New Additions to UMVRDC Board
Chad Hoppe joined the board in March. Chad is representing Big Stone County Municipality as a city council member for the city of Graceville. Chad works at Superior Industries in Morris where he has been for seven years. He also works part-time with the Graceville ambulance. Other organizations he is involved with or belongs to is the Big Stone Cancer Group, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and Strides of Hope.
Chad is married with 2 young children. During his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors with his kids swimming or playing golf.
Jim Curtiss represents Chippewa County Municipality as the Mayor of Montevideo. Jim was previously mayor from 1997 thru 2013 and is happy to back in this role. Jim is busy in his community where he served on the Veteran’s Home Project and is involved on several committees such as the planning commission, traffic safety, and others. He and his wife have three grown children and three grandchildren.
Jim was born and raised in Montevideo. He served two tours in Vietnam and then went into the family trucking business. In 1987 Jim became the owner of Trailways Café & Jim’s Texaco until 2016. During his spare time, he and his wife enjoy travelling but when he’s home he loves to walk his dog and work in the yard.
Chuck Swanson joins us as the Upper Sioux Community Tribal Representative. Chuck currently is the Director for the Upper Sioux Community Housing Authority. Chuck has spent the majority of his life living and working in Southwest Minnesota. Originally from the Balaton area, he is a graduate of SMSU. He joins our board with experiences that include financial planning, Community Action Agency, and SW MN Housing Partnership, just to mention a few.
Chuck currently volunteers with area sportsman’s clubs, his church, as well as many community events. During his spare time, he does carpentry work and also owns and rents out properties. He is an avid outdoorsman, so he enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, ATV trips and riding motorcycle. Chuck is married with 3 children. We welcomed Chuck to his first meeting in April.
$1.8 Million New Small Cities Development Grant Funds Coming to the Region!
The communities of Canby, Milan, and Watson received exciting news from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The UMVRDC authored two grant applications for these communities and both awards were announced just recently. In the coming months, UMVRDC staff alongside Prairie Five Community Action Council will be working together to implement the three year grant.
Milan and Watson were part of a dual application that is going to provide rehab to 14 owner occupied homes along with 16 multi-family rental units. Four commercial properties will also receive rehabilitation through this almost $1.1 million project, of which $784,000 is Small Cites Development Program (SCDP) grant funds.
The City of Canby’s upcoming project total over $1.3 million will allow 17 owner occupied homes and 12 commercial businesses to receive needed rehabilitation. The SCDP grant funds total over $1 million will provide a significant amount of impact throughout their community.
If you are interested in learning more about these grant opportunities and how they could benefit your community, please contact a UMVRDC staff members for more information as 2020 applications will be starting soon.
MACCRAY has a Path towards Safe Routes to School
The ability to walk and bike safely continues to be a priority for Minnesotans. The MACCRAY School District (Maynard, Clara City, and Raymond) was recently awarded a planning grant to develop a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program which is aimed to improve safety, reduce traffic, and improve air quality near schools. The grant provides planning expertise and plan development support to schools. The plan will be completed by the UMVRDC and will be completed over the next 12 months.
MACCRAY joins a growing group of school districts with a SRTS program including: Appleton-Milan, Montevideo, Yellow Medicine East, Dawson, Madison, Benson, KMS and Clarkfield.
Kerkhoven Comprehensively Plans for their Future
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 that will help determine the goals and strategies of the comprehensive plan, which is meant to guide the city for the next 20 years (2020 – 2040). A community survey was also recently conducted to get input from the residents of Kerkhoven.
A comprehensive plan serves as a legal basis for land use regulations and it provides guidelines for the city council and decision makers on how best to use city resources. It also gives an opportunity for residents to develop a shared vision for the community. The plan will include information on the past, present, and what it hopes for the future.
New 2019-2020 Prairie Waters Guides are In!
The NEW 2019-2020 Western Minnesota Prairie Waters Visitor & Relocation Guides are in and being delivered to communities throughout the region and posted online. The guides are packed full of things to do and sights to see for the counties of Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine. It is a great resource for visitors, people looking to move to the area, or locals looking to plan a fun weekend. It features community event dates, local attractions, education, healthcare, shopping, dining, and much more! If you are interested in receiving the new guides, contact the UMVRDC. You can also check out the digital guide here.2019-2020 Prairie Waters Guide
Meander Brochures Hot off the Press
The 2019 Meander Art Crawl brochures are hot off the press! The cover art this year was created by Claire Swanson, honoring our 16th year of visiting Artisan Studios. There will be 42 artists participating this year in studios across the five-county area.
The brochures will be available on the Meander website. You can also receive brochures by contacting the UMVRDC office. The 2019 Meander is October 4, 5, & 6, 2019.
Maynard Receives Grant to Preserve Historic Bank Building
The UMVRDC has been assisting the City of Maynard with their historic Maynard State Bank building. Staff wrote and implemented a grant for the building to be placed on the National Register, which was completed in the spring of 2018. An additional $10,000 grant was funded in the spring of 2019 to complete a conditions assessment on the building to help identify how to preserve this important historic building. Both grants were funded by the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS).
Revolving Loan Fund
The UMVRDC’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) provided $100,000 in financing for GoFasters Powersports & Marine in Ortonville, MN. Through this expansion project, GoFasters was able to purchase real estate that could provide more space for their sales and servicing business, along with providing storage space for their customers during the off season. Along with the UMVRDC’s RLF financing, CenBank, the Ortonville EDA, combined with the owner’s equity made this $873,000 project happen. Visit the RLF web page for more information and see if your business qualifies for funds today!
Center for Small Towns Summer Student
The UMVRDC is excited to partner with the University of Minnesota Extension’s Center for Small Towns Program again this summer. Isaiah Chalmers was chosen as the student for this role. He is helping continue to create a positive narrative for rural living by collecting images, interviews, and content for the Prairie Waters program. He is also distributing visitor guides to communities throughout the summer. The new imagery of the region and various community events can be accessed by Prairie Waters member communities through Dropbox and downloaded to be utilized on local websites and other marketing materials. The UMVRDC is grateful for the continued partnership with the University to help capture the region!