Summerfest planning could use your help

The Summerfest planning committee wants your input! Please join members of the planning committee at the Spot, Thursday, November 30 for this idea gathering opportunity.

More Information


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May 6, 2016 Meeting Minutes


Megan Shubitz, Mary Matteson, Laurie Mullen, Tim Erickson, Hal Leland, Greg Wagner, Rick Schara, Scott Norton, Ryan Mille


Greg Wagner welcomed those in attendance and asked for everyone to introduce themselves to the group.

Driver Updates

1.Amy Baldwin was not in attendance to provide an update for the business and workforce development driver.

Rick noted that M State will start offering scholarships for single mothers. Other programs will be discussed at the upcoming Workforce Solutions Summit.

Greg mentioned that a Chamber of Commerce workforce committee has talked with M State to develop a mentorship program.

Rick attended a meeting in Brainerd where an apprenticeship program with healthcare and manufacturing was discussed.

Mary asked about new legislation for the Worker Economic Opportunity Act.

Mary also mentioned major changes to the Career Expo. Seniors will be off campus with the hopes of integrating students into the community and visit places on site

2. Ryan passed around a library handout.

Mayor Leland mentioned that major milestones are coming and preparing for a referendum will take every group and voice to get it done. In the meantime, the fundraising team will need to get their work done.

3. Greg mentioned that the contact for the family oriented activities driver is still vacant, however, a group is meeting quietly in order to not jump the library project.

Laurie mentioned that someone has asked about the K-Mart facility for a potential aquatic center.

4. Ryan read an update provided by Jean Bowman, who was not in attendance. The Blandin Community Leadership Program has approved another Fergus Falls class. The class will occur February 27 – March 3, 2017. The leadership committee will start recruiting this summer for the twenty-four spots in the class. The committee is cleaning up the contact list of Blandin grads. A reunion social will take place May 18, 5 pm at the Spot for past grads. The leadership committee will be raising awareness of upcoming elected open spots on the City Council and School Board

5. Laurie stated there is good news for riverfront development. The City is moving forward with purchasing the dairy property. An RFP is out. Ryan mentioned that the RFP has now closed. Regarding the RTC, all information from an RFP and marketing campaign by Colliers should be ready by December.

Summerfest will be June 10-11. Volunteers are being sought to help with activities for 10-13 year olds.

The annual classic car show will be August 7.

The Kirkbride Arts and Culture weekend will be September 16-18.

Mayor Leland detailed the Kirkbride RFP. All projects are dependent on action by the State Legislature who must come up with a bonding bill.

Ryan mentioned the new Shop, Move n’ Groove event will take place in Downtown Fergus Falls on Wednesday, July 13 from 3-7 pm.

Laurie stated that Goldmark Schlossman has completed work on the old Catholic Charities building and are now working on more of the old brick buildings.

Laurie is attending a “Hackathon” event that follows the Leonardo’s Basement program. Laurie also discussed the Makers Fair that was held for the first time last year. The Makers Fair allows space for people of all ages to show what they have built.

Laurie asked who is covering for Brad Brzezinski now that he has moved on from our region. Rick mentioned he is still the contact until someone else is hired.

Community Celebration – June 16, 2016

West Central Initiative is running reservations, which is now live. Ryan will be sending emails with the reservation information. Volunteers are still being sought.

Laurie asked what drivers will be highlighted and mentioned that the RTC should be added to the list highlighted.

Rick Schara was volunteered to MC again this year.

Mary stated that they usually put inserts for the Community Celebration in student’s backpacks going home for the summer.

2016 Fall Meetings – Time & Location

The preference is to continue with the Friday at Noon time moving forward, however the current location is not working very well.

Mayor Leland suggested to look into meeting at the Kaddatz Gallery meeting space in back. Laurie mentioned there may be a fee for that space.

Greg mentioned that the preference would be to keep meeting downtown but West Central Initiative could provide the meeting space as well. Greg also mentioned the Police Station.

Rick mentioned that the workforce center has meeting space in back as well.

Mary mentioned that the Community Ed offices have a meeting room but that it is not very private.

Laurie also mentioned Legacy Hall and the Airport.

Other/Community Updates

Rick stated that fundraising for the disc golf course is open. A one-time sponsorship of $500 is available to sponsor a hole.

Laurie asked if disc golf could be done with portable holes at the RTC as an activity for Summerfest.

Greg noted that the first concrete pour took place for the updated Veterans Memorial.

Laurie asked what the community would like to see done with the vacant K-Mart facility. There have a few possibilities turned down because the potential uses were not appealing.

Mary mentioned that lifeguard training is on-going.

Rick asked if there was an “R U New Here” event. Mary advised there was. Rick stated he would like some handouts for the next event to handout at the workforce center.

Scott mentioned that Century 21 has provide tours for new people and visitors to sell the community.

Rick stated that the new casino will have 500 employees and some may live in/move to Fergus Falls.

Laurie had two different people come to Fergus Falls wanting to move out of the Twin Cities.

Mayor Leland stated we need to continue to be friendlier.

