UMVRDC Welcomes New Board Member
We are happy to announce our newest board member – Amanda Luepke.
Amanda currently serves as the City Administrator for the city of Clarkfield. Amanda is familiar with the UMVRDC through her position with the city and partnering on various projects together.
Prior to working in Clarkfield, Amanda was the Executive Director for the Nisswa Chamber of Commerce where she was active on several committee’s in Nisswa as well as the Brainerd Lakes area. She currently sits on the Fiscal Future Policy Committee League of MN Cities and is chair of the Cardinal Kids, Inc. She is passionate about housing and child care in our region. Amanda and her family live in Clarkfield.
16th Annual Meander Art Crawl October 4, 5, & 6
The 2019 Meander Art Crawl is just around the corner! The event features 42 local artists displaying at 32 locations throughout the counties of Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Chippewa, and Yellow Medicine. The popular, award-winning Meander is a free, self-guided tour of the artists’ studios and galleries which include painting, photography, jewelry, wood-work, pottery, and much more!
The Meander art studios and galleries will be open Friday, October 4th from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, October 5th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, October 6th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Events on Friday of Meander weekend include a performance by Midwest Music Hall-of-Famers, Don and Lee Kanten at the Watson Town Hall from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Granite Falls Chamber will host a Progressive Dinner on Friday in multiple Granite Falls locations from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
On Saturday of Meander weekend, Dawson Memorial Auditorium will feature International Swedish musicians Anders & Maria Larsson of Malmo and Minnesota Scandinavian folk musician Ross Sutter starting at 7:30 p.m.
Come out and enjoy a great weekend of art while visiting the studios and galleries in the region’s small towns and family farms—the beautiful fall scenery is an added bonus!Meander Brochure Meander Website
Madison Arts Council Receives Funding for Public Art
A volunteer group in Madison has been working the last few years to bring public art to their town. Recently, they hired the UMVRDC to provide grant writing and project coordination, including writing Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC) grants. They received a planning grant from the SMAC to help them solicit artists and develop designs for them to choose from.
From that process, they found artist Tim Adams who designed Biome, a light-based sculpture to be located at the corner of Hwy 40 and 75 in Madison. The Madison Arts Council just learned that Biome was funded by a $25,000 SMAC grant, along with local fundraising efforts, the project will be able to be completed over the next 6 months.
Community members interested in learning more about public art projects can contact Kristi Fernholz, Senior Planner at the UMVRDC at 320-289-1981×106 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montevideo Continues Downtown Beautification
Public art can not only be fun, but it can transform spaces. Montevideo Arts Project (MAP) just added its fourth public art project which has created a corridor of public art in their downtown, giving people new reasons to visit.
The “River Trail of Montevideo” was finished at the end of August. The 52 cement steps climbing up 30 feet was landscaped with river rock on both sides and a mural was painted on the fronts of the steps by Victoria Fortenberry-Jones, creating a river of color on the stairs. Originally hidden by brush, the brightly painted staircase is now welcoming and attractive and can be seeing from Smith Park.
The MAP committee is made up of local citizens, business owners, city staff, elected officials, and chamber of commerce staff. The mural was painted by Victoria Fortenberry-Jones, an artist and teacher from Maple Grove, and celebrates the natural landscape that shapes Montevideo with the two rivers that flow through town. Funding for the mural was provided by Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC), City of Montevideo, Montevideo Area Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and community donations.
UMVRDC staff helped with the coordination, grant writing and facilitation of this project. The UMVRDC has been working to facilitate public art projects in our region in an effort to assist our local units of governments in creating public art projects that will address needs in their communities, and to access funding available from SMAC for these projects.
Community members interested in learning more about the mural and future projects can contact Kristi Fernholz, Senior Planner at the UMVRDC at 320-289-1981×106 or email@example.com.
Regional Inventory of Property Available for Development
UMVRDC was awarded funding through the U of M Extension’s Sustainable Regional Development Partnership and the Southwest Initiative Foundation to develop an inventory of vacant or underutilized economic development properties for the region.
This project will develop an inventory of vacant and underutilized buildings, and commercial properties in the UMVRDC region. The key to this will be the refinement of a data gathering methodology for gathering information about these buildings/properties. This inventory will quantify the number of vacant commercial buildings/properties, ask community leaders to estimate their physical condition, provide site selector information like utility service, taxes, access, etc. and document any known plans for redevelopment. The information will also be used to inform regional economic development planning efforts in part by development of a template for information on developable properties.
The resulting fact sheets would be used by our communities to market the property for development or it could be used as a basis for the community to develop the property themselves, as well as provision of site selection information added to city websites, LOIS, UMVRDC “Get Rural”, MN DEED database(s) and marketing for development of Opportunity Zone projects.
A second phase of the project will be to work with U of M architectural design students to develop design concepts for a select number of properties to provide some visioning of potential development outcomes. The timeline for the project’s development and completion is August through December 2019 with the possibility for some of the concept design visioning carrying over in to early 2020.
Questions? Contact Kirk Bustrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-289-1981 x 111.
Granite Falls EDA Wins Award for Opportunity Zone Project
The UMVRDC was asked to author an Opportunity Zone Project Plan for redevelopment of the former Marr Building in Granite Falls and submit the plan on behalf of the Granite Falls EDA to the Community Exchange 2019 Minnesota Opportunity Zone Challenge. The Challenge is intended to foster community engagement, identification and prioritization of the most actionable and impactful projects in Minnesota communities with certified Opportunity Zones and result in actual projects that can utilize MNvest for funding. A project plan portfolio was completed and submitted for the OZ Challenge June 30th. Project representatives made a formal presentation for funding at an event in Minneapolis on September 18th which will be followed by a site visit in October. The project presentation won a Challenge prize of $5,000 to assist in further funding its planning efforts on the project.
