News & Media

Column: Tribune Building project carries on Huffman’s vision

Tue. Sep 24, 2013

Helen Jungwirth, Incourage Board Chair

Helen Jungwirth, Incourage Board Chair

By: Helen Jungwirth, former Daily Tribune publisher and Incourage Board Chair 

All great projects begin with a vision.

In 1959, when William F. Huffman built the iconic building that housed WFHR Radio and the Daily Tribune newspaper, it became a symbol of his vision for our community. Huffman believed in the role of educated and activist citizens in a democratic government. He knew that residents must have a voice in their community and the opportunity to shape its future.

The building’s location, on the riverfront in downtown Wisconsin Rapids, provided the perfect setting for community engagement and resident interaction.

I am confident that Bill Huffman would be pleased to see his vision continuing today, as Incourage Community Foundation asks residents to decide the building’s future use. On October 8, we’ll begin our series of four Public Idea Sharing meetings. But prior to that, to give people an idea of the building’s potential, we’re hosting tours.

In June, I was pleased to host 60 people on Tribune Building tours during the Cranberry Blossom Festival. People came from business, labor, neighbors, community organizations, former employees, and those who were just “curious”. The amount of space available surprised them. The tours also gave them a better understanding of the building’s history and the role of the Daily Tribune and WFHR as a vital source of local information in south Wood County.

I loved giving the tours. I was delighted to reconnect with former Tribune employees, like Diane Repinski, who was gratified to learn that this building’s re-use would carry on Bill Huffman’s vision.

Many visitors came in thinking they would learn what the building would become. What they learned is that it really is up to the community to decide. And, more importantly, they left formulating their own ideas for the building and possibilities for the site.

I’m extending that same opportunity to you. We’re again offering tours of the Tribune Building. They’re set for Thursday, September 26, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, October 5, 3 p.m.; and Sunday, October 6, 1 p.m. Reserve a tour by calling Incourage at 715.423.3863, or send an email to [email protected].

Even if you can’t take a tour, please mark your calendar for October 8, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. It’s the first of a series of four Public Idea Sharing meetings. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in idea-sharing and decision-making to create a space designed by the community. If you plan to attend, please RSVP online at www.tribunebuilding.org , call 715.423.3863, or email [email protected].

This truly is an opportunity to be part of history and continue Bill Huffman’s vision. The Tribune Building is YOUR building, yours to shape into a community space that connects people with each other and to riverfront assets and activities.

What’s your vision for the Tribune Building? The possibilities are limitless.

  • Press Contact

    [email protected] | 715.423.3863
  • 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.