Next meeting – Community Celebration, June 16, 7:00 am, M State Legacy Hall

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April 1, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Attendance: Tim Erickson, Angela Fiedler, Dennis Lipp, Erin Smith, Stephanie Goerger Sandahl, Tim Worner, Amy Baldwin, Ed Morgan, Hal Leland, Lynette Mulgrew, Lisa Workman, Jean Bowman, Ryan Miler, Mary Matteson, Sandy King, Megan Shubitz

  1. Welcome

Dennis Lipp welcomed those in attendance and asked for everyone to introduce themselves to the group.

  1. Federated Church Presentation; Rev. Ed Morgan

Lipp welcomed Rev. Morgan, who explained that the Federated Church is beginning a visioning process and would like some help figuring out how people identify the Church.  The goal of the visioning process is to:

  • Develop five priorities for work over the next few years
  • Be responsive to the community
  • Identify ten community leaders

Rev. Morgan asked attendees what comes to mind when they hear Federated Church.  Responses included:

  • Traditional
  • Not familiar with the church because there are so many churches
  • Good people
  • Good family church
  • Physical (prominent location, visibility)
  • Bill Van Dyk (community minded spirit)

Mr. Morgan noted that he was previously on an economic development board for a large Pennsylvania town and is wondering what the church could provide to help.  Suggestions included:

  • Childcare services (childcare center)
  • Help connect with the underserved (underemployed)

Mr. Morgan noted the greater diversity in Fergus Falls since the time he left sixteen years ago.  He asked if churches are coordinating with one another enough.  Angela Fiedler mentioned that there is hope for greater coordination among churches for this year’s Apostle Build (Habitat for Humanity).  Lisa Workman mentioned that churches as a whole help grow the roots in the community as new people come to town and establish themselves.  Jean Bowman mentioned that Fergus Falls rated highly in the “Faith” dimension, one of the eight dimensions of a healthy community according to the Blandin Community Leadership program.

Mr. Morgan asked if the immigrant population is being served.  Mary Matteson mentioned that Community Education offers English as a Second Language programs.  Erin Smith mentioned the Public Library’s programming.  Lipp mentioned that the YMCA is becoming more diverse but there is room for even greater diversity.  Bowman mentioned there is a need for more communication and PR.

  1. Driver Updates

Amy Baldwin mentioned that she will be convening a group soon to discuss economic development and workforce development topics such as childcare and a business incubator.  Anyone interested in joining the group can contact Amy (

Smith brought an updated informational handout regarding the Library Renewal project.  A City Council work session on Monday, April 4 at 4:30 is open to the public and will provide a more detailed update on the design and cost estimate.  Stephanie Goerger Sandahl mentioned that she is working to organize a leadership committee to help prepare for a future referendum.  They are in the initial steps of planning for this and anyone interested in helping can contact Stephanie ( or Erin (

Tuesday April 5 is the annual Friends of the Library meeting.  The meeting is a chance to see what they have done over the past year.  A new logo will be unveiled at the event.

Baldwin mentioned that a small committee has been set up to start the conversation on family and aquatic amenities.  The committee will be looking at where they need to start with consideration to other on-going projects.  They will meet April 12.

Jean and Lisa will hold the first meeting of the leadership group on April 8 at 1:00 pm.  An email will be sent inviting anyone interested to attend.  Rev. Morgan asked if there has ever been a “Community Leadership Conference.”  Bowman mentioned that there used to be something like that prior to the Blandin leadership program development.  Bowman mentioned that there is interest in doing a new/refresher course through Blandin.

Baldwin mentioned that there is no group at this point for the Downtown Development driver.  There is a Downtown Council group that has been meeting.  An RFQ is in the works to gather qualified applicants for developing a Downtown and riverfront “master plan.”

  1. Community Celebration

Lipp mentioned the date has been set for the Forward Fergus Falls Community Celebration.  The event will be June 16, 7:30 – 9:00 AM at M State, Legacy Hall.  Baldwin mentioned that the Economic Improvement Commission serves as the fiscal host for Forward Fergus Falls and therefore has some funds available for the event, however, volunteers are needed to help plan this year’s event.  Bowman and Matteson offered to volunteer.

  1. Other/Community Updates
  • Workman handed out a save-the-date for Shop, Move n’ Groove. The new downtown event will be Wednesday, July 13 from 3:00 – 7:00 in Downtown.  There is a planning committee for the event and they are open to anyone who has ideas or wants to participate.  Workman also handed out a Chamber of Commerce calendar.
  • Ryan Miller mentioned there will be a Spring Clean-up sponsored by Kiwanis on Saturday, April 2 from 9:00 – Noon. Volunteers can meet at City Hall and they hope to work on the Riverwalk, Wright Park and Lake Alice.  Gloves and bags will be provided.
  • Angela Fiedler mentioned that United Way of Otter Tail County’s Day of Caring will be June 14 from 8:00 am – Noon. Volunteers can register on United Way’s website.
  • Bowman mentioned that MS TRAM will be July 21.
  • Lipp mentioned that the Manitoba Habitat for Humanity will be stopping in Fergus Falls in July also as part of a bike-athon. The YMCA is offering about fifty free swimming lessons for this summer.
  • Matteson mentioned that an R U New Here event will be held at the Community Ed Center on April 23 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM.
  • Sandy King mentioned that a Workforce Solutions Summit will be held at the Bigwood Event Center on May 12. To register please visit the West Central Initiative website.
  • Mayor Leland mentioned that there will be a 30 Days of Biking challenge between Fergus Falls and Little Falls. A kick-off event will be held by the Otter at 5:30 (Friday, April 1.)
  • Workman mentioned that the Chamber is hosting a Club 505 event that will include a meet and greet with the new City Administrator, Andrew Bremseth.

