Little Chute, Wisconsin

April 22, 2024

Little Chute, Wisconsin

Growth and Community Spirit in Spades


Expertly balancing dynamic growth with its cherished small-town charm through strategic initiatives and forward-thinking leadership.

Nestled in the heart of Wisconsin, the village of Little Chute boasts a charming small-town feel coupled with the vibrant promise of growth and development. It’s a place where the old-world charm and modern economic opportunities meet, creating a unique blend that attracts residents and businesses alike. The village is not just another dot on the map but a thriving community that signifies the resilience and potential of small towns in America.

Beau Bernhoft, the Village Administrator, brings a fresh perspective on what makes Little Chute a special place to live and work. With over five years of experience in municipal management in Wisconsin, Bernhoft found Little Chute the most appealing choice for its blend of community warmth and economic vitality. “It is a growing community,” he states. “There is so much going on and so much opportunity for growth here.”

The allure of Little Chute, according to Bernhoft, lies in its ability to maintain a cozy small-town ambiance while fostering an environment ripe for large manufacturers and burgeoning development. This balance is not always easy to achieve, but Little Chute does it gracefully, integrating new growth into the community without losing its charm.

A key aspect of Little Chute’s appeal is its strategic location within the Fox Valley, a collaborative network of communities in Wisconsin. This regional cooperation is crucial to the village’s growth trajectory, providing a supportive backdrop for economic and community development. “It’s also well ingrained within the Fox Valley,” Bernhoft explains, highlighting the importance of community collaboration in fostering regional growth.


Fostering Community Engagement Through Events and Services

Little Chute prides itself on its economic development and robust community initiatives designed to unite residents and foster a sense of belonging. From seasonal festivals to accessible public spaces, these efforts play a critical role in enhancing the quality of life for everyone in the village.

The Community Development Director, David Kittel, shares insights into some innovative initiatives Little Chute has launched to engage its residents. The village’s proactive approach to community involvement is showcased through events such as Market on Main and Pines on the Plaza. “The village has started our event called Market on Main. This coming year will be our fourth year,” Kittel reveals, highlighting the event’s growth and its aim to spotlight local businesses and entertain the community with music and festivities.

Pints on the Plaza represents another avenue through which Little Chute seeks to revitalize its downtown area. Set against the scenic backdrop of the village’s historically reconstructed windmill—a nod to Little Chute’s Dutch heritage—this event offers residents a chance to gather, enjoy choice beverages, and take in the beauty of their surroundings. “It’s a nice place to come down in the summer,” Kittel notes, emphasizing the importance of communal spaces in enriching residents’ lives.

Beyond these events, Little Chute is also making strides in enhancing its urban infrastructure to encourage community interaction. Kittel mentions developing a new pedestrian mall area to provide more spaces for people to explore downtown businesses and enjoy the outdoors. The village’s commitment to creating a pedestrian-friendly environment extends to its impressive trail system along the Fox River, offering residents and visitors a picturesque route for biking, walking, or running.

Balancing Growth with Small-Town Appeal

In Little Chute, the push for economic development is carefully balanced with the desire to preserve the village’s quaint, small-town atmosphere. This delicate equilibrium is particularly evident in the village’s approach to commercial expansion. Beau Bernhoft sheds light on the targeted growth areas within Little Chute, particularly emphasizing the strategic significance of the I-41 corridor.

“Little Chute has a substantial amount of property right along the highway and has pretty easy access to the freeway system there,” Bernhoft notes. This prime location has become a magnet for manufacturing and industrial opportunities, leveraging the village’s accessibility to major transportation routes and a robust workforce. “We’re seeing a lot of businesses that want that easy on and off freeway access, large space, and a good workforce,” he explains, pointing out the appeal of Little Chute to national businesses seeking a conducive environment for growth.

David Kittel highlights the village’s efforts to rejuvenate its downtown area, particularly after COVID-19. The revitalization efforts were significantly bolstered by the state of Wisconsin’s Economic Development Corporation’s bounce-back grant, which facilitated transforming a downtown building into a multi-unit space housing nearly ten businesses. “It’s impressive,” Kittel remarks, praising the diverse range of services these new enterprises offer, from home decorating to marketing.

Moreover, Kittel touches on the deep-rooted sense of community and loyalty to Little Chute, which encourages local investment and development. He shares compelling examples of businesses like US Auto Force, and Faith Technologies, whose decisions to expand within the village were driven by a desire to give back to the community that shaped them. “They could have gone outside of the state if you will, but they wanted to stay in and reinvest in our area,” Kittel explains.

Addressing Housing Challenges with Innovative Solutions

The housing market across the United States and North America faces significant shortages, impacting communities both large and small. In Little Chute, Wisconsin, this national trend has not gone unnoticed. As the village experiences remarkable business development, the need for residential expansion has become increasingly apparent. Bernhoft acknowledges the widespread conversation about housing shortages among municipal managers in Wisconsin.

