Welcome Michele Backer!
We are happy to introduce our newest board member, Michele Backer, representing Big Stone County Municipalities. Michele is a city council member for the City of Graceville. In her role as city council she is also the liaison to the Graceville Library.
Michele and her family live in Graceville and she works at BW Inc. In addition to a Public Administration degree, Michele has many past experiences working in economic development, HRA’s, planning commissions, assessor’s offices, and city clerk work that make her a great fit for our board.
Michele and her husband have five children. Welcome Michele!
2019 Arts Meander
The 16th annual Meander: Upper Minnesota River Art Crawl was another success this year, with strong attendance. Visitors came from all over to participate in the highly regarded art crawl that took place in the five-county area of the Upper Minnesota River Valley.
Total reported overall arts sales were up this year, totaling $116,944 with each customer spending an average of $126 on Meander art. Some studios estimated 1400 customers throughout the weekend and customers reported visiting an average of eight studios while meandering. Eighty one percent of customers said their overall experience was excellent.
Madison Arts Council Receives Grant for Public Art
UMVRDC helped Madison Arts Council receive a $25,000 project grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council to hire Tim Adams to create and install “Biome”. The UMVRDC has been providing grant writing and project coordination services to Madison to help them towards their goal of adding public art to their community.
Staff assisted the group of Madison community members to identify a project, get artists interested in the project, review design options, and ultimately pick the first piece of public art to implement—a lighted biome sculpture. The group is now in the process of finding matching funds for the sculpture, “Biome,” that will be created this winter and installed the spring of 2020.
2019 MADO All Staff Retreat Success
On October 24-25, 2019, more than 80 employees from regional development organizations in Minnesota came together to learn from one another at a Minnesota Association of Development Organizations (MADO) All Staff Retreat. The two days were filled with presentations from RDC staff and local partners on a variety of topics like cybersecurity, housing, childcare, branding your RDC, health and wellness in the office, infrastructure, and making communities welcoming. Several UMVRDC staff presented on projects from our region and received excellent feedback from attendees. It was an excellent opportunity for staff to meet face to face from around the state and to learn from the work we are all doing in our communities.
Child Care Case Studies
The child care shortage in Minnesota continues to be a challenge for many families, communities, and especially employers. In response to the increased need for child care options, the UMVRDC has reached out to child care centers within the region to develop a series of case studies. Each center is set up slightly different, whether it is housed in a healthcare facility, school, church, etc., and that’s one of the areas we wanted to highlight – the different options for housing centers within our region to help fix the shortage. These studies serve as a resource and guidance for those looking to start up or expand child care facilities and contain information on staffing, fees, enrollment, budgets, challenges, successes, and more. These case studies were made possible with funding help from the Southwest Initiative Foundation.
View case studies on the UMVRDC website and stay tuned for more to come.
Kerkhoven Comprehensive Planning
The UMVRDC started the planning process for the Kerkhoven Comprehensive Plan in early 2019. A task force has been meeting regularly to go through data and have conducted a survey that helped determine the goals and strategies to put into the comprehensive plan, which is meant to guide the city for the next 20 years.
Through the meetings, the task force has decided to title the plan, “Building our Community, City of Kerkhoven Comprehensive Plan.” UMVRDC staff has completed a draft of the plan based on the results from the community survey and input from the taskforce. The strategy highlights include land use, housing, parks and recreation, economic development, public infrastructure, facilities and service, transportation, and community vitality.
Once the final draft of the plan is completed, there will be a public process in February and March with adoption of the plan to follow once public input is considered.
UMVRDC helps Appleton and Clara City secure Small City Development Program Funds
The UMVRDC continues to assist communities with applications to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) for housing and commercial building rehabilitation. In November, the UMVRDC authored preliminary applications for both Appleton and Clara City.
SCDP activities must meet one of the following federal objectives:
- Benefit low to moderate income households
- Prevent or eliminate slum and blight conditions
- Alleviate urgent community development needs
Preliminary proposal determinations are expected to be provided to applicants in mid- December. If you are interested in learning how your community may benefit from an SCDP grant, please contact Kristi or Laura at the UMVRDC, 320-289-1981.
Regional Transportation Coordinating Council to fill the Transportation Gap in West Central Minnesota
UMVRDC has been helping with the development of the Prairie Five Regional Transportation Coordinating Council (RTCC) which would coordinate all transportation services in the counties of Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Swift, and Big Stone. The goal of the council is to fill a transportation gap by providing more rides using the same or fewer resources and make transportation easier to use by the customers.
Prairie Five CAC received a planning grant from MNDOT to assist in the research and development of the RTCC. After this one-year planning and organizing process with a coordination committee and stakeholders, the goal is that the RTCC will be ready for implementation in the summer of 2020. The UMVRDC has been hired to facilitate this planning process along with Prairie Five CAC. Stakeholders and a coordination committee will start holding meetings this winter.
Lac qui Parle & Swift County All-Hazard Mitigation Plan Updates
As a result of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, FEMA required that in order to be eligible for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds, a local unit of government (county, city, and township) must first have in place a multi-hazard mitigation plan. Lac qui Parle and Swift Counties must update their plans every five years. Lac qui Parle and Swift Counties, with the assistance of the UMVRDC have been tasked with updating the All-Hazard Mitigation plans to meet the requirements of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.
It is the county’s goal to involve a great variety of people to ensure that key interests and issues are not left out and increase the chance for lasting solutions. Task forces were assembled to represent all participating jurisdictions in both counties to guide the planning. Thanks to all who participated in the plan update processes either by input or direct participation in the local taskforces.
The plan drafts have been submitted by the State to FEMA for their review and input. The plan drafts are available for review on the UMVRDC website as well as local libraries. We encourage you to review them. Engagement across all jurisdictions is important to ensure full and complete public input as the plans are under final review by FEMA and prepared for formal adoption by each jurisdiction. Please contact Kirk Bustrom at the UMVRDC, firstname.lastname@example.org or (320) 289-1981 ext.111, with questions or additional input.
Mark your calendars!
December 24: UMVRDC office closed at noon for Christmas Eve
December 25: UMVRDC office closed for Christmas
January 1: UMVRDC office closed for New Year’s Day
January 28: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting
February 17: UMVRDC office closed for Presidents’ Day
February 25: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting
March 24: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting