Pleasant Prairie is on a new path, all about its future.

Michelle Williamson has just started as the new executive director of the Pleasant Prairie Convention and Visitors Bureau.

She previously coordinated admissions events for Carthage College. She also was part of the interim commission that looked at the village’s new convention and visitors bureau.

Pleasant Prairie is going on its own to promote itself and build brand identity. The village previously had averaged paying Kenosha’s bureau $600,000 annually, or half of its budget.

That no longer works. The time is right for Pleasant Prairie to sell its uniqueness.

“It will be about who are we going to be, and getting that identity out to the public at large, establishing what we’re going to be, not just to tourism but also to the community,” Williamson said. “I think the village has done a beautiful job in its development in the past and they have excellent leadership to move us into the future.”

Home to Premium Outlets, the village is growing, attracting businesses and providing a strong quality of life with the RecPlex, parks and lakefront. Pleasant Prairie has a story to tell, and the arrival of Haribo, with more than 1,000 jobs, will put the village on the map in a new way.

Last November, the Village Board put this in motion by approving a change to earmark hotel and motel room tax revenue to fund this new entity. At the time, trustee Michael Serpe gave credit to the Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for what it has done for its residents to promote the city and its lakefront.

“It’s a beautiful thing that they do,” he said. “But, at the same time, I think Pleasant Prairie has gotten to the point where we can now showcase ourself a little better than being tied up with the city of Kenosha in doing so.”

Trustee Kris Keckler said at the time that having two separate entities enables each community to concentrate on its events, but that “both neighbors will benefit in the overall growth and expansion.”

We share that view. Good ideas should come from both agencies and lift both the city and the village.

There’s so much to offer right here. Let’s collectively maximize it.

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