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Technical Links and Resources

Please note that the organizations and programs change frequently, and that as of August 2009, this page is no longer being updated on a regular basis.


Towards a Sustainable Community: A Toolkit for Local Government


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Founded in 1862, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) works to improve the Nation’s economy and quality of life through efforts to: enhance economic opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers; ensure a safe, affordable, nutritious and accessible food supply; care for public lands and helping people care for private lands; support the sound, sustainable development of rural communities; expand global markets for agricultural and forest products and services; and reduce hunger and improve America’s health through good nutrition.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA): The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers and manages farm commodity, credit, conservation, disaster and loan programs through a network of federal, state and county offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of the agricultural industry and to help farmers adjust production to meet demand, with the desired result of a steady price range for agricultural goods for both farmers and consumers. State and county offices directly administer FSA programs, including the certification of farmers for FSA programs and the distribution of farm subsidies and disaster payments.

American Farmland Trust: Founded in 1980 by a group of farmers and conservationists concerned about the rapid loss of the nation’s farmland to development, American Farmland Trust (AFT) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the nation’s strategic agricultural resources. AFT works through four main strategies: transform U.S. farm policy to strengthen the future of American agriculture; protect the best land by supporting effective state and local farmland protection initiatives; plan for agriculture to keep farming viable and help communities balance growth while protecting working land; keep the land healthy and productive by encouraging stewardship practices that safeguard our nation’s natural resources.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Trade: The Department of Agriculture, Consumer Protection and Trade (DATCP) is responsible for food safety, animal and plant health, protecting water and soil and monitoring fair and safe business practices throughout the State of Wisconsin. It is also the lead agency for the Working Lands Initiative, which aims to protect productive farmlands and forests.

“Buy Local” Initiatives: Buying local — often defined as buying food produced within 100 miles –has numerous benefits, such as: the food is fresher; you know where your food comes from; you’re supporting local farmers; it saves energy (fewer miles of transportation); and it keeps local money in the local economy. More information about where and when to buy local in Wisconsin can be found:

  • Farm Fresh Atlas: These regional food guides include farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, stores and other businesses that sell local food and use sustainable production and business practices.
  • Savor Wisconsin: This site links to Wisconsin food products and services, and includes listings for farmers’ markets, restaurants, food co-ops and specialty retail stores.
  • Wisconsin Local Food Network: This site provides a list of local food initiatives and projects.
  • Grocers Buy Local: This is the offical website and database of Wisconsin grocers who are purchasing, or are interested in purchasing, locally grown food.

“What Makes Transfer of Development Rights Work? : Success Factors from Research and Practice” by Rick Pruetz and Noah Standridge (Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 75, Issue 1, Winter 2009)

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR): The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the agency responsible for the development and implementation of policies for the preservation, protection, effective management, and maintenance of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Wisconsin Lakes Partnership: Started in the early 1970s, the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership consists of three core groups: the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) supplies the technical expertise and regulatory authority; the University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX) builds linkages among stakeholders and provides supporting educational materials and programs; and local lake people are the third group, represented by the Wisconsin Association of Lakes (WAL). The Wisconsin Lakes Partnership is a statewide, multi-faceted effort, with activities such as citizen volunteer monitoring, research, youth and adult training and education, aquatic plant protection, pollution prevention, invasive species education, water recreation planning, land and water regulation, and community assistance grants.

Racine County Land Conservation Division: The Land Conservation Division (LCD) implements and administers County and State of Wisconsin Soil and Water Conservation Programs. The Racine County LCD relies on partnerships with local farmers, landowners, government officials, teachers, community businesses, and concerned residents to provide a cleaner environment. It provides technical assistance on controlling soil erosion and water pollution, and administers numerous programs, such as: Land and Water Resource Management Program, Farmland Preservation Program, Wildlife Damage and Abatement Claims, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and Tree, Shrub & Native Prairie Grass/Wildflower Program.

Bluff Erosion Visualization: Wisconsin Coastal Management Program (WCMP)’s coastal erosion website.