“The village certainly is trying to grow alongside some of this business development,” he asserts, pointing out the tightness in the current residential market and the expansion opportunities. The village’s response to this challenge is multifaceted, focusing on increasing housing availability while ensuring that development is sustainable and harmonious with Little Chute’s community ethos.

A key initiative highlighted by Bernhoft involves the development of duplexes by Romanesque Developments, aiming to introduce 23 new duplex units south of the I-41 corridor. This project, among others, signifies a targeted effort to enhance the village’s residential capacity. “As we continue to improve some of the areas just to the north of 41, we’re utilizing our comprehensive plan and some of our overarching zoning to help accommodate more of the residential in a balancing manner,” Bernhoft explains.

On the concept of mixed-use developments as a potential avenue for further expansion, Bernhoft indicates that the village’s zoning ordinances are designed to support flexible development plans, enabling the introduction of market-rate housing that meets the community’s needs. “Our zoning code does an outstanding job of making standards attainable for developers,” he notes, emphasizing the importance of remaining adaptable to the evolving requirements of builders and developers.


Enhancing Quality of Life Through Outdoor Spaces and Collaborative Efforts

As communities across the nation strive to improve the quality of life for their residents, Little Chute stands out for its innovative approach to leveraging outdoor spaces and fostering collaborations. The village’s initiatives aim to enrich its inhabitants’ lives and serve as a model for sustainable community development.

Kittel highlights several vital projects underway in Little Chute that focus on expanding and improving the village’s outdoor amenities. One of the most anticipated additions is the construction of a splash pad designed to offer children a refreshing outdoor play area. “A lot of these endeavors…it’s a big team effort,” Kittel notes, emphasizing the collaborative nature of these projects. The introduction of the splash pad, along with ongoing efforts to enhance the trail system, underscores the village’s commitment to creating engaging outdoor spaces for residents of all ages.

The trail system in Little Chute, in particular, is undergoing significant expansion, including a new bridge over the Fox River to facilitate safer pedestrian movement between Little Chute and neighboring communities. “By doing this, it provides a safer route for pedestrians to move between the two municipalities,” Kittel explains, highlighting the benefits of such infrastructure improvements. These developments are part of a larger vision to connect Little Chute to a regional network of trails, enhancing mobility and access to natural spaces for the community.

Collaboration is a recurring theme in Little Chute’s approach to community development. Beau Bernhoft underscores the importance of partnerships in addressing unique challenges and seizing growth opportunities. “It certainly doesn’t happen without partnerships and collaboration,” he states, mentioning the vital role of the Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce in fostering business connections and support within the community. This collaborative spirit extends beyond the village’s borders as local planning commissions and neighboring communities work together to promote regional prosperity.

Prioritizing Responsive Leadership and Community Growth

As Little Chute looks ahead, the priorities set by its leaders reflect a profound pledge to advancing a community that is both responsive and resilient. Amidst a landscape of rapid development and changing needs, the focus for the year is clear: listening, adapting, and maintaining. Each leader brings a distinct perspective to the table, emphasizing the multifaceted approach Little Chute takes to ensure its sustainable and inclusive growth.

Lisa Remiker-Dewall, Finance Director of Little Chute, underscores the importance of a tailored and service-oriented approach to community engagement. “Our top priority is to listen,” she asserts, emphasizing the commitment to serving the community’s diverse needs and aspirations. Through projects like the Nelson Crossing and collaborations with the regional metropolitan sewerage district, Remiker-Dewall highlights the tangible benefits of inter-municipal cooperation and the pursuit of grant funding opportunities.

Kittel takes a slightly different angle, focusing on the need to reassess and adapt the village’s programs and services after COVID-19. “The big focus is to reevaluate,” he explains, signaling a readiness to overhaul existing offerings to better align with the current economic climate. This reevaluation process is crucial for identifying areas for improvement, discontinuation, or innovation within the village’s services.

Bernhoft highlights the challenges and opportunities presented by infrastructure projects, particularly the I-41 construction. For Bernhoft, 2024 is “the year of maintaining,” a period marked by significant logistical challenges and immense growth potential. “I think a lot of the residents in the area are going to see a lot of traffic cones up,” he notes, emphasizing the importance of communication and education in navigating these changes.

As Little Chute navigates the complexities of development, infrastructure, and community service, the common thread among its leaders is responsive, forward-thinking leadership. By listening to the community, embracing change, and strategically planning for the future, Little Chute lays the groundwork for a vibrant and thriving community that remains true to its roots while boldly stepping into the future.


Village of Little Chute

What: A growing community known for balancing dynamic economic development with maintaining its small-town charm and close-knit atmosphere.

Where: Little Chute, Wisconsin



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