Waukesha County

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Community Engagement

Community Economic Development educational efforts serve to promote active resident participation and build community capacity, engage residents in community economic diagnosis to understand impacts and alternative solutions, and assist in action plan development.

  • Public Opinion Surveys

    Community Public Opinion Surveys

    Often times we hear local elected officials say they would like to know about what their constituents feel about current municipal operations. Our approach with resident engagement starts with a core group of project stakeholders who help identify the learning objectives, develop their community building skills, provide input and feedback throughout the process, and share with other community members the purpose and value of the conducting research with the community.

    We encourage this group to be representative of the community’s diversity. By having many perspectives on the task, the group benefits by having different viewpoints from the community.

    Through this process, two products will be developed: a custom survey tool, and new understanding of the community.

    The survey results analysis then provides the residents and community leaders the data necessary to help them make an informed decision in regards to future community efforts and directions.

  • City of Waukesha Neighborhood Engagement

    City of Waukesha Neighborhood Engagement

    The City of Waukesha is Waukesha County’s largest municipality with a population over 70,709. UW-Extension has helped develop and deploy community education programs here since 1999. Community development efforts focused primarily on strategic educational initiatives with Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Areas (NRSA) in the Central City.

    Strong cross-sector relationships continue to be built on a foundation of engaging residents, stakeholders and elected officials in a process that benefit the larger community. Partners are numerous, goals are shared and resources are leveraged for impact with transformational education. To meet individual community needs, programs are custom designed.

    Waukesha's Tower Hill Neighborhood

    Tower Hill Healthy Neighborhood Initiative:

    Waukesha County UW­-Extension has provided community education with Waukesha’s Tower Hill neighborhood (formally West Side) since 2006. This neighborhood is located adjacent to and within walking distance of downtown Waukesha. Efforts engage residents in developing their leadership skills to organize strategic efforts leading to goal-­based improvements. All improvements are possible through working with partnering agencies, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation Healthy Neighborhood Initiative & ProHealth Care, Inc­ and local organizations to help develop a stronger neighborhood.

    Tower Hill Neighborhood Committee:

    The neighbors of the Tower Hill Neighborhood Association are a group of residents working together for the common goal of improving and beautifying their neighborhood. Residents have been working together on beautification projects, a neighborhood gateway sign, speed calming initiative, and are a collective voice to elected officials and much more! Neighborhood meetings are held monthly on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Salvation Army located on Madison St. from 7-8 p.m. For more info, contact Steve Chmielewski at steven.chmielewski@ces.uwex.edu or 262-­548-­7781.

    Tower Hill Community Garden:
    The Tower Hill Community Garden has provided a gardening opportunity for residents in the Tower Hill Neighborhood (neighborhood surrounding Waukesha Memorial Hospital) for over 10 years. The lot is owned by Waukesha Memorial Hospital. Waukesha County UW­-Extension provides weekly horticulture and nutrition education for 12 weeks, from June through August. Tower Hill residents work together to plant, maintain, and harvest the vegetables. Harvested vegetables are shared by the participants each week. Many thanks to ProHealth Care who sponsors the garden site, project materials to upgrade the garden beds, and staff time to support the garden and other community building strategies.

    For information about participating in the upcoming season, please contact Steve Chmielewski at steven.chmielewski@ces.uwex.edu or 262-­548-­7781.


    Waukesha's Dunbar Oaks Neighborhood

    Waukesha County UW­-Extension has provided community education with the community surrounding Waukesha’s Dunbar Oaks Neighborhood since 1998. The Dunbar Oaks Neighborhood is located adjacent to and within walking distance of downtown Waukesha. Efforts engage residents in developing their leadership skills to organize strategic efforts leading to goal-­based improvements. All improvements are possible through working with partnering agency, The Greater Milwaukee Foundation Healthy Neighborhood Initiative, and local organizations to help develop a stronger neighborhood.

    Dunbar Oaks Neighborhood Association:

    In Dunbar Oaks, residents gather each month to clean up Bethesda Park in their neighborhood. A neighborhood meeting is held immediately after the cleanup. In appreciation, The Waukesha Parks Department has posted a sign at the park acknowledging the neighborhood’s efforts to adopt the park through providing volunteer leadership in monthly clean-ups. They are also involved in other neighborhood beautification projects and strategies that also help connect neighbors to area resources.


  • Village of Summit

    Village of Summit

    The Village of Summit, with a population of 4,695 (as of January 1, 2012), is working to maintain it’s rural, lake country character while continuing to grow. As the municipality evolved from a Town to a Village in 2010, there have been a number of challenges in determining directions that residents want the Village to take.

    UW-Extension Community Development Educators met with the Village Administrator and Board Trustees to identify topics where more input was needed for decision-making. This resulted in assisting the Village in the process of developing of a Community Public Opinion Survey.

    The board now has baseline data regarding service levels/facilities and to assist with future budget and land use decisions. The results will also be used in DNR proposals, as well as the updated Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.

    For more info on conducting a Public Opinion Survey with your community, contact our office 262-548-7781.

  • Village of Sussex

    Village of Sussex

    To address issues and opportunities related to the community’s growth, UW-Extension provided community development educational programs in the Village of Sussex from 2002 through 2017. Efforts were focused primarily on community-building initiatives at Stonegate and Bristol Court Apartments, two low-to-moderate income apartment complexes. Project success is attributed to a continuous educational effort and a strong partnership between Stonegate and Bristol Court Apartment management and residents, Waukesha County Sherriff’s Department, Village of Sussex Police Services, the Village of Sussex, and Waukesha County UW-Extension.

    In 2014 through 2016, educational programming efforts also focused on the Sussex area apartment managers. Each year a meeting was held for apartment managers to establish an on-going line of communication among apartment managers in Sussex, give apartment managers an opportunity to discuss common problems and issues with the Police and Fire Chief, and provide an opportunity to learn about updated community ordinances and fire codes. Managers shared that they valued this opportunity to meet. This meeting was co-facilitated by UW-Extension Waukesha County and Waukesha County Sherriff’s Department Village of Sussex Police Services.  

    For more information, contact Ann Wied at 262-548-7788 or awied@waukeshacounty.gov

    Sussex Community – Working Together to Identify Needs and Issues

    In addition, in 2013 a group of people representing the Sussex community gathered weekly in September and October to identify a community need and develop and implement an action plan to address it. Participants included residents and representatives from congregations, community agencies and services, the Village of Sussex, and the school district. Waukesha County UW-Extension staff facilitated the weekly gatherings. As a result of this effort, the Sussex Farmers Market was initiated. See https://www.facebook.com/sussexfarmersmarket/. This five-week project was supported by UW-Extension, the Waukesha County Community Development Block Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Froedtert Health Community Memorial Hospital Outreach, and Sussex Area Outreach Services (SOS).

    For more information on UW-Extension's work in the Village of Sussex, contact Ann Wied at 262-548-7788 or awied@waukeshacounty.gov.


Contact Information:

Steven Chmielewski, 262-548-7781 
Ann Wied, 262-548-7788

UW-Extension Waukesha County
515 W Moreland Blvd AC G22
Waukesha, WI 53188
Phone: 262-548-7770
Fax: 262-548-7787
Office Hours: M-F, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Civil Rights Statement: University of Wisconsin, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin counties cooperating. An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.