Economic Summit Vision Statements

Sawyer County Economic Summit Visioning - Draft, raw information.

Participants were asked to identify elements that they would like to change, preserve, and create. These were recorded onto flip charts.

Change, Preserve, Create

  • P – Recreational Infrastructure
  • C – Industries that add value to the environment
  • Encourage companies to become employee owned
  • Expand parks and recreation
  • Retain residents
  • C – Volunteer work opportunities
  • C- Services for the elderly
  • Natural rustic look places – don’t develop
  • Health care and retirement benefits of employee
  • Change – more consistent planning throughout county
  • Pr – Wildlife
  • C – Balance between beauty and business
  • Greenspace, access to natural resources
  • Ease distance between have’s and have nots
  • Build on human capital of retirement population
  • P- Balance of diversity between communities
  • Resort Industry
  • Bicycle/walking trails
  • Eat more healthy way
  • Change – have smoking bans
  • Reverse loss of agriculture
  • Sustainable/non-polluting business diversification
  • Development area for second homes – plan for it environmentally and economically
  • Library
  • Make a plan for industry – we want to preserve environment of area
  • Preserve fine restaurants, festivals, etc. – quality of life
  • Change – streamline local government
  • Create – jobs, raising average income
  • Affordable housing
  • Market area as retirement community
  • Improve adult education
  • P- Natural Resources
  • C- Use historical sites
  • C – Plan to preserve natural resources
  • Improve communications infrastructure, e.g. Broadband
  • Create political atmosphere to retain young people in county
  • Make whole county more welcoming feel for tourism
  • Educate workforce/train attitude of workforce
  • Do something to help seniors become more productive to/in the area, study what they need
  • Consistency in enforcement of zoning/etc. Regulations and ordinances
  • Create model similar to Grameen bank for financial crisis
  • Address birth/death ratio
  • Create year-round jobs
  • Mentoring programs linking skilled people in area with those wanting to develop skills
  • Create more access for handicapped/elderly to local recreational resources
  • Recreation opportunities (preserve, change, create)
  • Diversify economic base
  • Create/support local businesses by providing peripheral services
  • Establish business incubators
  • Create opportunities for entrepreneurs
  • Transportation solutions
  • Preserve northwoods/small town atmosphere and lakes
  • Change atmosphere of 3 sections of county
  • Create greater expansion postsecondary opportunities , LCOOCC
  • Pay scales – increase wages
  • Preserve positive spirit
  • Better jobs with benefits
  • Change – NIMBY mentality
  • Preserve lake environment
  • Upgrade recreational offerings
  • Nursing home campus (lake environment)
  • C- lower crime
  • C – Good jobs in the area
  • Ch – Increase communication and single point of contact for economic development, training employees and employers
  • C – affordable housing
  • Keep youth in area
  • P- Peace and Quiet
  • Ch – Senior friendly
  • Aid development of small business
  • Rural atmosphere
  • Wages match housing market
  • Education to 4 yr college in area.

Individual Vision Statements  - 20 years from NOW

Participants were asked to identify what the economic future would look like in 2025.

These are the individual vision statements.

Sawyer County is a community where people could live at home and run many businesses with technology and continue to enjoy the quality of life in the controlled environment of this area.  Services such as health education would be the best in Northern Wisconsin.  Graduates of our schools would come back because of work and wage opportunities and help solve the social, cultural and economic problems of the communities.

Regional economy with core manufacturing sectors in the Hayward, LCO, Winter areas that over to 20 years seeks to grow "local" jobs from existing manufacturing business by utilizing equity financing and local and regional funds.  Secondarily, maintain family oriented tourism/resort attractions that continues Sawyer County history and in maintaining commercial/retail diversity.

A place where year round residents can find security for their families.  Security includes livable income, decent housing and family atmosphere.  A place where tourists can come and receive more than just physical refreshment - also spiritual and emotional.

Based on what I learned today, the population would be average age 45.  We would have a 4 year college, a senior citizen center with assisted living and business growth in the technology area.  There would be from the tribe and county government.  Venture Capital (W1 Entrepreneurial Network).

