Osseo in Bloom

Local organizations discuss beautification project

People gathered at Osseo City Hall on Thursday, April 26 to learn about new plans to revitalize the local area.

Representatives from the city of Osseo, commercial club and economic development corporation spoke at the meeting that night about a multi-faceted plan to improve Osseo. Darrek Orwig, the economic development and tourism coordinator for Trempealeau County, talked about successful strategies for developing rural communities.

Orwig broke the strategies down into four different points: promotion, organization, design and economic vitality. He said Osseo is already beginning to do a great job with promotion through events like the farmers market, and organizations like the commercial club and economic development corporation are working to improve the area.

Jim Cialdini, a member of the economic development corporation, talked about their beginning phase to bring people into Osseo through the project “Osseo in Bloom.” He said the goal of the project is to “welcome visitors to our city by improving the aesthetics of the route from [Interstate] 94 through the downtown area.”

Part of the plan to improve rural communities, Orwig said, involves identifying existing assets and improving them or readapting them in new ways. The economic development corporation determined Norske Nook was a valuable asset to Osseo that draws in people across the Midwest.

“I think it’s very important it looks as good as it can possibly look,” Cialdini said.

Cialdini said some of the benefits to beautifying this area of Osseo includes providing a favorable impression of Osseo, increasing visitors, increasing sales to businesses, attracting new residences and businesses and increasing property value for property owners.

One of the parts of Osseo in Bloom includes adding large planters around the freeway, US 10 and downtown area. He said they have identified 18 different sites to place them in.

Cialdini said the corporation would be willing to pay for 10 of them, with the city offering to pay for around three or four of them. Some of the sites identified are on private property and he said many of the owners said they would be willing to pay for them, such as Kwik Trip.

During the meeting, he talked about what possible plants to put in them such as dwarf hydrangeas. However, talks with horticulturalists and other tree and plant professionals told him there was not a strong possibility they would live through the winter and was recommended to use ornamental grasses. Although, other plant ideas are still being discussed.

Cialdini also mentioned their plan to include hanging flower baskets around town. He said baskets average around $100 and pointed out a variety of places to put them in the downtown area.

One concern the organizations are still working through, he said, is how they will maintain the planters and baskets. He said they do not expect volunteers to maintain them and plans to raise funds to keep them watered throughout the season, although there was certain source at the meeting about how or where they would get the funds.

In addition to the flowers, the committees also talked about adding art crosswalks in the downtown area. Cialdini suggested adding painted designs significant to Osseo such as rosemaling to reflect Norske Nook and its Norwegian roots.

Orwig said this could be a project done on both a large or small scale and the design could be different depending on its location, suggesting crosswalks by the library could include a more literary theme.

He also said it could be good to have a call for artists to design the art crosswalks and recommended organizations in Trempealeau County that may be willing to do it.

Jeff Frieburg, Osseo councilman, said he was encouraged by the positive response the economic development corporation got from around the city about Osseo in Bloom and supportive in seeing this project move forward.

“I think people are ready,” he said. “I think that’s where some of the positive support is coming from.”

The organizations will be moving forward with the feedback they received from the people in attendance at the meeting and will be working to refine the plan for the future.

A merchant lays out her produce for the 2017 Osseo Farmers Market season. The farmers market was identified as a positive event that draws people into Osseo during the Osseo in Bloom meeting Thursday, April 26.

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