The City of Oshkosh provides services to the City of Oshkosh twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year and operates under a Council / City Manager form of government. The seven member City Council, including the Mayor, are all elected at large. The council is the legislative and policy making body of the City. The Council selects the City Manager who is the Chief Executive Officer of the City. The City Manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities of the municipality.
Under the direction of the City Manager, the City is presently comprised of 620 full and part time employees, of which 13 are officials or administrators, 43 are supervisors / managers, 196 are involved in protective services, 64 are professionals, 52 are paraprofessionals, 154 are public works employees and 98 are office or clerical workers.
The City of Oshkosh, (population 66,083 as of the 2010 census), is an award-winning community in the heart of the Fox River Valley, about 90 miles north of Milwaukee and 50 miles south of Green Bay. Oshkosh is a progressive and participative community that offers small-town friendliness with big city features and a high quality of life for people of all ages and interests.
The City encompasses 24 square miles. It is the largest municipality in Winnebago County, which has a population of over 159,972 within its borders.
Oshkosh is served by US Highways 41 and 45 and State Highways 21, 44, and 76, Wittman Regional Airport, the Outagamie County Regional Airport (20 miles), and General Mitchell International Airport (80 Miles).
Oshkosh is a great place to live as a result of an excellent school system, outstanding health care facilities, abundant entertainment opportunities, a low cost of living, a clean environment, and much more. The attributes of Oshkosh include its parks, galleries, nationally accredited museums, golf courses, entertainment venues, festivals, and activities that make Oshkosh a haven for anyone interested in combining city life with the benefits of a small town.
Oshkosh and the surrounding area boast an abundance of sights and sounds for residents and visitors to discover and enjoy. The city is on the western shore of Lake Winnebago (217 square miles) and banked by the Fox River and Lake Butte des Morts (8,800 acres).
Oshkosh has been ranked in Money Magazine's "Top 100 Best Places to Live in the United States", in 2009 Business Week ranked Oshkosh as "The Best Place in Wisconsin to Raise Kids" and the Oshkosh metro area was named one of the "50 Smart Places to Live" in the United States by Kiplinger's Personal Finance in June of 2006. Rankings were based upon the amount and quality of affordable housing, a reasonable cost of living, quality of life, access to health care, and a strong economy.
The city partners with two organizations to promote growth and development. Chamco, Inc. is an industrial development organization and the Oshkosh Area Economic Development Corporation (OAEDC) works with the commercial businesses in the Oshkosh Area.
Wisconsin has some of the safest metro areas in the U.S. according to the 13th annual Safest City and Metropolitan Area Awards compiled by Morgan Quitno Press. The Oshkosh- Neenah MSA also was named a 2007 5-star Quality of Life Metropolitan area by Expansion Management. Quality of life factors considered when compiling the list include affordable housing, good public schools, and median income.
Oshkosh has a rich history. While the fur trade brought the first European settlers to this area as early as 1818, the establishment and growth of the lumber industry after the Civil War fueled the development of Oshkosh. The structures which now make up the city's historic areas are a result of the capital and materials generated by the lumber and associated wood manufacturing industries. When Oshkosh was formally incorporated in 1853, it had already been designated the county seat and had a population of nearly 2,800. The 1859 arrival of rail transportation provided an important opportunity to meet the demands of a larger and rapidly growing construction market.
By 1870, Oshkosh had become third largest city in the state with a population of over 12,000. In addition to providing capital and materials for construction of buildings now considered historic, the lumber industry was associated with entrepreneurs and businessmen who made significant contributions to the community, politics and philanthropic organizations. The availability of materials and capital, along with the devastating downtown fires in the mid 1870's, created opportunities for architects to produce a range of well-designed buildings for residential, commercial, civic and religious use.
Oshkosh has a strong tradition of education and offers one of the finest school systems in the nation. The schools, both public and private, offer a variety of educational programs. Oshkosh was one of the seven cities in Wisconsin on a list of the top 25 school districts in the country, according to the July 2006 issue of Corporate Report Wisconsin. Public schools in Oshkosh include fifteen elementary schools, five middle schools, two high schools, and four charter schools with nearly 10,300 students. In addition, the private schools have an enrollment just over 1,000 students. Fox Valley Technical College, headquartered in Appleton, has three locations in Oshkosh. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is the third largest university in the state, with a total enrollment of more than 13,000 students. With 1,400 graduate students, UW Oshkosh has the largest graduate program of the eleven comprehensive universities in the UW System. The University's 74 associate, baccalaureate and master's degree programs are organized within four outstanding colleges; Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Letters and Sciences, and Nursing. The University, founded in 1871, serves as an arts and cultural center for 1.2 million citizens of northeast Wisconsin, and its NCAA Division III athletic program is among the very best in the nation.
Oshkosh has two hospitals newly built since 2000, Mercy Medical Center and Aurora Medical Center, with over 200 beds. There are five clinics in the community and 180 physicians/nurse practitioners.
There are 29 community parks and natural resource areas, several golf courses, four museums/galleries, a library, movie theater and numerous marinas and boat landings.
Attractions include the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which hosts AirVenture every year. For one week each summer, EAA members and aviation enthusiasts totaling more than 500,000 from more than 60 countries attend EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where they rekindle friendships and celebrate the past, present and future in the world of flight.
Other popular attractions include the Grand Opera House, Leach Amphitheater, Menominee Park and Zoo, Military Veterans Museum, Morgan House, Opera House Square, Oshkosh Public Museum, Paine Art Center and Gardens, Pollack Community Water Park, and the Oshkosh Public Library.
Oshkosh is a state leader in regard to hosting annual events. In fact, Oshkosh is known as Wisconsin's Event City. Some of the many events include several Professional Fishing Tournaments, Brews & Blues, Celebration of Lights, Country USA Concert, Faire on the Green, EAA Air Venture Oshkosh, Miss Wisconsin Pageant, Irishfest, U.S. Open Volleyball Tournament, Otter Street Fisheree, Sawdust Days, Inland lake Yachting Association Regatta, Lifest Christian Music Festival and Waterfest Summer Concert Series.