Hayward will be intensely recreational.  Primarily outdoor sports with lots of trails for all members of visiting families.  Also, will still have facilities for senior needs including casino, health care, etc.

There are more small businesses waiting to get into the 22 business parks than there are spaces causing a competitive process for which are entering the region - based on # of employees, longevity of product/service life cycle, wages, benefit packages, etc.  There are more walking, hiking, skiing trails in the system, as well as the best ATV trail system in the state.  This system is the balance between required natural green spaces and developed areas.  Northwest part of the State has had more movies filmed here than any other state in the U.S. adding millions to our economy.

Economy - year round employment opportunities; airport to handle larger passenger and product planes; consistent growth in professional jobs created here; Technology needs are met and support staff; secondary education facility; recreational center for residents; senior involvement in events and workforce; tourism message as a year round destination; golf industry recognition of the FL/AZ of the North.

Many small businesses with good employee benefits; home based workers; improved incomes for year round residents to ease the "gap"; comprehensive senior services; well-respected community college; a few non-polluting larger industries; recreational trails throughout county; well done, affordable housing; real destination "feel"; enhanced world class events; well maintained schools; access to good quality health care; planned development - logs of parks and green spaces.

The region will be a world class tourist destination.  The feel and design of all the buildings will create and promote that idea.  There is a 4 year university that specializes in Hospitality Management and a level of service that creates an unparalleled guest experience.  A smart growth plan in the region has created an infrastructure that allows visitors every technology while protecting the natural resources.

Continue the unique attractiveness of area while creating small "mom & pop" business to employ youth coming out of college to return to Hayward to live.  See a 2 year Tech school and a 4 year college.  More power lines in downtown Hayward out of town.  See the City of Hayward combine services with surrounding towns - water, sewer, etc.  Common planning through the region.

County sectored into clear zoning areas - residential, commercial, wilderness, recreational areas.  Balance of affordable housing with graduated housing areas (create small enclaves of housing); up-to-date technology; Numbers of multi-generational interactive systems such as mentoring in soft skills, care giving for seniors; Integration of generations; Well-developed financial options for business and industry, entrepreneurs, manufacturing.

Smart land use; Quality employment; Quality employees; Quality housing; Quality transportation; Quality schools; Quality health centers.

Great destination and consistent look; quality employment; secondary education facility - tourism; improved income levels; enhance world class events; create smaller business of quality jobs/incubate entrepreneurs; combined public service; "A Plan" Regional Zoning - resident, green space, industry; mentoring and integration of seniors in workforce; finance resources and funding.

Local communities enjoying one another - working together and being able to meet most their needs within a 10 mile drive.  Many small businesses and farms supporting and encouraging one another.  A community where the elderly are neither seen as a resource or a consumer but valuable individuals and are a part of the community.  Children have a safe place to grow, play and learn and are also a valued part of the community.  Economically, families have enough to provide for their needs and a few luxuries.  There are modest homes which are affordable for local families and many opportunities for all these people to enjoy the natural resources that surround them.

Environmentally satisfying elderly living complexes; shopping one-stop conveniences; full service educational centers; wildlife diversity with recreation opportunities.

Small business with health insurance; big business with year round employees; expanding basic needs with people who live here; affordable housing/assisted living/handicap access; new business that will benefit Sawyer County; a self-sustaining county - Co-ops; Energy friendly businesses, homes; Keep the natural beauty.

Rich in diverse retail stores, educational opportunities, recreational opportunities for all, clean air and lakes; well planned communities for families and older seniors; well planned roads and traffic control; more parks, access to lakes for public; a focus on holistic living and healthy lifestyles; artistic sculptures, museums and a good working relationship with LCO and county governments so both can benefit.

Economy - living wages and benefit plan and construct housing affordable to that wage; create infrastructure to support healthy families - playground, recreation; winter access to physical/mental health building areas.  Need to meaningfully identify and address:  mental health and AODA issues in workforce and their families; vocational training and realize this will continue to change:  to tech systems;  We need ongoing system to re-train workforce to meet changing needs.

Need larger Center - Hayward, Winter, Middle of Reservation with excellent public transportation to these centers.  Each Center would have services for most needs - Hayward the largest;  Many new planned unit developments that preserve natural areas near transportation; Source of new jobs in each Center - not scattered.  Plan This!

