Small Community Forums offer opportunity to share best practices


Sessions provide participants opportunity to network, share best practices and identify strategies for small town success. Register at  

More than half of Wisconsin’s municipalities are communities of fewer than 2,500 residents. Despite their large number, these small communities represent a wide variety of geographic and economic areas within the state. Because of their small size, these municipalities have unique issues and needs that are often very different from those of larger communities.

Now in their seventh year, the Small Community Forums, to be held in four locations in August and September, allow representatives of these communities to come together, network, share best practices and identify strategies to address shared concerns. Additionally, representatives from many state and regional resource partners will be on hand to connect with attendees and provide guidance on specific concerns introduced during the sessions.

Forum dates and locations (subject to change)

  • Wabeno – Thursday, August 24, at the Wabeno Elementary School, 4346 Mill Lane
  • Gays Mills – Tuesday, August 29, at the Village Hall, 16381 Highway 131
  • Cambridge – Wednesday, September 13, at Keystone Grill, 206 West Main Street
  • Cumberland – Wednesday, September 20, at Nezzy’s, 1345 2nd Avenue

Each Forum takes place from noon to 4:30 p.m. on the date listed. Registration at each site opens at 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $20 and includes lunch starting at 12 noon. Register at

The Forums are open to everyone interested in small towns, including those involved in quality of life issues, business, government, education, civic and community development   Civic leaders, elected officials, volunteers, business leaders, educators, and local and regional economic development, civic, and planning are encouraged to participate.  These convenings are about sharing ideas, learning and networking for people who care about the future of rural Wisconsin.

Matt Trotter, a recent Forum participant and small business owner in Princeton, had this to say about the forums: “As a small business owner, finding ways to help our community thrive and grow is important from a personal and professional standpoint. Being able to network and gather creative ideas and best practices from others in similar situations is a really valuable experience. I always come away from the small town forums refreshed and reenergized.”

The 2017 Small Community Forums are made possible through a coalition of statewide agencies and organizations involved in rural community development: Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Downtown Action CouncilWisconsin Rural PartnersUW-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development.

For more information, contact Rick Rolfsmeyer at Wisconsin Rural Partners,