Racine/Kenosha Land Trust: Started in 1993, the Kenosha/Racine Land Trust, Inc.,(R/KLT) is a non-profit, charitable organization that was formed by a group of  Kenosha and Racine county citizens concerned about the loss of natural areas. The K/RLT aims to protect open space and natural areas in both counties for the benefit of current and future generations through identifying and prioritizing the most critical resources left in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau: In 1983, the Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau (RCCVB) was founded with the purpose to promote Racine County as an attractive destination for all people. Through a variety of media, the RCCVB aggressively markets the area’s hospitality, facilities and attractions to create a positive economic impact on Racine County and enhance the area’s quality of life.

Racine Historical Society and Heritage Museum: The Racine Heritage Museum offers interactive exhibits celebrating the heritage of Racine’s unique community, including highlights of Racine’s people, innovations and products.

Burlington Historical Society: Organized in 1928, the Burlington Historical Society was the first Historical Society in Racine County.  It provides historical photo collections, records of local people, homes, and farms, and articles of local interest.



U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the Federal agency responsible for developing and implementing national policies to address America’s housing needs, that improve and develop communities, and enforce fair housing laws. In Racine County, the City of Racine is designated as a HUD-entitlement community, and receives direct HUD funding to plan and implement a variety of programs to assist low- to moderate-income families and individuals. Other communities in Racine County also benefit from HUD-sponsored services through local and State agencies.

Wisconsin Department of Commerce — Housing and Community Development Division: The WDOC released the following guides that provide contacts and a brief description of public sources of housing financial and informational assistance available for low- and moderate-income households in Wisconsin:

USDA – Wisconsin Rural Development: The USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs that support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. Wisconsin Rural Development (WRD) provides financial programs to support public facilities and services (such as housing, water and sewer systems, health clinics, emergency service facilities, schools, and electric and telephone service), and to promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks and community-managed lending pools.

Wisconsin Legal Action: Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Housing unit’s goal is to prevent homelessness and to preserve and expand the availability of affordable housing. Legal Action represents clients in cases that have the greatest impact on the clients’ ability to secure and maintain safe and affordable housing.

UW-Extension Center for Community & Economic Development – Wisconsin Foreclosure Information

Housing Authority of Racine County: The Housing Authority of Racine County (HARC) works to ensure that quality affordable housing is available for low to moderate-income families in Racine County, primarily through the promotion of home ownership, self-sufficiency and urban stability.  HARC provides five main programs in Racine County: Housing Choice Voucher (HCV, better known as Section 8); Family Self-Sufficiency; Homeownership; Elderly Housing; and Handicapped Housing.

City of Racine — Housing Issues : Administered by the Racine City Development Department, the City of Racine has a consolidated plan to address housing and community development issues. The plan and its implementation are led by Racine City Development, and involve numerous nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, and the for-profit and business sectors, as well as other City departments.

  • City Development Department: Racine City Development administers a multi-faceted housing and community development program that addresses the needs of its low- and moderate-income population, and eliminating blight.  As an entitlement community, the City of Racine receives direct funding from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the CDBG, HOME Investment Partnership, and Emergency Shelter Grant Programs.
  • City Housing Department: The Housing Department administers several loan programs to assist in housing rehabilitation programs.

HALO, Inc. (Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization): HALO is a 120-bed emergency shelter located in the City of Racine. HALO meets emergency shelter needs for all men, women and children who are experiencing homelessness, coordinates supportive services that help homeless adults become self-sufficient, provides community leadership to prevent chronic homelessness and ensures children get positive support through stable living and learning environments.

Society’s Assets, Inc.: Society’s Assets, Inc. is an Independent Living Center, providing comprehensive services to assist seniors and people of all ages with disabilities with living independently.  Some of these services include: information and referral, advocacy, peer support, independent living skills, nursing home transition with equipment loan closet and demonstration, disability resources, representative payee, and personal care.