Our County will accommodate people of various life styles and community cooperation in a spirit of peace and concern for others in an unconditional manner.

World class events - international tourism; destination resorts, restaurants, festivals, skiing/hiking/biking trails and access; Diversified economy among many sectors, large and small businesses, recreation and forestry; Quality health care and elderly housing and services for an aging population; culture - art/theater/music; Dark skies - I want to see the Milky Way at home in Hayward; safe homes and streets.

A rural Northwood community with serving as the national focal point for developing and creating sustainability in manufacturing and business practices by hosing an international academic campus with collaboration between businesses and universities worldwide.

Has a regional government structure which eliminates numerous county, city and town boards and school districts which eliminated thousands of dollars in administrative costs;  These dollars saved by regionalization where vested in educating residents to marketing the resources and economy of the area.

Less government, better government; Lots of new cottages, etc.; More infrastructure parks, hospitals and recreation; Remote look prevails!  4 year college is in existence; better roads, etc.

Young people would be able to stay in the area and have good paying jobs that contribute to society and their own self worth and dignity.  There would be educational opportunities for all ages - not just "filler".  The cultural things that bring people from all over the world would continue.  Families would be strengthened.  The birth rate would exceed the death rate.  The lakes would be clean, the air would be pure.

We would still have a strong logging and timber industry.  Also continue to lead the north in tourism and vacationing but by 2025 we should have an industry base to sustain the youth and keep them here and continue a stable work growth in all of Sawyer County.  In other words we need to use our resources to strengthen our economy.

Regional planning; everyone has online access to education and business opportunities;  casinos are gone; entrepreneurs abound; people telecommute; elder hostels; smoking is banned in public places; education:  K-12 is upgraded; high concentration of BA's; targeted tourism sectors; use of GPS technology.

Ideal economy in 20 years; reasonable balance between private and public enterprise; strong tourism economy; managed access to public lands for recreational purposes i.e. parks, boat landings, campgrounds; strong education system K through undergraduate studies; housing options for all demographic groups; clean, healthy, safe environment.

Good jobs with benefits; affordable housing; strong education - good schools - strong ethics and morals; lower crime - lower violence - less hate; programs for youth - affordable - e.g. Sports Center; excellent health care; senior living options; clean air, water; younger families attending church; better parental control over children; maintained trails, biking, hiking, skiing.

More small businesses; preservation of natural resources; improvement in housing; better communication between LCO and Hayward communities; better use of local talent.

Technology spaces to attract entrepreneurs to relocate retail businesses from here via the internet which would in turn attract incoming businesses, while not affecting the environment in an adverse way; wages would increase and educated persons would be relocating to this area to raise future families; rapid transportation to major metro areas i.e. trains/planes.

Strong economy based on more than logging and tourism (don't know what); a year around destination; an area where there is affordable utilized housing, health care, alternative energy; expansion of post-secondary education; preservation of the environment, lakes, rivers, farmland.

Growing recreational businesses and walking trails; more educational facilities; maintain agricultural opportunities; keep "rural" and forest-like enhancement; purity of water/lakes maintained; good health care - facilities and workers; sound religious community; job opportunities for our graduates.
Our beautiful natural beauty and space would be a lure for the world to find an oasis of peace and pay well for the experience; the region would work together - town-country, young-old, townships-county - to provide an environment of big thinking welcoming businesses that use the natural beauty carefully and generously and that flourish. 

A well-balanced area where labor force was well taken care of and elderly  were also; the natural resources that were preserved in the past would be available, but more industry and housing would also be in place; transportation would have to be upgraded to accept the growth of population - roads, rail, airports, etc.

The economy is thriving with more restaurants, stores, and entertainment and recreation services.  The demographics are more balanced; there is still natural beauty preserved all over the county where individuals can use and enjoy the land.  Manufacturing industries are strong; the area as a tourist and vacation destination remains and is even stronger; people are attracted to the area and reluctant to leave; it may be considered a cultural area.

