Festival of Trees at The Trout Museum of Art

3b3c17e2-c185-460e-83fe-dc2f1f39fd392nd Annual Festival of Trees – Nov. 1 – 21:

Join the Trout Museum of Art for this free celebratory exhibit!

The Fox Cities Building for the Arts rings in the holiday season with unique experiences for the entire family. Local artists and businesses display colorful wreaths, trees, and stockings, available for silent bidding throughout downtown Appleton.

Home for the Holidays

Thursday, Nov. 5 & 12, 6pm-9pm

Children’s Story & Activity Time

Wednesday, Nov. 4 & 18

Drop-In Studio: Upcycled Holiday Ornaments

Nov. 7, 14, & 15, Noon-4pm

Live Performances

Starting this Saturday

Auction Reception

Saturday, Nov. 21, 6pm-8pm

When planning your visit to the museum, please be aware that the elevator is currently out of service. We apologize for the inconvenience.

A Downtown Holiday Tradition

For a full Festival of Trees experience, be sure to visit each participating downtown destination. Each business is part of the exhibition space, showcasing a tree that you can bid on. Proceeds benefit a partnering non-profit organization. Pick up a map at The Trout Museum of Art to participate in this downtown experience!



Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 6.35.37 PM“A Night of Family Traditions” is this year’s theme of The 45th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade.  New this year, the parade will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24th.

The parade will feature about 75 units including floats, decorated vehicles, walking units and animal entries.

Twenty one marching bands from Northeastern Wisconsin/Upper Michigan high schools and area communities will perform in the parade. 

“We selected “A Night of Family Traditions” as our theme because this is all about generations of children and families enjoying this nighttime parade.” according to Greg Otis, Parade Chairman.

This year’s parade will be televised live by WFRV-TV from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Local Channel 5

will also videotape the parade for rebroadcast at a later date.

The parade begins with a police escort at State Street and College Avenue.  It travels east down College Avenue and ends at Drew Street. 

The Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade is the largest nighttime parade in the Midwest.  Last year’s parade drew approximately 80,000 spectators to Downtown Appleton.  Additionally, a television audience of over 100,000, view the parade live and during a rebroadcast on Local Channel 5, WFRV-TV.

For more parade information visit http://www.appleton.org.

Wisconsin Bike Summit will be held in Appleton WI on November 6th

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The Wisconsin Bike Fed and the Appleton Wisconsin Bike Summit Host Committee are pleased to announce the Wisconsin Bike Summit will be held in Appleton WI on November 6th 2015 at the Warch Center of Lawrence University.

This year’s theme is Shifting Gears and attendees will be able to choose from a variety of presentations covering such various bicycling topics as advocacy, planning, equity and community.  Sessions include:

How to Start a Trips for Kids Mountain Bike Ride Chapter for Underserved Youth

A Non-Traditional Approach to Bike to Work Day

An In-Depth Study of Wisconsin Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes

Women in Cycling – the Ladies Revolution!

Slow Roll Chicago: The Transformative Power of Bicycles

HealthTIDE – the New Wave; Weight of the Fox Valley – To Win, We Need To Lose

The Keynote Speakers this year are Charlie Cooper of People For Bikes who will speak about the current state of bicycling in the US and Kelsey Regan, UltraMarathon Cycling record holder for the fastest point to point ride across Wisconsin.

The Summit will conclude with a exclusive tour and reception at the History Museum at the Castle featuring the expanded exhibit Shifting Gears: A Cyclical History of Badger Cycling. 

More information can be found at http://wisconsinbikefed.org/events/bike-summit/

Registration fees for the Summit are $45 and Reception only tickets are available for $25. 

Exhibition Center Communication and Updates

The Exhibition Center project took a very important step last night!

Exhibition Center Communication and Updates:

imgresLast night the Appleton Common Council met in special session and approved the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) Documents-

1. Cooperation Agreement

2. Room Tax Commission and Tourism Zone Agreement

3.  Ordinance Imposing the Room Tax

I have again attached those documents for your convenience.

This link is to the video of the Council last night http://cityofappleton.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=1215

Last night was a very important step in this process.

Mayor Hanna strongly believed, and other municipalities concurred, that the Appleton Common Council needed to take the leadership vote on the IGA documents prior to the other municipalities posting these for action on their agenda.  The vote last night will allow the other nine municipalities to now discuss and vote on the IGA documents in the next couple of weeks.

The next steps for the Appleton Common Council are to review the Property Improvement Plan (PIP) for the Radisson Paper Valley and to discuss and vote on the Management Agreement (MA) between the City of Appleton and Inner Circle.

Once the Appleton Common Council Agenda is posted with the PIP and MA I will share those documents via this communication method.

Thank you to everyone who has taken your time to review documents, ask questions, share your concerns and thoughts.   Collaboration makes the process and the project stronger!

Karen Harkness
Director of Community and Economic Development

Council set to vote on latest exhibition center agreements

Downtown Appleton-ONE GREAT PLACE-bug-4cThe Appleton Common Council will convene a special meeting on Wednesday, October 28 at 7 p.m., to vote on agreements related to the proposed Fox Cities Exhibition Center.

The council is expected to vote on the latest version of a proposed hotel room tax increase. The new proposal, drafted in response to feedback from the Town of Grand Chute on Wednesday, is being finalized. Under the new proposal:

– 10 participating Fox Cities communities agree to raise the hotel room tax rate to 10%

  • 3% goes to the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • 2% goes to pay bonds on the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (estimated to be paid off in 2017)
  • 3% goes to fund bonds to pay for the construction of the Fox Cities Exhibition Center
  • 1% goes to the municipalities
  • 1% goes to Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau Tourism Development Fund (a total of 3% after PAC bonds paid off in 2017 and that 2% tax rolls into the Tourism Development Fund)

– The cost to build the exhibition center is capped at $29 million.

