Sheboygan (zip 53081), Wisconsin
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-1.5% since 2010
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Sheboygan, located about halfway between Milwaukee and the Door Peninsula (or “thumb” of Wisconsin) is a clean and diversified port town and commercial center. It has grown up as a tourist and retirement destination attractive to residents of the larger cities to the south. The well-used downtown area is a classic, with particularly pleasant city neighborhoods to the north along the shore. Major employers include plumbing products manufacturers Kohler and Bemis, both headquartered here, and food processing businesses specializing in cheese and sausage. The waterfront is attractive with a large resort and indoor water park complex south of town, and the area has noted golf courses especially in the more upscale suburb of Kohler to the west. There is a notable collection of arts assets for the size of town, some endowed by the Kohler family.
Manitowoc (20 miles north) is a prosperous and clean manufacturing center and terminus to the Badger ferry to Michigan. Additional amenities are available in Milwaukee 60 miles south. With a low crime rate and cost of living, the general stresses of urban living are absent here- the chief negative is the rigorous climate. Current employment prospects are weak, with some manufacturing jobs in Sheboygan and nearby Manitowoc having left for overseas locations. Overall, the small town environment and simplicity is hard to beat among small American cities.
Sheboygan sits at the mouth of the Sheboygan River along a Lake Michigan coastal plain with mixed deciduous forest and clear areas. Land becomes rolling to hilly to the west. The climate is marine-influenced continental, although the “upwind” position diminishes lake effects in comparison with locations to the east and south. Summers are pleasant with periods of warm weather; cooling lake breezes and afternoon thundershowers are common. Winters are vigorous but milder than inland locations. Periods of cool, cloudy weather alternate with crisp, cold weather when air masses invade from the northwest. Snow is common and may linger, though not in amounts seen to the east and south of the lake. The lake moderates the cold somewhat but winds can be strong. First freeze is early October, last is early May.
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