Mix of demography, with enough younger service providers to meet needs of entire community; blended gender/age political leadership to recognize/meet needs of entire county population; economic stability for larger region.

Make social, political and economic atmosphere of Sawyer County more attractive to younger people to keep service industries going; increase health care and retirement benefits to keep people here - as well as economic to support the people; Preserve the natural beauty of the area - i.e. zoning laws - balance between use of land for services and recreation and natural resources; create a political atmosphere for keeping young labor force in Sawyer County and maintain a healthy respect of land as well as supports economic growth; improve signage; view "wildlife" as a dollar maker.

An area where a person can count on full time employment with opportunity to increase salary.  Being able to afford a decent home and not living paycheck to paycheck.  An opportunity to have our children remain in the area to raise their own families.  Able to own your own business and not have it so dependent on season.  Like to be able to shop locally.

Vision Themes 2025

At each table participants were asked to share their vision statements and identify common themes from the individual statements. The results from each individual table follow:


  • Economy
    • Raise incomes
    • Renewable energy based
  • Development
    • Regional centers
    • Public transportation
    • Local government centralized
    • Technology
  • Environment
    • Preservation
    • Recycle
    • Responsible housing development


  • Northwood & Lakes have been preserved
  • Senior opportunities have been realized
  • Business – expanded to reflect outdoor (nature) activities
  • an oasis in an urbanized world
  • A red lobster
  • Comparable wages & benefits
  • Hayward “Packers”, Winter “Vikings”


  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Jobs (to retain youth)
  • Tourism (Expand short stay recreational options)
  • Senior campus
    • Assisted living
    • Nursing home
    • Clinic (healthcare)
    • Education
    • Environmentally appealing (lake, forest land, etc.)


  • Expanded recreational trails
  • Preserve natural resources
  • Implement county plan
  • Quality of life
    • Jobs
    • Education
    • Health care
    • Communication
    • Housing
      • Senior
      • Affordable
    • Goods and services
    • Technology


  • Good demographic mix of population and political leadership
  • Achieve economic stability w/ good jobs offering good benefits
  • Active, thriving main street throughout Sawyer County


  • Natural beauty preserved
  • More high-paying, white collar jobs
  • Clustered land planning both residential and industrial
  • All wires buried


  • Lakeside senior campus with green space and education opportunities
  • Increased public transportation
  • Affordable housing
  • Public parks and recreation
  • More campgrounds
  • Year round destination
  • Internet/communication jobs
  • Angel network
  • Preserve our lakes and streams


  • Access and preservation of natural resources
  • Affordable (green) housing – assisted living
  • Educational – Quality job training to meet changing needs
  • Tap into human resources


  • Adequate health care and education/housing
  • Diversity of small business
  • Public/private partnerships with incentives
  • Pristine environment
    • Responsible growth
    • Retain forests – sustainable harvest


  • Improved quality of our natural resources
  • Improved services of education and health care (4 year college)
  • Job opportunities with good wages to attract our local graduates
  • Better transportation (i.e. Solar trains)
  • Better technology usage
  • Mentoring programs for all ages
  • Developing entrepreneur skills
  • Recreational housing/services maintained/improved


  • A destination year-round for activities based upon our rich natural resources and cultural heritage
  • Maintain balance between environmental preservation and economic growth


  • Sustainability & expansion of local jobs (be progressive)
  • Livable wages
  • Family oriented focus
  • Creative venues – Technology while maintaining the natural environment
  • Core manufacturing nodes in county
    • Hayward area
    • LCO area
    • Winter area
    • Public facilities to sustain growth


  • Improve collaborations between all governments in the region (tribal, county, town, etc.)
  • Affordable housing
  • Better employment opportunities with benefits
  • Protect our natural resources and our unique religious communities


  • Improve infrastructure for elders
  • Research opportunities for technology industries
  • Maintain balance between economic development and natural resources
  • Preserve but more fully utilize important public land assets including second to none recreational trail systems.


  • Implemented smart growth plan
  • Funding/support (incubation) for development of small business
  • A real world class destination


  • International events
  • Quality culture – library, theater, festivals
  • Academic campus for sustainable development – 4 year college
  • Maintain rural environment – dark skies
  • Less government