claude allouez bridge


The Claude Allouez Bridge in De Pere, WI was deteriorating and no longer had the capacity to safely handle current and future growth and needs. The city of De Pere, along with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), proposed a new, $22 million bridge be constructed. However, a small but vocal group of opponents rallied to stop the effort as they believed the existing bridge had historical significance and they wanted a new bridge to be built south of the city. The opponents filed a direct legislation petition, forcing a referendum on the matter.

Working with WisDOT and Graef Anhalt Schloemer on the Claude Allouez Bridge project, Leonard & Finco Public Relations played a key role in developing and implementing a comprehensive educational and informational campaign focused on the growing need for a new bridge that met demands and safety expectations and promoting unity on the issue.

The referendum campaign included:  messaging, positioning and logo development; advertising, informational materials including newsletters and flyers; the production of a half-hour television program; a speaking tour; media relations including editorial board meetings; working with the local business organization and a variety of other outreach efforts. As a result, the referendum to stop the new bridge was overwhelmingly defeated and De Pere now has a state of the art, four-lane bridge.