On May 1, 2002 , the U.S. Bureau of the Census published the populations of all 453 urbanized areas across the country. Included in that number were 76 new urbanized areas, areas where the urban concentrations of population have reached at least 50,000 since the 2000 census. The smallest of these new urbanized areas, inching over the population threshold, is the Fond du Lac urbanized area with a population 50,058. The Fond du Lac urbanized area is made up of the entire City of Fond du Lac and Village of North Fond du Lac, as well as contiguously developed portions of four towns: Empire, Fond du Lac, Friendship, and Taycheedah.
The designation of the urbanized area comes with some responsibilities. All urbanized areas must be represented by a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the purposes of transportation planning. (East Central currently serves as the MPO for the Oshkosh and Fox Cities urbanized areas.) The Fond du Lac Area MPO was formally designated by the governor late in 2002. The municipalities listed above have worked together with Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and East Central to develop the organization’s structure, consisting of a MPO policy board made up of representatives from the six communities, Fond du Lac County, FHWA, and WisDOT. The MPO has tapped into the experience of East Central staff to meet the federal transportation planning requirements of the MPO. In many ways, this is a formalization of the relationship that has existed between East Central, the City, Village, and individual towns, for many years. Work efforts center on the development of a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), a long range transportation/land use plan, a Public Participation Plan (PPP), and an annual work program to describe each year’s planning efforts and establish a budget for the MPO.