Early in 2020, Coronavirus presented itself and brought with it many fiscal challenges. Its negative impact on our local and national economy will be felt long after our public life returns to normal. We, as a City, had to find creative sources of financing for many projects within the 2020 Budget as well as into the 2021 Budget. In light of everything, we were able to come in with an extremely good tax rate without the elimination of services.
While COVID-19 impacted all business operations and reduced community events for the downtown, there continues to be ongoing investment. Some exciting projects were completed in 2020 because of the generosity of the Nelson Family through their family fund. The David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Heritage Crossing is under construction and will soon link downtown Little Chute with downtown Kaukauna by trail. Improvements also began on the 1000 Islands Nelson Overlook along Hwy. Z and within the 1000 Islands Conservancy Zone.
Also in 2020, the “CE” Trail was extended, providing safe access to school as well as recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. A ribbon cutting was held in October for Kaukauna High School’s Civic Engagement class project to revitalize Fassbender Park, located at Quinney Avenue. We also launched a new brand for the City of Kaukauna that highlights our key assets and distinct advantages. Our new brand helps reinforce the already strong reputation of our City.
We anticipate more development projects in 2021 with new industrial facilities in the Industrial Park Network and the redevelopment and repurposing of the former Carnegie Library. Housing will also continue to go strong as the City has approved several new subdivisions.
As we adjusted to life during a global pandemic, most City services remained unchanged. Safety measures were implemented throughout City-owned facilities, which allowed critical services in all City departments to remain uninterrupted. Our City leaders are constantly looking at ways to be fiscally responsible without jeopardizing the safety and services of our residents.
While it will be hard to forget this time filled with so much uncertainty, I hope you will find some small moments of hope and happiness to look back on from 2020. I wish you and your families all the best this holiday season and always.
Stay healthy, Kaukauna, and be safe. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!