of risky," Time Hanna, Appleton's Mayor, said. "Why are we spending this much money? But in the end, it's about results. It's about making sure we retain the businesses that are here, help them grow and get the word out and make ourselves attractive so that the businesses want to locate here."
Over the next five years, Appleton Regional Partnership's goal is to support the creation of 1,200 new jobs, which will bring about $75 million to the economy annually.