Government & Event Issues With Jim Kreuser

Government & Event Issues With Jim Kreuser

Jim Kreuser has been Kenosha County executive since 2008. He will be blogging regularly about county government issues and events. You can contact him at 262-653-2600 or at County.Executive@kenoshacounty.org.

Where Do We Go From Here?
By Jim Kreuser

A lot of people are asking, “Where do we go from here?”

Kenosha County is working with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and a broad range of business partners, large and small, to put together our own series of best-practice recommendations to help businesses and organizations reopen with minimal impact to public health.

Put simply: We want our businesses to prosper and our workers to receive paychecks. And we want our people to stay healthy.

Our plan, called the Kenosha County Kickstart, includes recommendations on the maximum numbers of people who should be in businesses as we phase out of the COVID-19pandemic. And it urges for a continuation of the healthy practices we’ve been talking about for months: Social distancing, frequent hand washing, staying home when you feel sick and wearing a mask when you’re out in public in places where distancing is difficult, to name a few.

These recommendations are just that — they’re not binding, and we’re not going to be out actively enforcing them. But our Kenosha County Division of Health stands ready to help businesses navigate the challenges they’re facing as we restart our economy.

The Kenosha County Kickstart Plan has a lot of fingerprints on it, by design. After the draft was released to the public on May 15, workgroups involving representatives of many sectors of our got to work on going through the recommendations, honing them to better meet their needs and challenges. I thank them all for their hard work.

A final draft of the plan, expected to be out by shortly after Memorial Day, will be posted on the News Flash section at https://www.kenoshacounty.org, and on our COVID-19 Information Hub website, at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/covid-19.

Sadly, it appears we have a long way to go before we’re “in the clear” with COVID-19. I very much encourage people to act responsibly and to continue to take precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

With Kenosha County being the resilient community it is, and with continued diligence from our residents and businesses, I am confident we will pull through this and emerge stronger than ever.

Jim Kreuser has been Kenosha County executive since 2008. He blogs here regularly about county government issues and events. You can contact him at 262-653-2600 or at County.Executive@kenoshacounty.org.

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An old friend on Kenosha’s lakefront has a new look

This story originally appeared in the March 12th, 2020 issue of The Smart Reader

Late last month, we celebrated the grand reopening of the newly renovated Anderson Arts Center, on the south end of the Kemper Center grounds.

If you’ve never visited the center, now’s a better time than ever to check it out. And even if you’ve been there many times, I urge you to come back and see it again. It’s never looked better!

The Anderson home is a 9,000-square-foot, 30-room mansion that James R. Anderson and Janet Lance Anderson built in 1929.

Janet Lance Anderson was the daughter of Simmons Co. executive Andrew H. Lance and the granddaughter of the mattress manufacturer’s founder, Zalmon Simmons. James Anderson was an American Brass Co. executive who later established the Chicago Extruded Metals Co.

The couple had a prolific history of donating property to benefit the Kenosha community – in 1967, they gave the City of Kenosha the land that would become Anderson Park, and Janet Lance Anderson deeded her home to the county in 1977, with the condition that she could live there for the rest of her life.

In 1990, it officially became a part of the Kemper Center grounds, and, two years later, the Anderson Arts Center opened its doors.

Over the years, the center has hosted hundreds of art exhibitions and special events, welcoming thousands of visitors. But, as we found in recent years, age had creeped up on the beautiful, historic building, and work would be needed to protect it for future generations.

My good friend, Mayor John Antaramian, stepped up to the plate and agreed to partner with Kenosha County on the intensive restoration that was completed recently and dedicated at a Feb. 22 reception attended by numerous members of the Anderson family. I thank them for traveling far and wide to celebrate their family’s enduring legacy in Kenosha!

Under the direction of design experts at InSite Architects, crews led by Camosy Construction meticulously disassembled the home’s exterior – including its original windows and slate roof – and facilitated a refresh that now has the home’s appearance exactly like that when the Andersons first built it.

Along the way, we did add some modern amenities, too.

A state-of-the-art geothermal heating and cooling system now provides the building with year-round climate control for the first time in its history. This will allow the Anderson Arts Center to attract a higher caliber of exhibits than it could previously. And it’s far more efficient than the old heating plant.

Perhaps best of all, new, handicap-accessible restrooms are now situated in what was the home’s attached garage. They can be accessed from inside the gallery, and from outside when special events like Twilight Jazz are happening out on the lawn.

All of these improvements spell a long, bright future for this beautiful Kenosha County landmark!

The Anderson Arts Center, located at 6603 Third Ave., is open from 1-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Admission is free, but donations are gratefully accepted. I hope to see you out there sometime soon!

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Looking back at suffrage

This story originally appeared in the February 27, 2020 issue of The Smart Reader

It’s hard to believe we’re already nearly two months into 2020 – dare I say, the winter seems to be just flying by.

But before the whole year slips away, it’s a good time to stop and acknowledge an important centennial that Kenosha County is celebrating throughout 2020.

On Aug. 26, it will be exactly 100 years since Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the long-overdue right to vote.

Imagine that – within the lifetimes of many of our parents and grandparents, roughly half of the United States population did not have the freedom to go to the ballot box and choose their local, state and federal representatives.