“These agreements have been in the works for months and while numbers have changed the concepts of the plan and end goal have not,” said Mayor Tim Hanna. “This has been a collaborative process that needs to address the goals and objectives of all the stakeholders involved.”

One way that could happen is through the CVB’s tourism development fund. The initial 1% tax will become 3% when the 2% room tax already dedicated to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center bonds are paid off in 2017 and rolled into the tourism development fund. The CVB uses the fund to support tourism initiatives throughout the Fox Cities. Since 1987 the fund has contributed nearly $8 million to projects from museum exhibits to renovations at Fox Cities Stadium.

The fund could eventually be used to support construction of a new indoors sports facility, substantial renovations to existing sports facilities and other future projects. In 2014 the CVB engaged a consultant to study the sports tourism market in the Fox Cities.

“Initial indications show that investments in our ice facilities and an indoor hard court facility could be an additional $6.3 million in direct visitor spending in the Fox Cities annually,” said CVB Executive Director Pam Seidl.

The change in the room tax agreement to direct funding to the CVB’s tourism development fund has the potential to help create significant additional visitor spending in the Fox Cities in the future. In letters of support to Mayor Hanna Wednesday, area hotel owners voiced support for the changes.

“I believe the compromises and partnership developed in the discussion between the City of Appleton and the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau have led us to a point where we can make the expo center a reality and an asset for the entire Fox Cities,” said Richard Batley, owner of the Best Western Premier Bridgewood Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Neenah and managing partner of the CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel & Spa in Appleton.

If the Appleton Common Council votes to approve the room tax agreement the other municipalities will also have to approve before November 30. That is the deadline imposed by the Outagamie County Board for Appleton to purchase the county-owned site proposed for the Fox Cities Exhibition Center.

Local Residents Honor Thedacare Hospitals Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Award Winners for 14th Year in a Row

Local residents named ThedaCare’s two Fox Cities hospitals as the best in the area for the 14th year in a row.


Appleton Medical Center (AMC) and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah received the 2015-16 Consumer Choice Awards from the National Research Corporation. AMC won in the Appleton market while Theda Clark won in the Neenah-Oshkosh market. The annual award identifies hospitals across the country that consumers choose as having the highest quality and image. The winners are determined by consumer perceptions on multiple quality and image ratings collected in the company’s Market Insights survey, the largest online consumer healthcare survey in the country.

“Receiving the Consumer Choice award means a lot since it comes from the community – the people we serve,” said Brian Burmeister, senior vice president of ThedaCare Medical Centers. “This is why we are here — to serve the community. Being honored for so many years in a row reaffirms we’re doing the right things.”

Consumer Choice Award winners like AMC and Theda Clark received the highest ratings from consumers in four areas:

  • Overall quality
  • Best doctors
  • Best nurses
  • Overall image and reputation

“We want to not only provide patients with the best possible care, but also peace of mind about the decisions being made,” Burmeister said. “This award shows our patients trust us and what we’re doing each and every day.”

Burmeister said the award belongs to all ThedaCare staff and providers along with the independent physicians who partner with the Appleton-based health system since it’s their hard work that consumers are honoring. “The employees and physicians are the ones working directly with patients. It’s their interactions with consumers that are being honored,” he said. “We could not win this award without our great doctors, nurses and other staff.”

A complete list of all winners can be found at nationalresearch.com/ConsumerChoice

Library Planning to Continue with Proposed Budget

The Mayor’s Executive Budget was released at the meeting of the Appleton Common Council last night. I am pleased to report that within the budget there is funding included to continue working on a solution for the Appleton Public Library. In June, the City of Appleton Common Council did not approve acquiring the site that ranked the highest in the site selection process. Since then, the library board has taken time to consider potential avenues to move forward in order to come to a proposal that will be supported.

Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 1.32.34 PMThe future of Appleton Public Library’s facility plans are closely intertwined with the future of downtown Appleton. The heart of our city is facing important decisions regarding solutions for our aging parking infrastructure. A comprehensive 56-block downtown parking analysis was completed last year providing options for solutions. Another process has begun to study mobility throughout downtown, including travel by foot, bicycle, automobile and public transit. In addition, the city and Appleton Downtown Incorporated are soliciting proposals to undergo a visioning process and update the downtown section of the city’s comprehensive plan.
Decisions about parking and access were identified as primary concerns throughout the months of feedback solicited in 2014. These concerns were echoed by council during public meeting decision points investigating the proposed site. Additionally, there were questions about how the proposed site for the library fit into the big picture for downtown Appleton. Mayor Hanna has factored all of these complicated issues into his 2016 budget proposal.

This proposal contains a Capital Improvement Project for Downtown Development (pg. 608) including funding for the library totaling $30,500,000 over four years:

  • 2016 – $500,000
  • 2017 – $5,000,000
  • 2018 – $15,000,000
  • 2019 – $10,000,000

This timeline allows for the completion of pending mobility and downtown vision studies to inform important decisions before the council. Since 2008, the library has been in the process of evaluating the condition of the current facility, as well as future needs and priorities of our community. Mayor Hanna’s transmittal letter states that work done by the Appleton Public Library Board of Trustees regarding the future needs of the library and leading up to the initial site recommendation remains valid. He is anticipating a collaborative decision making process, involving both the library board and the common council, to reach a consensus regarding the future of the library.