Archived Story

Group bringing BL together

Published 10:57am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A new group that came together in February has residents all over the Battle Lake area working together toward a common goal of benefiting the community.

Network Battle Lake is an informal group that formed as a way to bring together businesses and organizations throughout the area to work on projects that will benefit Battle Lake and the surrounding communities. It is similar to the Forward Fergus Falls organization, said Reba Gilliand, one of the group’s founders.

“It’s not actually an organization, and it’s not here to replace any organization,” Gilliand said. “Once a week we get together with a list of ideas that people have thrown out, and we decide what we have energy around and what we have time for. If nobody else is working on something and we think it would benefit Battle Lake, we break up into subcommittees and work on it.”

There are a lot of organizations in the area and people tend to get busy doing their own thing. Network Battle Lake is important because it creates some synergy for doing things together and collaborating, said Gilliand.

The group doesn’t have a chairperson or executive board. The three main roles of recorder, facilitator and information communicator rotate every three months.

“It’s really not a structured group,” Gilliand said. “We made sure to set it up like that.”

More than 100 attended the group’s Celebrate Battle Lake event in June, and now they are working on two big projects: The 3/50 Campaign and Battle Lake’s 125-year anniversary.

“The 3/50 Campaign is a national campaign we picked up on,” Gilliand said. “The idea is for small communities to help support their local businesses. Think about three businesses you would really miss if they closed down, and make a commitment to spend $50 each month to support them.”

Another way the group is helping to support local businesses is through “cash mobs.” Area community members are asked to visit a specific business at a specific time and spend some money. The next cash mob is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 20 at Guzzlers on Otter Tail Lake.

The group meets every Thursday morning from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., and there is usually an attendance of about 20. Representatives from businesses and area organizations attend, and even mayor Chuck Reeve and superintendent Jeff Drake have become regulars.

All are welcome to attend meetings and provide input. More information about the group can be found at

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