Time period/Baraboo: Since 1988
Submitted by: James L. Schneider
Alan Anderson has been a member of the Baraboo community for nearly 30 years. During that time, he has had a major role in influencing and enhancing community directions both as a professional through his work with the University of Wisconsin – Extension and as a volunteer with civic organizations and governmental bodies.
Today Alan is officially retired although he continues as an active volunteer and leader with many organizations including the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Fall Art Tour, and the Pink Lady Rail Transit Commission among others.
Over the years Alan Anderson has played key roles that have resulted in significant artistic, cultural and economic growth of Baraboo and the surrounding region. Here are but three:
Alan was instrumental in the formation of the Al. Ringling Theatre Friends. Aland did the financial analysis that led to the purchase of “the Al” in 1975 and then advised the group during its early years. Today the Al. Ringling Theatre has been restored to its original glory and continues to anchor and enhance cultural and artistic opportunities for young and old alike.
The Baraboo Riverwalk faced significant obstacles when first conceived and the concept seemed doomed to failure until Alan was called upon by city leaders to find solutions. Alan’s work led to a successful resolution of conflicts blocking its development and enhanced the scope and nature of the project. Baraboo families can now and forever enjoy a reclaimed natural treasure that has been ignored for decades.
Finally, Alan’s leadership has led to a renewed understanding and appreciation of the role that rail continues to play in the economic viability of this area. Al’s initial survey of shoppers showed that rail was essential to businesses that provided over 2000 quality jobs in the community. Al’s work led to stabilization and improvements in rail service and over the past decade, the number of rail-dependent jobs has increased by over 50%. Currently, those jobs account for an annual payroll in excess of $150 million dollars. Al continues to serve as Chair of the Pink Lady Rail Transit Commission.