News & Media

Kelly Ryan Blog: Welcome!

Thu. Feb 28, 2013

Welcome to my blog!

I couldn’t be more excited to explore this digital platform as a way to share the exciting work of Incourage Community Foundation. I’ve been CEO of Incourage since 1996, and in that time we’ve made improving the life in south Wood County our mission. Whether by turning everyday residents into tomorrow’s leaders, working to expand access to information digitally and in print, or by partnering with local schools and businesses to retrain our workforce, Incourage is working to move this community forward.

I hope this blog will be a place to share some of our great stories; I believe there are many more to come. It will also be a place to hear from you. At Incourage, we believe that solutions to our region’s most pressing issues must come from its residents. We believe that by doing the hard work together, we can create a growing and vibrant community. That’s why I encourage my readers to comment, email, or call to share their ideas about our work and any of the topics I post.

Now, in other news . . .

In December, Incourage purchased the former Daily Tribune building from the newspaper’s parent company, Gannett. Situated along the riverfront in downtown Wisconsin Rapids, we viewed the building as a valuable piece of our history with enormous potential for our community’s future. We hope the building will be the catalyst for a “community-centered” process of revitalization – one with everyday residents taking ownership of their community.

A lot is going on with the building. Here is what you need to know:

  • In the coming months, Incourage will be holding tours of the Tribune building. The tours will be open to the public and Helen Jungwirth (pictured above), a retired publisher of the Daily Tribune and current chair of the Incourage board, will act as a guide. For several years, Helen worked in the building and she has extensive knowledge of the Tribune’s history. We believe her participation will create a wonderful opportunity for residents to learn about the past, while also considering how to shape our future.
  • This spring, we expect to complete a draft of how to gather, process, and integrate community-generated ideas about the property into a plan of action. Right now, we are researching how other cities have implemented similar projects. We are particularly excited about the Market Creek development in San Diego. It’s a fantastic example of a grassroots project to revitalize a blighted shopping area. You can read more about the Market Creek development here: http://www.marketcreek.com.
  • While the building is vacant, the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department will be using the space to train its special response team and K-9 unit, as well as to teach patrol officers how to clear a building.
  • To keep the building humming until renovations can begin, we have installed a temporary heating unit.
  • Incourage is sorting through about 100 rolls of blueprints from the Tribune so they can be categorized and possibly hung inside the building once it is restored.

There is always lots happening at Incourage. I look forward to sharing it with you in the weeks and months to come. Thanks for reading.


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  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.