By Ben Rodgers
HOBART – If any community has had an eventful 2018 it’s Hobart, one of the fastest growing municipalities in Wisconsin.
To close out the year, Hobart was in the news for the successful State Highway 29 federal grant application.
The project was awarded a $20 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to replace the current intersection with a new interchange that will include sidewalks, bicycle lanes and roundabouts near its ramp terminals and nearby intersections.
The current intersection at Highway 29 and County Trunk VV has seen one fatality and more than 140 accidents since 2015.
Brown County applied for the grant along with Hobart and Howard as the municipalities most likely to benefit from the project.
The interchange, for which construction is expected to start around 2022, will allow for more commercial development in Hobart’s Centennial Centre, which is one of the fastest growing Tax Incremental Financing Districts in the state.
“Obviously the development, there’s a lot up there now, there’s a lot more on the horizon, but I also want people to understand one of the main reasons we pushed so hard on this grant application was safety,” said Hobart Village Administrator Aaron Kramer in December. “Even if nothing else was built up there, we would still have major concerns about vehicular safety.”
With so many people living in that part of Hobart, it’s no surprise that a story on food truck rallies the village held in the summer was widely read.
“It’s such a good opportunity to show how much interest there is in food places in our town square area,” said Debbie Schumacher, Hobart village trustee in June. “Everybody keeps asking for food, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring it.”
According to the village, the events were very well attended.
Hobart was also in the news when The Press Times covered oral arguments at the end of November in a federal court case that could affect the Oneida Reservation.
Hobart views any land having passed through non-tribal members and going back to the tribe, or land held in fee, is not part of the reservation. The village claims only land held in trust is part of the reservation.
This comes on the heels of a lawsuit the tribe brought before the village after the tribe failed to apply for a permit for its annual Big Apple Fest.
Because the village boundaries of Hobart are contained entirely in the present boundaries of the reservation, the judge’s ruling, which is expected in 2019, could have major implications for future development in the village.
On the other side of Hobart, a major development in 2018 got readers excited, Synergy Sports Performance.
The new 18,000-square-foot facility opened in June.
The new building allows Synergy to expand the services offered to adults and the active populations. Some of the new services are track lanes, an athlete recovery area, a basketball court, showers, a 30-plus- yard turf field and adult fitness and boot camp programs.
Finally, a Press Times exclusive on a man’s heroics to save his brother’s life during a fire garnered lots of attention.
Jim Ambrosius, a member of the Hobart fire department, ended up saving the life of Mike Ambrosius, his brother, during an Aug. 7 fire at Mike’s farm.
Jim was the second on scene because he lives close by. Mike suffered a heart attack during the blaze and Jim started CPR until paramedics could take over.
During the fire, 13 cattle were lost and close to 60 were saved.
Mike was expected to make a full recovery after his surgeries were complete.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Mike said. “I owe them my life.”