A bigger and better Phelps is on the horizon
Photo courtesy of the Phelps Chamber of Commerce Website
The backbone of the Northwoods is arguably the small towns that dot the landscape along the lakes and the forests. They not only provide the alluring resorts, tantalizing dining establishments and the myriad of entertainment outlets, they also provide homes and support services for those who maintain the hospitality businesses throughout the area.
It’s for those very reasons the viability of these towns is paramount to keeping the Northwoods vibrant and captivating. Tucked into the eastern side of Vilas County, the town of Phelps is about to launch a campaign to energize growth in its downtown area along the banks of North Twin Lake.
On Wednesday, April 1, WJFW, Channel 12 in Rhinelander, did a segment on the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation’s (VCEDC) involvement in a new project in downtown Phelps. According to the story, Carl Ruedebusch, the chairman of VCEDC and a developer, bought the property known as “the big store”. The plans are to build an establishment on that site that would provide lodging, a restaurant, tavern and a gift shop, known as Lumberman’s Lodge.
Town Chairman and lifelong Phelps resident, Colin Snook, is thrilled, not only with the impending project, but also more plans to build grocery and hardware stores across the street.
According to Channel 12, “(They're) something that we haven't had in Phelps in a long time," Snook says. "These are services that we really need."
Project Manager Barry McCleane said the VCEDC chose this project in Phelps because of the downtown’s scenic location on the lake.
This is not the first project that VCDEC has had in Phelps. They assisted in the start up of a business accelerator in a building south of downtown which now houses the Phelps Chamber of Commerce, a barbershop and there is still room available for more business.
"We're working actively to try and get a pharmacy in and also some clinic space. We have high hopes for this building," Snook told Channel 12.
Residents in Phelps are showing a keen level of interest as evidenced by the 200 people who attended the late January meeting at which the future projects were discussed. McCleane said that these plans are “for real” and if sufficient investors are lined up, this project could have a finish date in about two years.
Even within the Eliason network, evidence that this growth potential is being realized came with the recent sale of two commercial properties that are on Highway 17 in town overlooking North Twin Lake. Things are looking very promising for Phelps’ future.
Eliason Realty of the North, LLC
Offices in Eagle River and St. Germain, Vilas County, WI