The Idea of a Community Forum

Center Line Community Forum is a new initiative designed to offer the Sturgeon Bay and greater Door County community access to local, regional and national speakers on topics related to strengthening community, encouraging civic engagement and formulating a vision for smart growth. Speakers will share creative ideas that have been successfully implemented in other locales. According to Charolette Baierl, co-chair of Center Line, “Our goal is to celebrate our unique identity and explore ways we can proactively embrace the opportunities and challenges of the future. It is meant to spark ideas and generate discussion.” Co-chair, Kelly Avenson, agrees. “Amidst the turmoil over recent action on our westside waterfront, we’ve seen a number of positive things occur. We want the positive momentum to continue.”

Center Line’s first offering is a bus trip to visit Eau Claire’s award-winning Phoenix Park downtown redevelopment effort and meet with Economic Development Director Mike Schatz on Friday, April 24. Future events being planned address the topics of Young Entrepreneurs and Repurposing of Historic Structures among others.

Center Line is offered in partnership with the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC). Bill Chaudoir, Executive Director of DCEDC, applauds the group’s mission. “We have a great community here, but we should all strive to make it even better.  I look forward to learning more from some of the best.”

Artists Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard are business owners in downtown Sturgeon Bay and helped formulate Center Line Community Forum’s name and logo. Popelka explains, “Center line is a nautical term, which is fitting for Door County. It’s the imaginary line that runs down the middle of a ship and it’s the most stable point. It’s where the most valuable cargo would be stored. If you lean too far away from that center line, you put the ship at risk.” Popelka designed a logo that’s suggestive of the east and west downtown Sturgeon Bay shorelines connected by two bridges. “We’ve got really powerful images to work with here in Sturgeon Bay.”

Center Line is co-chaired by Kelly Avenson, Charolette Baierl and Laurel Hauser. Steering Committee members include Nancy Aten, Bret Bicoy, Laurel Brooks, Rob Burke, Bill Chaudoir, Dan Collins, Heidi Hodges, Caitlin Oleson, Jeremy Popelka, Shirley Senarighi, Virge Temme and Stephanie Trenchard. Tax-deductible contributions to Center Line’s Speakers Fund may be sent to Center Line, c/o DCEDC, 185 E. Walnut St, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.

- Laurel Hauser