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New village admin in Hortonville

Wessel has history of landing grants

By Scott Bellile

New Hortonville village administrator Diane Wessel took office Sept. 14, and her first week and a half has been what one would expect: touring the village and attending meetings.

“It’s just kind of been a lot of filling me in on where we’ve been, where we are now and what we want to do in the future,” Wessel said.

Wessel took office Sept. 14. She previously spent a year as land services administrator for Lincoln County, and before that she was a planner for Marathon County for 16 years.

Wessel fills the village administrator’s chair once again with fresh ideas after seven months passed without an administrator in Hortonville. Former administrator Patrick Vaile resigned in February and is now serving eight years in prison for one count of possession of child pornography.

Although Wessel is not familiar with the village yet, Wessel already has optimism for what its future holds. The proposed State Highway 15 bypass, which currently sits in budget limbo, could bring an economic boost, she said.

“I know there’s mixed feelings on what the bypass will do to Hortonville, but I think it’ll give us the potential for our Main Street to be a lot more pedestrian friendly,” Wessel said.

Hoping for more outdoor activity downtown, Wessel said she would like to see an outdoor diner open up. She would also like to utilize Main Street revitalization resources and obtain project grants.

“I think the downtown Main Street is quaint, and I think there’s a lot of potential there for it to be kind of a Norman Rockwell downtown,” Wessel said.

Grants could create more accessible buildings for residents with disabilities, improve the parks and create health and exercise programs, Wessel said.

In the past she has landed grants as small as $1,000 and as large as $800,000.

“Her ideas on grants and increased efficiencies in town should prove to be very valuable, and we look forward to the results in the coming years,” Village President Traci Martens said.

Along with the opera house, Wessel said her favorite component of Hortonville is its parks and green space. As far as outdoor improvements she would like to see a water bottle refill station on at least one local trail and new lighting and signage behind the Hortonville Municipal Services Center.

Her past volunteerism has mostly been with social programs, food pantries and United Way. Once she settles down, she said she would like to volunteer to help others locally.

Martens said Wessel brings new enthusiasm to the building. Martens invites residents to stop in and say hi to Wessel on the job.

“I am amazed at her drive and eagerness to make the extra effort,” Martens said. “She has really hit the ground running and is so prepared already. She is just what we were looking for in this role.”

Public Works Director Carl McCrary echoed Martens’ sentiments.

“It seems to be a seamless transition,” McCrary said. “She brings a lot of important qualities to this position. She should be a great asset for many years to come.”

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