I follow with interest the battle to improve the main road through Spring Grove, to attract more visitors and to separate what improvements are mandated by the state versus wishful thinking.

After much vocal opposition, it looks as if the scope of the project will hinge on who wins the November election.

However, regardless of that outcome, there is something more important to consider than the cost of designer street lamps - What will cause a person driving through to STOP in Spring Grove?

As I am involved in the communications and promotion of the "Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe" in La Crosse, Wis., I understand the immense effort it takes to get noticed. Even a $25 million church with a 2,000 pipe organ on top of a hill can be missed by travelers!

Interested parties should go to www.pps.org/reference/the-power-of-10/ and read what true experts have to say about getting noticed.

Briefly, it is that "any great place needs to offer at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there."

What are the 10 things Spring Grove needs to offer?

We cannot include a good bank, good phone service or good school, as these benefit the people already here.

We also should not include gas stations and food stores, as they are not "draws" to come to this town. Even cafes and restaurants are not enough of a draw, unless they are famous or unique. There are bars and eateries in every town along the way.

So, what do we have that makes up the 10 things?

We have the Ballard House/Giants of the Earth Heritage Center, which is mainly for those interested in things Norwegian. We have the movie theater, which is unusual in our rural area, but is not something to cause a tourist to hit the brakes.

Our laundromat is unique, newsworthy and worth a look, and it should be promoted as such.

Our art gallery is high quality and also deserves further recognition.

Items in the park and in front of the old creamery are worth a look.

The settler's cabin in the Trollskogen Park is also of interest.

Care to add more to the list? Custom quilting is good, "Show Us Your Art" is also good. Nostalgia candies, yep, also good.

But what is Spring Grove already known for in several states?

I strongly suggest that an effort be made to provide space on Main Street for a "Spring Grove Pop Outlet Store" that would provide information about the town along with it's most famous product.

Other products from local stores, souvenirs and postcards could be added to encourage those who stop to spend time downtown.

And, yes, these outlet pop sales will cut into a few sales of pop elsewhere, but that loss will be offset by more people stopping in town. The same is true of t-shirts, postcards, etc.

A well-advertised WiFi hot spot would be welcome to travelers as well.

That's my idea. Now it's up to others to come up with the full list of 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there. Without them, all the fancy street lamps, sidewalks and advertising schemes in the world won't accomplish the task alone.

John Socha,

rural Spring Grove