U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT): The US Department of Transportation (DOT) is intended to serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT): In 1967, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) was officially established to support all forms of transportation. WisDOTt is responsible for planning, building and maintaining Wisconsin’s network of state highways and Interstate highway system. The department shares the costs of building and operating county and local transportation systems – from highways to public transit and other modes. WisDOT plans, promotes and financially supports statewide air, rail and water transportation, as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Connections 2030: In November 2008, WisDOT released a draft of Connections 2030, its long-range plan for all transportation services and facilities, such as highways, local streets, air, water, rail, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This draft, which includes recommendations specific to Racine County, is available through the WisDOT website.

Complete the Streets: “Complete streets” are designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities.

Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transportation Authority (RTA): NOTE: SERTA was dissolved in 2011. In July 2005, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Transportation Authority was created by the Wisconsin State Legislature and Governor in order to serve Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine counties by identifying a permanent, dedicated funding source for the local share of capital and operating costs for commuter rail and/or public transit in the region.

Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) Commuter Rail: The KRM is a proposed 33-mile commuter rail, built on an existing line and connecting nine Wisconsin cities to Chicago and 22 other Illinois communities as part of the Metra Rail. The KRM is intended to provide quality, affordable and reliable regional transportation option within the corridor.

City of Racine Department of Transportation: City Transportation provides the Belle Urban System (BUS) transit services in the City of Racine and surrounding areas, including paratransit services and a “trolley” service throughout the summer.


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development: The USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs that support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. Wisconsin Rural Development (WRD) provides financial programs to support community facilities and services, including programs that provide direct loan and grants for the development or improvement of community facilities (e.g., municipal buildings,day care centers, clinics, nursing homes and hospitals), waste and water disposal systems, distance learning telecommunication services, and others.

National Park Service: The National Park Service administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides matching grants to states and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities.

U.S. Fire Administration: The US Fire Administration administers several programs that are designed to assist local fire departments and other organizations in protecting citizens and firefighters against the effects of fire and fire-related incidents, including the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, the Fire Prevention and Safety Grant Program, and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER).

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR): The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is the agency responsible for the development and implementation of policies for the preservation, protection, effective management, and maintenance of Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Wisconsin Department of Commerce (DOC): The Wisconsin Department of Commerce (DOC) offers a range of financial assistance programs to help enhance community vitality, including Community Development Block Grants-Public Facilities (a financing tool for local government units in need of funds to undertake needed infrastructure and public building projects, excluding buildings for the conduct of government); Community Development Block Grants-Public Facilities for Economic Development (grants to help underwrite the cost of municipal infrastructure necessary for business development that retains or creates employment opportunities); and Wisconsin Fund, which provides grants to homeowners and small commercial businesses to help offset some of the cost for the repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of existing failing Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA): The Wisconsin DOA supports other state agencies and programs with services like centralized purchasing and financial management, and strives to offer Wisconsin residents efficient, high-quality state government services.

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP): Among its many programs, DATCP administers the Wisconsin Clean Sweep Program, which helps local governments to collect agricultural, residential, and business hazardous wastes through a grant program. Most local governments offer farmers and residents free or nearly free hazardous waste services while businesses are usually required to pay for most disposal costs. In 2008, DATCP started to provide grants to counties and municipalities for a prescription drug collection program.

Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP): Administered by Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP), RCAP helps rural communities to develop and improve water and wastewater infrastructure, and to develop the capacity to manage, operate, and maintain the water and wastewater utilities.

Wisconsin Rural Water Association (WRWA): WRWA provides trainings and technical assistance through a variety of programs, including the Rural Water Training and Technical Assistance Program, Rural Wastewater Circuit Rider Technical Assistance Program, Small Water System Training and Technical Assistance Program, and Source Water Protection Program.

State Trust Fund Loan Program: Administered by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL), the State Trust Fund Loan Program allows school districts and municipalities to borrow money for a wide variety of purposes including buildings, roads, water and sewer facilities, equipment, recreation facilities, industrial development, or other public purposes.

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA): The MREA is a nonprofit organization that promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.

We Energies: We Energies offers numerous programs, grants and incentives to residents, business owners, and nonprofit organizations to reduce their electric demand and energy use, and to promote the development and use of alternative energy sources.

