The city of Beaver Dam is getting ready to take some big steps into the future.
Officials say it's unofficial master plan is ready to spring into action.
Over the next 18-months, Beaver Dam residents and leaders plan to work on beautification and revitalization projects.
They'll focus on the downtown area, as well as the entire city.
Downtown committee member Melissa Wayne says plans like that are key for rural cities looking to grow.
"You have to be forward-thinking or you're just going to stagnate or decline," says Wayne. "We want to increase jobs and we want to bring in more business to keep it moving and to keep building upon the character that's already here."
Terri Minton and her husband are in the process of renovating the now empty Beaver Dam Cafe.
In addition to participating in the city-wide development, she's also fulfilling a long-time goal.
"It's always been a dream of mine," says Minton. "My aunt used to own a restaurant here in town and I worked with her and loved it. I've been wanting to do that for a long time."
Mayor Paul Sandefur says early interest has been strong.
"A lot of people in the community are very excited about some things we're doing," says Mayor Sandefur. "We just wanted to do something differently."
He believes what's happening now sends a message to other small cities looking to take on a challenge.
"I think we're living proof that you can do that," says Mayor Sandefur. "We are smaller. The population is about 3,500-3,600 but we're not going to let that stop us."
For the residents, it's about pride in their city.
"You don't want the empty buildings sitting there and you want something that people are proud to say, 'This is my hometown,'" says Minton. "This is where I'm from."
The city's also looking at ways to market the community and bring in more events and activities.
As the plan starts to move forward, the mayor says he'd also like to get some ideas from young people.
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