Questioning the Locals | Mike Golat
WHO: Mike Golat, 41
WHAT: City Administrator for Altoona
IN THE VALLEY FOR: 2 years
What place in town considers you a “regular”?
Jimmy John’s for lunch.
What frustrates you about the Chippewa Valley?
Generally speaking, I think those frustrated with the Chippewa Valley view the proverbial cup as half empty. We have so much to be grateful for here. The community is safe. Cultural opportunities abound. There are enormous opportunities for outdoor recreation. The unemployment rate is low. The traffic is no problem. The valley is beautiful. And, most of all, the people here are genuinely nice and willing to dig in to solve any problems facing the community.
What is one of the best cultural experiences you’ve ever had in the Chippewa Valley?
I love visiting the farmers market on Saturday morning with my family at the peak of harvest season.
You had once proposed a “pumpkin festival” autumn event. What happened to it and will it reappear?
Between work, family, and other pursuits, I was too busy to take on organizing the event. I have no plans on the horizon for organizing a pumpkin festival in the near future, but who knows what the future holds?
Many people in Eau Claire seem to perceive Altoona as being a “suburb” of EC. What would you like these people to know?
Residents of Altoona are proud to call Altoona home. They are proud of Altoona’s schools, businesses, neighborhoods, sport teams, and Altoona’s distinct history (interested folks can read A History of Altoona by Gerald A. Hagen). Altoona has a lot going on, most notably development of River Prairie at the intersection of the New Highway 53 and River Prairie Drive. This development stands to further distinguish Altoona from Eau Claire.
What is your favorite piece of Altoona or local trivia? Because my son is a train nut, I love the railroad history of Altoona. Altoona became Altoona because a roundhouse was built here in 1881.
On your deathbed, you get one meal from a local restaurant, what would it be?
Shrimp at Tokyo Japanese Restaurant with my family and friends.
What Oakwood Mall store do you find yourself frequenting most often and why? Is there a mall attached to Scheels? Scheels lives up to their claim of staffing their store with experts. If I want to buy a turkey call, I talk to the national champion turkey caller. If I want a bow, I talk to an expert bow hunter who travels around the country in pursuit of Booners. And, if I want a new pair of running shoes, I talk to a runner.
Who is the greatest Wisconsinite of all time?
Brett Favre for president.
What part of the Chippewa Valley have you never visited? I would like to travel to Cornell to visit Trapper Art.
Which imaginary mascot would win in a fight: an Altoona Rail vs. a Memorial Old Abe vs. a North Huskie vs. a Chippewa Falls Cardinal?
For this one I had to turn to my 7-year old son, Jacob, who is an expert on such important matters. He informed me it would be no contest since Altoona’s mascot is actually a steam locomotive, which could simply run over the other three mascots.
Be honest: Borders or the library?
The library – Altoona Public Library, that is. The staff is awesome – friendly and helpful.