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College Capstone Project Doubles as Community Rejuvination Submitted: 11/15/2012
WABENO - A partnership between a Northwoods community and a Madison student should mean a new look for Wabeno.

"There's just a lot of good things that can be sort of capitalized on," says UW-Madison senior Emily Groh.

Groh wants to capitalize on her learning as a landscape architecture major.

For her capstone project, she's working on community design and landscaping in Wabeno.

"She came into town and she looked around and she met with us and asked us for ideas," says Wabeno Town Chair Ed Piontek.

It's just one of many visits - and meetings with town leaders - Groh will have in trying to liven things up in Wabeno.

"One of the things that really stands out to me is how passionate people are about Wabeno. People love the town, which I think is great," says Groh.

Decades ago, Wabeno was a fairly vibrant community.

But then industry left and the population started declining.

Wabeno doesn't even have a food store any more.

Those are some of the things this project is hoping to start to change.

"The reason it's important is we have a very large population of retired people, and traveling is kind of getting difficult for them. We're hoping to get something, even a small grocery store in town, to fill their basic needs," Piontek says.

"That's one of the aspects of the project as well - trying to look at fighting for a grocery store and also maybe a potential clinic," says Groh.

Fighting for a Northwoods community, and gaining a college degree as well.


Story By: Ben Meyer

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