Skip to content
Dec 17 14

Office Closure

by Jackie S

The UMVRDC office will be closed Thursday and Friday, December 25th & 26th to spend time with our family for the Christmas holiday.  We will open at 8am on Monday the 29th.

Have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Dec 15 14

NOW HIRING: Assistant Finance Director

by Melissa

Assistant Finance Director
RDC logo - square, with tagline

Challenging position in well-established, quality organization. Enjoy a  professional, dynamic and creative culture, flexible work environment,  exceptional benefits (Medical, Dental, Life Insurance, Flex Spending, employer funded HSA, Vacation, Sick, Paid Holidays, PERA and other retirement options) and career growth

The Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) is looking for an experienced finance professional. This is a challenging position in well-established, quality organization. This position involves a strong working knowledge of accounting principles and procedures, A-133 audit preparation, compliance with state and federal grant conditions, financial reports and budgets, internal control procedures, payroll and accounts payable functions. Career growth opportunities exist.

The ideal candidate will display excellent communication, leadership and supervisory skills for this position. Candidates should demonstrate strong work ethic, excellent attention to detail, be well organized, have the ability to work independently on diverse projects and be a team player.  Passion for customer service and for cultivating community relationships a must.

Application and full position description available at EOE.

The position is available starting immediately.

The review of applications begins August 8 and every two weeks thereafter. This position will remain open until filled.

Job offers are not final until receiving the UMVRDC Board of Commissioners approval and upon successful competition of a background and credit check.

To Apply

  • Please complete the application electronically, print a copy, then sign and date it. Application is available here. 
  • Send application, copies of college transcripts, and cover letter highlighting three things you can bring to the UMVRDC Finance Team to:

Executive Director 323 West Schlieman Avenue Appleton, MN 56208 320-289-1981 ext. 101

Dec 2 14

Statewide Freight & Passenger Rail Plan – Open House

by Melissa

MnDOT is in the process of updating the Statewide Freight and Passenger Rail Plan. The plan’s primary purpose is to establish guidance and priorities for the state transportation decisions—ensuring that efficient, competitive services are available to rail customers and that freight access to local and global markets is enhanced. The plan will identify priority rail corridors, programs, and projects that offer effective improvements or expansion for passenger and freight travel in and out of Minnesota.

You are invited to join us for an open house to gather input for this plan.

Date: Monday, December 8th

Time: 3:00 – 5:00 pm with a presentation starting at 3:30

Location: MnDOT District 8 Headquarters – 2505 Transportation Road, Willmar, MN 56201

If you are unable to attend the open house, but are interested in learning more about the plan or providing input, visit the Public Outreach page on the Statewide Rail Plan 2015 website. There you will find presentations and display boards used at the open house along with ways to provide input.

Additionally, you can take this short survey to help us understand how well the freight system in Minnesota meets your needs. It should only take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete, and your responses are kept confidential.

For more information contact Lindsey Knutson, Planner Director. 320.214.6333

Nov 26 14

Art Sales Increase for 2014 Meander

by Melissa


The reports from 42 different artists are in and the numbers point to a 12% increase in average sales per artist during the 2014 Meander Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl. According to Kristi Fernholz, Senior Planner for the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC), a total of $108,207 of art sales were made during the course of the three day Meander weekend, which
is up from the $90,874 reported last year.

“It is encouraging that after 11 years, the Meander continues to grow, and the increase in art sales is only part of the story. It  is the economic boost for small businesses in region and the quality of life awareness the Meander brings that really pays the dividends.” – Fernholz

According to surveys returned by Meander visitors and the artists themselves, the average Meander customer spends $40 on food and gas and $12 on shopping other than art in the region.  When multiplied by the estimated 2000 Meanderers over the weekend, this amounts to another $104,000 flowing into the small towns of the 5 county region (Big Stone, Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine) served by the UMVRDC.

According to the surveys, 20 % of those customers taking part in the Meander weekend are from the Twin Cities metro area and 19% come from other states.  53% of those attending the 2014 event were first timers and 81% of all attendees surveyed say they intend to come again next year.

In addition to seeing all the art and meeting the artists, the ability to “spend the day with family and friends” was a highlight for the weekend, according to a survey of Meander visitors.

“It all adds up to a memorable and positive experience featuring the good people, the creativity and beautiful landscape of our prairie waters region,” said Fernholz.  “It is one of the best things we can do to attract new families to our communities.”

For more information on the Meander, call 1-866-866-5432 or visit

2014 Meander Economic Impacts

$108,207 Total reported Meander art sales to customers during the Meander weekend(42/42 surveys reported) 2013 reported $90,874 with 40 surveys returned

$2,576 Average reported art sales per artist. (12% increase from 2013!)

76% Money raised to organize the Meander through sponsors and artists was spent on products or services (printing, paper, advertising, graphic design, staffing) in the five county area.  Meander spent over $10,000 on advertising in 2014; 27% of the total budget.

97-1400 Reported total number of customers at individual studios for the entire weekend.

11 studios Average number of studios customers visited.

2.8 people per travel party (on average)

81% of customers said the quality of the art was excellent

81% of customers said their overall experience was excellent

53% did NOT attend last year

81% plan to attend again next year

17% maybe plan to attend next year

36% came from within 5-county area

25% came from greater Minnesota (outside 5-county area)

20% came from the metro area

19% came from out of state

Average Expenditures per Customer
(385 reporting in 2014 vs 373 in 2013  )

$121 on Meander Art ($112 in 2013)

$40 on Food/Gas ($41 in 2013)

$12 on Shopping, other than art ($20 in 2013)

$11 on Lodging ($16 in 2013)

Nov 19 14

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training comes to Appleton

by Melissa

The UMVRDC was happy to host Michelle and CJ from The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) on Wednesday, October 29th. BikeMN brought their recent Walk! Bike! Fun! curriculum to Appleton to train educators and officers from across the five county region about teaching pedestrian and bicycle safety to children. This curriculum is the result of collaboration between the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.

The curriculum aims to help schools and other community members effectively teach children to safely walk and bike to school. It’s designed for grades fourth through sixth, but the information is important for people of all ages to know and understand. During the training, participants reviewed basic pedestrian and bicycle safety rules, practiced teaching lessons from the curriculum, and went on a group ride around the City of Appleton. you can download the Walk! Bike! Fun! Curriculum by clicking on the link.

Part of the training included the ABC Quick Check. The ABC Quick Check is a great tool to check the condition of your bike every time you ride.

All training participants were optimistic about implementing this curriculum in the classroom or at community events such as Bike Rodeos. Teachers bringing this curriculum back to their schools are hoping to be able to co-teach the material. By collaborating with a classroom teacher to show videos and to review material, the active portions of the lessons could be taught by the physical education teachers. Adding more curriculum material to the school year is always a challenging task, but splitting the time between two teachers seemed more manageable.

BikeMN has a fleet of approximately 30 bicycles that teachers across the state can request to teach the curriculum in their schools. This is a great resource and we are encouraging all of the schools in our region to take advantage of this opportunity!

For more information on the Walk! Bike! Fun! Curriculum, please visit or contact Emily Zandt, Community Development Planner at or 320-289-1981 x104.