Community Development Alliance is ready to help

By Tracy Ouellette


Although there have been two other attempts at forming an economic development entity in East Troy, until the East Troy Community Development Alliance was formed, things never seemed to get off the ground.

Things are decidedly different this time around and the CDA is moving forward and ready to help area businesses do the same.

“Before, it was always and arm of the village and I think that made things a bit limited,” alliance President Paul Nyffeler said Monday. “Now it’s an independent organization and we can do more.”

“Businesses are more apt to divulge information to us when the village isn’t involved from the start,” alliance Secretary Linda Kaplan added.

“We can offer assistance and help educate people without the public knowing everything before the business is ready to reveal its plans,” Nyffler said.

The ETCDA has been working with the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance to develop its website and got the go ahead at the Nov. 17 Village Board meeting to contract with Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, president of Economic and Community Development Solutions, for assistance in expanding the CDA’s role in the community.

Hicks-Sorensen, who was the vice-president of Economic and Community Development for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation from 2011 to 2014, is offering her services free of charge. She holds a Bachelor of Science in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and an Master of Science in urban studies with an emphasis in public policy and economic development from UW-Milwaukee. She has been a certified economic developer since 2005

“She might have insight into things we might be missing and can help us determine our approach to complementary businesses we might want to attract to East Troy,” Nyffler said. “She’s coming in as a ‘hired gun’ and we want to learn as much as we can from her.”

Learning the ins and outs of economic development and what the state and federal governments can offer in the way of financing and assistance has been the focus of the CDA.

“We’ve been educating ourselves,” Kaplan said. “There’s so much out there that we didn’t even know about, but we’ve learned so much.”

That knowledge and the desire to form relationships with local business owners and prospective businesses is where the CDA members are putting their energy.

“We’ve been learning about things like TIF districts and how they can be used, so if someone has a project that warrants that, we can sit down and say, ‘Let’s talk!’”

Nyffler and Kaplan said the members of the CDA are looking to meet with all the area businesses owners over the next couple of years, but they didn’t want people to think they had to wait to be contacted.

“We’re here and we want to connect with those people if they need us now,” Nyffler said. “Don’t wait for us to call you if you have a need.”

“There’s a lot going on in the village, a lot of forward momentum and we’re here to help keep that going,” Kaplan said. “I feel like all the separate pieces in the village – the village, the school district, businesses – are all moving forward as a group.”

The East Troy Community Development Alliance is governed by a board of directors, each serving a three-year term. The 2014 directors are: Paul Nyffeler, president; Ted Zess, vice-president; Mary Nicoson, treasurer; Linda Kaplan, secretary; Bill Hubbard, Jim Rohrer and Troy Strand.

For more information or to get in contact with someone from the alliance, visit


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