GRANT COUNTY GrOwing into the Future [UPDATED]Published 12:55pm Thursday, February 7, 2013 Updated 12:56pm Thursday, February 7, 2013
Prior to formation of the group, the Ashby Economic Development Authority had discussed the idea of developing some sort of Grant County EDA in January of 2011. Val Martin was at an informational meeting at West Central Initiative and happened to meet and sit next to Christy Johnson from the City of Herman. They discussed the idea of the Grant County group – Christy had also been thinking on the same lines. An initial meeting was held in Ashby with members from each community in Grant County invited to attend. From there, a few of these community members approached the Grant County Commissioners for support and to ask one of them to serve on this group as a representative. Another meeting was held in Herman with more representatives from each community and the county present. Dale Umlauf from West Central Initiative was asked to facilitate. From that meeting, it was decided to apply for the grant through West Central Initiative. The group was successful in the grant application and Cindy Bigger was hired as facilitator. The next step was to choose a name for the group. It became “GrOw Grant County.” The “O” in Grow is intentionally left large. We will continue to GO and Grow as a group for the greater good of each of our communities and more specifically, the county as a whole.
The facilitation process began with each community having up to 3 members participating. Those participating – Ashby: Val Martin, George Jordan and Trent Froemming; Barrett: Les Alvstad and Todd Lang; Elbow Lake: Anne O’Flynn, Stuart Anderson and Gene Wenstrom; Herman: Christy Johnson and Dan Ellison; Hoffman: Muriel Krusemark, Kevin Hammer and Pat Lawson; Wendell: Bob Aune, Tessa Rude and MaryJo Knutson; Grant County: Tom Amundson and Jim Standish; West Central Initiative: Greg Wagner. These members represent many areas of each community including city/county government, economic development, and private business. Many ideas came from the first few sessions and the balance of the sessions were spent on “narrowing down the list.” The facilitation sessions have been completed and goals were set. The specific action plan includes setting up sub-committees to work on four areas which include specific goals These sub-committees will be comprised of members of the core group along with other community members recruited throughout the County.Business Retention and Expansion
• Goal 1: A point person on the county level that has a community economic development focus.
• Goal 2: Business leader’s round table to come together to explore needs, ideas and future.
• Goal 3: Market area profile – possibly work with U of M Extension Office.
• Goal 4: Review and adopt policy on economic tax abatement for retail property.
County Wide Assessment
• Goal 1: Survey communities about infrastructure, housing, labor force, commuters, etc.
• Goal 1: Conduct a health care inventory of facilities, pharmacies, emergency services, clinics, etc. to use in marketing and attracting families.
Grant County Marketing
• Goal 1: Develop a brochure to market Grant County.
• Goal 2: Develop a website for Grant County as a portal for all things Grant County.
• Goal 3: Community Profiles
The GrOw Grant County core group will continue to act as the executive committee and meet quarterly. Sub-committees will meet in between time and will find the champions to do and/or lead in getting the goal(s) done. As one of our committee members stated, “The true success of the group will be determined if we are still meeting years down the road.”