With the importance of this milestone in mind, last year I appointed a special steering committee to coordinate and promote suffrage celebrations throughout Kenosha County in 2020.

The committee has a website, at www.kenoshacounty.org/suffrage, and a Facebook page that you can find by searching for “Kenosha County Suffrage 100.” On these pages are profiles of notable suffragists from Kenosha County, and a calendar that now includes more than 30 celebrations scheduled throughout the year.

I hope you’ll check it out and consider attending some of these events. Or, better yet, organize an event of your own and submit the information to us so we can add it to the calendar.

Among the highlights already on the calendar:

• This year’s City of Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade, on June 28, will feature the theme “A Centennial Celebration: Women’s Right to Vote.” The city’s parade organizers are still looking for organizations and businesses to enter floats that reflect the theme. More details on how to apply are on our events calendar.

• On Aug. 11, Kenosha County will host its own suffrage celebration in the form of a blues and jazz concert as part of the Anderson Arts Center’s Twilight Jazz series. This event will include live music and fireworks at dusk. More details will be announced soon.

• Two weeks later, on Aug. 26, the Pleasant Prairie Historical Society will celebrate suffrage at the grand opening of its new museum in the historic Dublin School.

These are all events you won’t want to miss.

Another thing you won’t want to miss, if your family has deep roots in Kenosha County, is a look at the 170 women that the Kenosha Evening News listed in a Nov. 11, 1915, article about the Kenosha County Equal Suffrage League. Local historian Diane Giles, and fellow Suffrage 100 Steering Committee members Pam Drummond and Cameron Swallow, put in hours of work uncovering the first names of these women, many of whom were listed as “Mrs. John Smith,” etc.

There are many familiar last names on the list; maybe one of them is yours? Check it out on our Suffrage 100 webpage, under the link “Was Your Great-Grandmother a Suffragist?”

Please join me in making 2020 a yearlong celebration of the women’s right to vote. It’s not too late!

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Giving an Ovation to Kenosha County’s hard working employees

This story originally appeared in the January 16, 2020 issue of The Smart Reader

I’m going on tour in 2020.

No, I’m not joining a rock band. Throughout the year, I’ll be making it a point to travel out to our various Kenosha County government facilities, to meet with many of our employees and share with them a symbol of our county’s success.

In late 2019, Kenosha County was fortunate to be a recipient of the Forward Award, presented as part of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance’s annual Ovation Awards program at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

The award recognizes the investments we’ve made – in money, creativity and sweat equity – to move Kenosha County forward.

There are many things that make our county a great place to live, work and raise a family. But in county government specifically, it’s the people who work for us who make the difference.

That’s why I’m taking the Ovation Award trophy on the road, so that our county employees can celebrate in the success that they’ve made possible.

Around the office, we’ve called it the Stanley Cup Plan – an homage to the National Hockey League’s championship trophy, which the winning team takes on something of a world tour each year.

County government is here to provide the services that people cannot do on their own, helping our most vulnerable residents in their greatest times of need.

We’re also here to develop and maintain the infrastructure that’s needed to attract and maintain employers in our area.

And we work to keep our community safe, running one of the state’s largest law enforcement departments and collaborating with our state partners to run our courts system.

None of this would happen without the dedicated employees who pour their heart and soul into their work for Kenosha County every day. I salute them – and I look forward to continuing to work with them to keep moving Kenosha County forward!

About this blog:

Jim Kreuser has been Kenosha County executive since 2008. He will be blogging regularly about county government issues and events. You can contact him at 262-653-2600 or at County.Executive@kenoshacounty.org.

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Head outside this winter – to a Kenosha County Park!

(This story originally appeared in the January 16, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.)

Just because it’s winter in Wisconsin doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. In fact, our Kenosha County Parks offer many reasons to get outside and enjoy the season.

And new this year, there is warm way to get some relief at Petrifying Springs Park. A year-round, heated restroom facility on the south end of the park, near the Biergarten and the Carlisle Family Dog Park, opened last summer and is now in its first winter of service to park visitors.

We’re excited to offer this new amenity, paid for in part by the county’s share of revenue generated at the Biergarten. It’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re out at the sledding hill, cross-country skiing, or going for a wintery walk in the park.

What’s there to do during winter in Kenosha County Parks? Here are a few ideas:

• Sledding hills are available at Fox River Park (lighted), Petrifying Springs Park (lighted) and Silver Lake Park.

• Silver Lake Park offers more than 2.5 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails and over 10 miles of single-track trails. Kenosha County Parks also maintains a ski trail on UW-Parkside’s Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course, just across Highway JR from Petrifying Springs Park.

• Pringle Nature Center in Bristol Woods Park offers snowshoe rentals for use on more than four miles of trails within the park.

• Ice fishing is available at the Kenosha County Veterans Memorial Park (formerly known as KD Park), Old Settlers Park and Silver Lake Park.

Another option, new this year, is the FlightScope golf simulator in the clubhouse at Petrifying Springs Golf Course. Thanks to technology used by many professional golfers, you can “play” more than two dozen golf courses around the world – and dream of your rounds to come on our county golf courses after the spring thaw.

Find out more about the simulator at www.kenoshacounty.golf.com, and about all that our parks have to offer year-round at http://www.kenoshacounty.org/600/Parks