Racine County Land Conservation Division: The Land Conservation Division (LCD) implements and administers County and State of Wisconsin Soil and Water Conservation Programs. The Racine County LCD relies on partnerships with local farmers, landowners, government officials, teachers, community businesses, and concerned residents to provide a cleaner environment.

Root Pike Watershed Initiative Network (WIN): The Root-Pike WIN Rain Garden Initiative funds the development of rain gardens in Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee Counties. The initiative also includes free workshops, ongoing expert advice, and annual monitoring for three years to make sure the gardens are managing storm water runoff.

Racine County Workforce Development Center (WDC): The WDC provides subsidized child care funding for eligible families. Families need not be participating in any other type of public assistance program to qualify for funding, but applications must be completed at the Workforce Development Center, which has locations in both the City of Racine and the City of Burlington.

4C (Community Coordinated Child Care):4C is a nonprofit organization that serves the Southeastern Wisconsin Region (i.e., Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha counties); it assists the community in all child care issues, including resource and referrals for parents, employers, and the community at large.


U.S. Department of Commerce–Economic Development Administration: The U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) was established to generate jobs, help retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically distressed areas of the United States. EDA assistance is available to rural and urban areas experiencing high unemployment, low income, or other severe economic difficulty, and is administered through several technical and planning assistance programs.

U.S. Small Business Admininistration: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small businesses, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the country’s overall economy. The SBA offers financial assistance, counseling, online training, and disaster assistance, as well as information on contract opportunities throughout the federal government and legislation impacting small businesses.

Wisconsin Department of Commerce: The Wisconsin Department of Commerce (DOC) offers a broad range of financial assistance programs to help communities undertake economic development, including the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), Community-Based Economic Development Program (CBED), Rural Economic Development Program (RED), a variety of tax credit programs, the Main Street Program, and several others.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA): The Wisconsin Housing and Eocnomic Development Authority (WHEDA) offers innovative products and services in partnership with others to link residents and communities with affordable housing and economic development opportunities. Some programs include the Small Business Guarantee, Contractors Business Program, and Agribusiness Program.

Remediation and Redevelopment Program Website: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the Wisconsin Department of Commerce have compiled a guide to provide information on options to help finance brownfield cleanup and redevelopment entitled Brownfields Remediation Guide. The guide is divided into sections on grants, reimbursements, loans, tax incentives, and waterfront revitalization programs. Each section includes a one-page summary about its programs, including detailed information about who may apply and eligibility criteria.

Wisconsin Department of Tourism: The Wisconsin Department of Tourism offers various marketing resources, including consulting services, training in marketing and customer service, and co-op advertising, e-mail, and direct mail programs.

Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation: WWBIC is an economic development corporation providing quality business education, technical assistance, and access to capital for entrepreneurs. WWBIC consults, educates, and mentors owners of small and micro businesses throughout Wisconsin with a focus on women, people of color, and those of lower incomes.

Racine County Economic Development Corporation (RCEDC): The Racine County Economic Development Corportation (RCEDC) is a private, non-profit organization created in 1983 to build and maintain a strong economic base in Racine County. The mission of the RCEDC is to foster the economic vitality of Racine County by working with numerous local and regional partners to support innovation and creativity that leads to business investment.

Racine County Workforce Development: The Racine County Division of Workforce Development administers local, state and federal public assistance programs, including the Wisconsin Works program (W-2), Childcare, Medicaid/BadgerCare, Food Stamps and Emergency Assistance Programs, and the Dislocated Worker Program.

Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC): Formed in 1982 from the consolidation of the Racine Area Chamber of Commerce and the Manufacturers’ and Employers’ Association, the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce (RAMAC) supports and promotes businesses and communities in Racine County. RAMAC serves as a unified voice for the interest common to every small and large, industry, profession, service and retail business and community organization in the Racine area, as well as a central source of information and data on a wide variety of business problems and issues affecting its members, which include over 750 firms.

Local Chambers of Commerce:


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