Arcadia embraces diversity


LaCrosse Tribune: Growth has been good for the city.

Chuck Timm has owned Up Chucks bar on Main Street in Arcadia for nearly 15 years and has seen companies such as Ashley Furniture Industries expand and new businesses move in. That growth wouldn’t be possible without the large and growing population of Hispanic and Latino residents who call the city home, he said, and who make Arcadia the vibrant community it is.

“I welcome it,” Timm said. “It means more people and businesses on Main Street. It means more people to frequent my business and others.”

In the past five years, the Hispanic population has almost doubled according to U.S. Census Data. Hispanic students now make up the majority of the student population of the Arcadia School District, and the U.S. Department of Justice recently required the city to offer a bilingual ballot to residents in elections due to the city’s demographics.

According to demographic data from the U.S. Census at the DPI, the growth in the Hispanic population has been rapid. Hispanic people only made up about 3 percent of the population of Arcadia in 2000; now the Hispanic population makes up more than a third of the city’s residents.

The school district has seen an even more rapid shift, with the Hispanic population going from 9 percent of students in 2005 to nearly 53 percent last year. At the school’s elementary/middle school, the population ratios flipped between 2011 and 2015 with Hispanics making up more than a third of the students six years ago and reaching nearly two-thirds of the school’s population last year.

These students and their families have been a blessing to the community, school Superintendent Louie Ferguson said. At a practical level, the students have helped grow enrollment in the district, which has kept Arcadia from having to make cuts or eliminate programs.

Read more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *