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. 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 Dunbar Oaks Neighborhood

    Extension Waukesha County 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 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.

    For more information, visit http://dunbaroaks.org/

    Waukesha's Tower Hill Neighborhood

    Tower Hill Healthy Neighborhood Initiative:

    Extension Waukesha County has provided community education with Waukesha’s Tower Hill neighborhood (formerly 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 Association:

    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@wisc.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. Extension Waukesha County 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@wisc.edu or 262-­548-­7781.


  • 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.

    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 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, Extension Waukesha County 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 Extension Waukesha County.

    In 2014 through 2016, educational programming efforts also focused on the Sussex area apartment managers. Meetings were held each year for apartment managers co-facilitated by Extension Waukesha County and Waukesha County Sherriff’s Department Village of Sussex Police Services. The goal was 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. Managers also learned about updated community ordinances and fire codes. Managers shared that they valued this opportunity to meet.   

    For more information, contact Ann Wied at 262-548-7788 or ann.wied@wisc.edu

    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. Extension Waukesha County 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 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 Extension's work in the Village of Sussex, contact Ann Wied at 262-548-7788 or ann.wied@wisc.edu.

Contact Information:

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

Extension Waukesha County
University of Wisconsin Madison
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: An EEO/AA employer, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title VI, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requirements.