LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- Mayor Tim Kabat begins his first full day at the helm of the city Wednesday.
"I want to try to get out of the gate here as quickly and as smoothly as possible," said Kabat, who was sworn in Tuesday afternoon along with newly-elected city council members Peg Jerome, Dempsey Miller, Ryan Cornett and David Krump.
Kabat spent the last three and a half years as the executive director of La Crosse's Downtown Main Street, Inc. -- a non-profit organization that seeks to attract new businesses and commerce to downtown La Crosse.
He said he began his time in charge at DMI amongst a wave of energy and optimism from La Crosse's business community and, having generated a similar energy after sweeping every city ward in this month's mayoral election, Kabat said he's anxious to replicate the results that followed at DMI.
"Our merchants and businesses were chomping at the bit about some of our programs and some of the things they wanted to see happen," Kabat said. "That's what I try to do is be that conduit for folks to be able to bounce ideas around, communicate those things and come to some agreement."
"We've seen over the last several years a really strong momentum because downtown we've seen new business start-ups, many of them have stayed in business, and we've seen a lot of jobs being created," Kabat said.
Among Kabat's first orders of business will be to lay out plans for his first 100 days in charge. He said we can expect the 100-day plan to be released in the coming weeks.
"Growing our tax base, having more job opportunities for all of our citizens, working on our neighborhoods, our housing stock and those crime issues, with all of those you do want to have those bigger goals in mind," Kabat said, "to be thinking what we want to do over the next one, two or four years."
"But the 100-day plan is just, that's the start, to hopefully set things in that right direction," the Mayor said.
But as Kabat begins his journey as the occupant of the sixth floor office with the great view at city hall, he said he's aware that expectations are high.
"They're high," Kabat said, "and a big part of that is the message."
"All throughout the campaign we talked about how what I was hearing from people is they want city government to get things done, and to work together," Kabat said. "So I do feel expectation levels are very high. But I want to embrace that... People have the right to expect a lot from their local government."
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