The proposed new development plan for the site will be for demolition of currently vacant dilapidated site structures and construction of a five million-dollar, 10,000-12,000 square foot, three-story, mixed-use building. The first floor will consist of retail/commercial storefronts. The upper two levels will consist of units available for market-rate housing. Total new residential unit occupancy will be approximately 28 units. With the development of a mixed-use commercial building focusing on apartment rentals on the upper floors, the project will bring a much-needed facelift to the proposed location. In addition, the added foot traffic will support downtown business while the new retail space will provide opportunity for existing businesses and EDA to attract new businesses to the area.
2019 Prairie Waters Annual Gathering
The ideal weather made for a wonderful evening for the 2019 Prairie Waters Annual Gathering at Stone Hill Regional Park on Del Clark Lake. Over 200 guests came out to enjoy the free food, fun activities, camaraderie, fishing, beach volleyball, pontoon rides, door prizes and the beautiful weather. Moberg’s Meat Center provided a delicious pulled pork meat meal, All About Fun’s inflatable slide was a hit, Canby Classic Cinema offered a free movie viewing of Angry Birds 2, and one lucky winner received a lifetime youth fishing license from the Canby Sportsmen’s Club. Thanks to all who contributed to make this event successful and thanks to all who came out to enjoy the evening—it was a great night! See you next year in Lac qui Parle County!
UMVRDC Conducts Annual Meeting Tour in Big Stone County
The 2019 UMVRDC’s annual tour was another success. This year, UMVRDC staff, board, and guests toured the communities of Clinton, Graceville, and Beardsley, seeing and hearing about projects staff have worked on throughout the years.
The tour included stops at Small Cities Development Program projects—both commercial and owner-occupied, Revolving Loan Fund businesses, a Meander Art Crawl studio, as well as hearing from citizens about a variety of topics from broadband impact to housing and infrastructure work.
The day concluded with the UMVRDC business meeting and dinner catered by Headquarters Bar & Grill in Graceville. The UMVRDC has had the privilege of working with these communities and look forward to the continued work to help the region prosper!
Full Tour Recap
New Revolving Loan Fund Businesses
The UMVRDC’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has been busy these last few months with financing three new loans in our region.
Krave Wellness Studio, owned by Krystle Drietz, opened its doors this summer to be able to provide a space for people to obtain their health and fitness goals. In addition to running camps and classes, they also offer spa products. The RLF was able to provide $26,000 in gap financing for the $205,000 project.
In 2017, Josh Bauman, Leon Fokken, and John Keller took a leap and opened their grain handling and servicing business, The Dryer Doctors. The Co-op Credit Union, with committed financing from the UMVRDC’s RLF, funded that project. Just two years later, The Dryer Doctors’ growing business needed additional space. Once again, a UMVRDC loan in the amount of $28,000, was able to assist in the $140,000 real estate and business expansion project in Montevideo.
The historical Carl’s Bakery in Granite Falls has new ownership. Joshua, Randi, and Dale Streblow are continuing the long tradition of the acclaimed bakery. The UMVRDC RLF is proud to provide gap financing for this $285,000 project with the Granite Falls Bank and the Granite Falls EDA. The Streblow family is looking forward to continuing to provide the quality baked goods that Carl’s Bakery is legendary for, along with adding some locally grown products within the store.
The UMVRDC’s RLF provides gap financing for new or expanding business in Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle, Swift, and Yellow Medicine Counties. For additional information, please contact Laura Ostlie at 320-289-1981 x 102 or email@example.com.
Grants Available for Biking and Walking Improvements
On October 1st, 2019 MnDOT will begin accepting Letters of Intent for projects seeking federal Transportation Alternatives funding requiring a 20% local match. Examples of projects eligible for TA funds include projects identified in Safe Routes to Schools plans, trails that serve a transportation purpose, and pedestrian improvements. The deadline for submitting a Letter of Intent is October 31st, 2019. Please visit MnDOT’s Transportation Alternatives website for a complete list of eligible projects, timeline and application guidance.
MACCRAY Looking at Improving Biking and Walking to School Options
The MACCRAY School District is working with the UMVRDC to develop their Safe Routes to School Plan for their school sites in Raymond, Maynard and Clara City. Initial meetings and school campus observations have begun to assess safety around the schools. Over the next few months, data will be collected from parents and students about their willingness and challenges to walking and biking to school.
MnDOT Seeking Input from Residents on Statewide Pedestrian Plan
MnDOT is in the process of gathering input regarding the walking experiences of residents throughout the state. The UMVRDC worked with partner organizations to spread the word about this survey.Take Survey
What is an Intelligent Community?
On Monday, August 19, the UMVRDC helped to host one of four statewide workshops for the Blandin Foundation to showcase the six digital economy indicators from the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The Blandin Foundation has been utilizing the ICF framework in its work with communities across the state in promoting the integration and adoption of broadband. The UMVRDC region used the ICF framework when it served as one the Blandin’s original 11 MN Intelligent Rural Communities project a few years ago.
Blandin is now urging communities to consider completing the ICF benchmarking tool and submitting their application as part of the international competition which compares communities across the globe using the six indicators. The Blandin Foundation is also offering assistance to communities in completing the application. This assistance is available by completing Blandin’s brief Community Broadband Resources Form.
ICF Website ICF Workshop Recording