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June Newsletter 2017

by Melissa on June 28th, 2017

Prairie Waters Brochures and meander Brochures Available Now! 

Just a few weeks ago, the UMVRDC received all our boxes of the 2017 Arts Meander brochures. John George Larson created the beautiful cover art this year. The brochure features this year’s over 35 participating artists with studios across the five-county area. It is a perfect “trip on a tank full,” and having a brochure will make it even easier to plan! They will be available  online on the Meander website or in a physical copy around the region. You can also receive brochures by contacting the UMVRDC office.

In addition to the Meander brochures, we also have our latest Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Visitor Guides. These guides feature camping, shopping, museums, dining, and so much more from all five counties (Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac Qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine Counties). They are great to have whether you are a resident of the area or a visitor. If you are interested in receiving a Prairie Waters visitor’s guide, make sure to contact us. We will be happy to send one (or more than one!) your way.

UMVRDC Board of Commissioners Member Update

Vicki Oakes
Welcome back Vicki Oakes!
We are happy to announce the return of a familiar face to our board – Vicki Oakes with the Big Stone County EDA rejoined as a special interest group. Vicki has been active in Big Stone County since her return to Ortonville in 1994. She also sits on the UMVRDC Revolving Loan Fund Advisory Board. We look forward to her knowledge and insight that she brings to the board.

Gene Bies
Welcome Gene Bies!

Gene is a city council member for the City of Canby and recently filled the Yellow Medicine County Municipality vacancy on our board. Gene has been very active with the City of Canby in various roles for the past number of years and we are thrilled
to have him join us.

Gene served in the Army and spent two years in Vietnam. He has a degree in mechanical drafting. Gene has been married for 48 years and has three children and many grandchildren. Gene retired in 2006 from Ottertail Power after 35 years of employment. Gene is active with the Lions Club in Canby and is a life time member of the VFW.

UMVRDC Welcomes a New Senior Planner and a New Communications Assistant

Krik Bustrom – UMVRDC Senior Planner
Kirk Bustrom started at the UMVRDC this May as Senior Planner. His background is in accounting/finance and economic development project management, and has over 15 years of experience in community and economic development. Kirk has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Science in Geographic Information sciences (MSGISc) from the University of Denver. He and his wife are from the Duluth area and have raised three wonderful children. Kirk and his family enjoy the North Shore of Lake Superior and spend lots of time exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Marcy Prince – Communications Assistant
Marcy Prince was an intern for the UMVRDC while completing her Bachelors in English/Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota – Morris, and joined the team as Communications Assistant this May. Marcy grew up in Madison, Wisconsin but has fallen in love with Western Minnesota and is excited to help support and region through her work. In her free time, Marcy writes poetry and enjoys reading, cooking for friends, enjoying the outdoors, and watching sports.

Lac qui Parle County Park Starting on Master Plan

Dawson, MN

The Lac qui Parle County Park is starting on a Master Plan this summer! With assistance from the UMVRDC, the plan will emphasize public participation to give the Park Board a good feel for how the park should be developed and what future projects could look like. The final plan will outline projects, create maps and concept drawings, and provide a list of priority projects for the next several years for the park. More information on the park can be found here.

This Master Plan completes the process to allow the park to be considered for regional designation by the Greater MN Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC). If  the park is designated, it will be eligible for funds through the GMRPTC.

The GMRPTC, created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013, undertakes system planning and provides recommendations to the legislature for grants funded by the parks and trails fund, to counties and cities outside of the seven-county metropolitan area for parks and trails of regional significance. For more information on the GMRPTC and the designation and funding process please visit: or contact Jason Brisson at or at 320.289.1981
x 107.

Transit Plan

On April 20, the UMVRDC hosted a one-day workshop as part of the 2017 Local Human Service Transit Coordination Plan for the region. Currently, numerous individuals in our region have difficulty getting to medical appointments, the grocery store, church, visiting family and friends, or fully participating in other important activities due to lack of transportation. The Minnesota Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Transportation asked the UMVRDC to address these issues through a coordinated planning process.

Coordinated transportation aims to maximize consumers’ access to all existing transportation services, including public, private, non-profit, and human services entities, while minimizing duplication of service provision. The draft version of the full plan  is posted on the UMVRDC website for public comment. This plan will integrate the strategies for the region and provide a background and framework for coordinated transit in the region.

View the Tranist coordination Plan Draft

Charting the Future of Local Foods

What is the potential for local foods in our region? What needs to happen in order to have local foods more readily available in our region? What are the next steps to increase the amount of local foods grown and distributed in our region? These are a few of the questions asked in a recently completed Local Food Study lead by UMVRDC staff. “Charting the Future of Local Foods” is the final document of a project completed in partnership with the University of Minnesota Extension and the Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (RSDP) and Countryside Public Health – Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP).


The planning process started in the spring of 2016, and worked with stakeholders, growers and places that buy or sell local foods. The RSDP also conducted a local
food market analysis to explore the market potential. Currently, local foods account for a very small percentage of food purchased in our region. If this percentage were to increase by a small amount, there is a potential to create economic opportunities for local farmers.

The plan outlines a list of 58 action steps that address what we can do next to  improve the local foods system. From that list, here are a few of the identified

  •  Find ways that get growers and institutions, restaurants, and others together
    on a recurring basis.
  •  Host workshops within communities to figure out how to be more welcoming, supportive,
    and connected with newcomers, farmers, and others.
  • Explore who is growing food for human consumption in the region. Identify different
    kinds and scales of growers and identify those who want to scale up and use different
    marketing mechanisms.
  • Utilize the Buy Fresh Buy Local logo in food campaigns (Cooperative regional marketing
    [logo/campaign] to grocery stores/restaurants)

For more information, contact Kristi Fernholz at
or at 320.2891
View the Local Foods study here The market analysis available through UMN extension, here.


The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) helps businesses by creating a financial package to fund start-ups or expansion
projects, which helps create and retain jobs in our region. Recently, SEWearable Designs in Appleton used RLF dollars to expand
their business and buy a new embroidery machine. Now, they can keep and create seven additional jobs in our region.

Trish’s Catering in Clara City applied for and received an RLF loan. Trish’s Catering will relocate their commercial kitchen which caters more than 200 events in the region every year and employs ten part-time employees. If you want to learn more about the UMVRDC’s Revolving Loan Fund, contact Laura Ostile at 320.289.1981 ext. 102 or by email at Your business start-ups and expansions can become a reality!

Successful Funding Projects this Quarter

Granite Falls, Montevideo, and Maynard

Memorial Park in Granite Falls received $595,613 through the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC) for a shower house, shelter improvements and safety improvements in the park. The UMVRDC assisted the city of Granite Falls in submitting this funding request to the GMRPTC.

On the arts side of things, the Montevideo Art Project (MAP) received $20,000 grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council to complete a community sculpture by Karl Unnasch, who will incorporate stained glass depicting Montevideo stories into an antique tractor. The UMVRDC is working with MAP to coordinate,
implement and write grants to turn their public art ideas into reality.

The city of Maynard continues to work on developing the Historic Maynard State Bank Building into their city museum. The UMVRDC has been working with the city and local volunteers to help identify next steps for the museum, and was successful in procuring $6,000 through a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to complete a National Register Nomination for  the bank building.

Mark Your Calendars!

June 27, 2017 – UMVRDC Board Meeting
Appleton Civic Center 6:30 pm

July 3 and 4, 2017 – Office Closed for 4th of July

July 25, 2017 – UMVRDC Annual Meeting

From → News, Take Note!

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