Building on its Strengths

The City of Waukesha

The City of Waukesha, Wisconsin is a vibrant community, with a diverse economy, rich culture and strong, family oriented values. Waukesha is a great place to live, a great place to do business and invest, and a lovely place to visit year-round.
Taking full advantage of its location, Waukesha has evolved over the last 150 years, growing into a bustling, active, business friendly community that has capitalized on its location. Its proximity to nature, with the Fox River running through its historic downtown, has maximized economic and social value for the more than 70 000 people who call Waukesha home. As the population of the city continues to grow, so too does the demand for additional housing, commercial development, infrastructure and amenities to support it.

A Great Place to Live

The City of Waukesha has won a number of awards, recognizing its commitment to community and the wellbeing of its citizens and acknowledging the many amenities and services Waukesha provides. The City of Waukesha was selected by Money magazine as one of the top 100 places to live in the United States in 2012, as well as ranked by America’s Promise Alliance as one of the 100 best communities for young people in 2011 and 2012.

The Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has been recognized in the field of park and recreation management as the 2011 national gold medal award winner, (though it is a strong contender each year!). In addition, Waukesha Public Library was named the 2011 Wisconsin Library of the Year. Both the library system and parks are features of the community that are well used and appreciated.

A gorgeous river walk runs along the banks of the Fox River with Historic Downtown Waukesha anchoring one end, and Frame Park on the other. The Riverwalk offers both passive and active recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Frame Park and the Riverwalk has a baseball diamond, volleyball courts, outdoor amphitheatre, bike and walking trails, picnic areas, playground, and is home to the Frame Park Formal Gardens, a two-acre urban oasis featuring numerous manicured flower gardens, that has been attracting visitors for over 75 years.

“At the heart of Waukesha is our Historic Downtown which has buildings dating as far back as the 1840s. Downtown has a vibrant mix of residential housing, offices, specialty retailers, personal services, independent restaurants, and public spaces. Weekly events such as Friday Night Live, a weekly music festival held from June through September and a popular Saturday Farmers’ Market as well as seasonal events like Art Crawls, Charity Runs / Walks, parades, and the Carl Zach Memorial Bicycle Race attract thousand of visitors throughout the year.”

There is a strong art space in the community centered in the city’s downtown. Public art installations can be found throughout the city, with new commercial developments following suit and installing exhibits. Public facilities also have art installations, further contributing to the bright, vibrant, culturally rich atmosphere the City of Waukesha has created.

The City is focused on reinvesting in downtown. Over the next six years all streets in downtown will be reconstructed with a new streetscape designed to update the overall aesthetics and streetscape by widening sidewalks, adding additional outdoor dining areas and emphasizing the historic features while simultaneously creating a contemporary, yet authentic feel in the city’s downtown.

A Great Place for Business
Waukesha continues to be a great place to do business. The city boasts a diverse economy, with many local businesses expanding current operations and adding employment, a testament to Waukesha’s commitment to creating a business friendly environment. As the economy continues to thrive, the City of Waukesha is working diligently to facilitate this growth, with easy access to vital transportation systems including Interstate 94, Interstate 43, and rail transportation. Waukesha is home to Waukesha County Airport / Crites Field, and is only 20 miles from General Mitchell International Airport.

The City of Waukesha has available land set aside for future growth and expansion in manufacturing. The city also has available land for the development of Class A office space, with a stunning view of the river, making it a prime investment opportunity that could further improve the atmosphere and daytime population of downtown Waukesha.

The City has a range of programs available to assist business including the use of Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), Downtown Façade, Sign, and Awning Grants, and grants for restoring historic properties. The City can aid and/or partner with businesses to apply for state and federal grant programs aimed at economic development and redevelopment. Businesses can also take advantage of State and Federal Historic Tax Credits for business development in historic districts and landmarks.

Education and job training are essential to the continued growth of businesses in Waukesha. Waukesha is home to top notch public and private schools, as well as several post-secondary institutions. Waukesha County Technical College, University Wisconsin-Waukesha and Carrol University (the state’s oldest university) provide an educated, skilled employment base from which local businesses and manufacturing can draw, reinforcing the strong local and regional economies.

The city has always had a significant manufacturing base; due to its location, Waukesha serves as a welcoming community for business. Proximity to major interstate highways makes for the effective and efficient shipment of goods. In addition, the local airport makes corporate travel easy and accessible.

Some of Waukesha’s largest employers are in the healthcare field, such as ProHealth Care and Waukesha Memorial Hospital, both of which provide regional health care services. GE Medical, another one of the city’s largest employers, has recently purchased an engine plant in Waukesha, which has allowed it to expand into the engine and power industry.

A Great Place to Visit
For the same reasons that the City of Waukesha is a great place to live, work and do business, it is a lovely place to visit. Being a culturally rich, vibrant community that serves as a regional retail market draws large numbers of visitors to Waukesha each year.

There is no shortage of things to do in Waukesha – year round – which lends to its place on the lists of best places to live. Waukesha has great dining and entertainment options, as well as a theater and a museum with a variety of historical items such as rare Les Paul artifacts (Les Paul was born in Waukesha!).

Residents and visitors can head to the river to rent paddleboats or watch water skiing demonstrations, take in one of the many events being held, enjoy amenities like the river walk or take full advantage of Waukesha’s award winning parks, such as well loved Frame Park.

Come January, the City of Waukesha celebrates with its annual winter festival, JanBoree. Residents and visitors can participate in winter activities such as skating, ice sculpting exhibits, dog sled demonstrations and much more. Each year, this festival draws thousands of attendees to thirty or more planned wintertime events.

The City of Waukesha has a team of committed individuals and partnerships that are working to do their part to preserve and highlight Waukesha’s storied history and aesthetic charm. Efforts are being made to define the future by improving access and infrastructure, capitalizing on opportunities to ensure the economy remains locally and regionally strong, emphasizing the rich and vibrant energy that is… Waukesha.

September 23, 2020, 6:27 AM EDT