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Leaders in Grafton are optimistic about the future of their community.

They shared that optimisim Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the annual Grafton State of the Community Luncheon.

The purpose of the event was to showcase the progress made throughout the Grafton community and to look ahead at what's in store for 2017. Presenters at the luncheon spoke on behalf of the village, town, school district, and chamber of commerce.

School Superintendent Jeff Nelson touted some of the academic achievements throughout the school district, including Grafton High School's recent distinction on the College Board AP District Honor Roll and its average ACT scores above the state level. Nelson also addressed the$39.93 million referendum that will go to the voters April 4.

"There is sometimes a difference between asking people if they want change and asking people to change," said Nelson. "Change is an opportunity to do something amazing, and we feel that this referendum will help make positive changes for our school district."

Village President Jim Brunnquell announced tentative dates for several development projects, including the recently approved TownPlace Suites (set to break ground in April), Grafton Marketplace (opening this spring), and the Lumberyard 1505 apartments (opening this summer). According to Brunnquell, these projects, along with the overall progress made throughout the community, help fulfill Grafton's brand slogan of "Quality Life. Naturally."

Chamber President Renee Samson applauded the efforts of the chamber to work with local businesses and promote special events throughout the community. Samson and the Chamber hope that the hiring of a special events and tourism promotion director will allow them to continue to draw more visitors to Grafton.

Town Chairman Lester Bartel highlighted construction and nature projects in town, including the upkeep of nature trails and the development of several new residential apartments. What stood out about Bartel's presentation was his emphasis on the importance of maintaining the relationship between the town and village, a sentiment that other speakers and attendees shared with regards to the cohesive nature of the luncheon.

"I think everyone here has been working well together to build both a strong village and town," said Superintendent Nelson, who was also happy that the school district reached a consensus on the referendum.

"It is our job with this referendum to address the needs of the district and let people know where this money will be going," explained Nelson.

Village President Brunnquell applauded Nelson and the efforts of the entire school district.

"You cannot have a great community without a great school system," said Brunnquell.

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