Next meeting – May 6 at Keller Williams Realty Office (lower level meeting room)

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March 4, 2016 Meeting Minutes


Greg Wagner, Amy Baldwin, Cathy Lindquist, Luella Fraser, Erin Smith, Angela Fielder, Allan Schroden, Ryan Miller, Jerry Ness

  1. Welcome

Erin Smith welcomed those in attendance and asked for introductions.

Cathy Lindquist passed around a handout for the Workplace Trilogy series.  The lunch and learn series will take place April 6 from 8:30 – 11:30 at West Central Initiative and focus on the legalities of time, money and social media for employers.  Cathy also mentioned that the minimum wage will increase to $9.50 on August 1, 2016.

Greg Wagner mentioned that the new Vice President of Operations at West Central Initiative will be Shannon Snell.  Shannon has an extensive background in manufacturing and human resources.

  1. Community Updates

Amy Baldwin began with an update on the “Ongoing support and efforts help establish a healthy, vibrant business and workforce environment” driver.  Baldwin mentioned that the committee has not met recently however there are a few initiatives in development that relate to the driver.

A Workforce Solutions Summit has been planned to provide a business to business event where a number of employers will have a forum for discussing successful strategies and programs for employee recruitment and retention.  The summit will be held on May 12 at the Bigwood Event Center.

The Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission is partnering with Otter Tail County who is applying for a competitive workforce grant through West Central Initiative Foundation.  The application will help fund a county-wide initiative with a Fergus Falls focus.  The “Otter Tail County Rural Rebound Initiative” will have three primary goals:

  • Recruiting workers with needed skills in the region with a particular emphasis on the rural rebound population.
  • Facilitating the cooperative exchange of information and regional collaboration to enhance and encourage labor force development and economic growth in Otter Tail County
  • Develop a nationally recognized Institute for Rural Youth Leadership

Baldwin mentioned that other funding matches are being sought in addition to the West Central Initiative grant including potential funds from the Bremer Foundation and USDA.

Erin Smith provided an update on the Library Renewal Project.  Smith handed out a project brochure that included the most recent designs, schematics, FAQs, and facts.  Smith mentioned that the next phase of the project is the design development phase.  The latest design proposal will be presented at the first City Council meeting in April.  The hope is that construction would begin in the summer of 2017 if everything remains on track.

Smith also mentioned the new seed library hosted by the public library.  The seed library allows people to pick out up to five packets of seeds that have been given to the library and return new or unused seeds.  The seeds are mostly vegetables with a few flowers and include heir loom seeds.

Angela Fiedler discussed the family oriented/aquatic facility driver.  Fielder met with Bridget Leonard about the possible project.  Leonard has received copies of a plan done for Parkers Prairie to use as a reference for the early planning stages.  A champion that can lead this driver has yet to be indetified.

Fiedler mentioned that the Fergus Falls Area Community Foundation was presented the idea of supporting this project and there was some interest in possibly helping support any initial planning costs.  A grant opportunity for this funding would be opening in March.  Fiedler mentioned that there was some concern about interfering with the Library Renewal Project. It was mentioned to Fiedler that a feasibility study may have been done in 2012 or 2103.

No update was provided from Lisa Workman and Jean Bowman who were both absent.

Baldwin briefly discussed the downtown/riverfront driver.  A group that has been meeting regarding downtown and riverfront development has recently completed some initial visioning efforts.  These efforts have helped frame priorities.  The group has become more organized and an implementation framework will now need to be developed to implement the visioning efforts.  Negotiations continue regarding the dairy property along with the property to the west along the river.

  1. Group Updates

Dennis Lipp handed out a LiveWell Fergus Falls update sheet that included a new logo and committee goal list.

Allan Schoden provided an update on the North Country Trail.  A new local chapter of the association was approved.  A group of 12-16 people continue to meet every second Wednesday from 5 pm – 7 pm to discuss ideas.  A guest speaker will be attending the March 10 meeting from 6 pm – 7pm at the Spot Panini & Wine.  Lowell Deede, who has walked every mile of public road in Becker County, will be the guest speaker.  A chapter kick-off event will be held at Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in April.  An Eagle Scout has volunteered to help with a challenging portion of the proposed trail near the Otter Tail River.

Jerry Ness mentioned that he has been to a lot of workforce related meetings.  Ness is working to help align students into the right path for local careers if that is what they would like to do.

Baldwin presented the new Fergus Falls Visitors Guide.  This was developed by the Fergus Falls EIC, Chamber of Commerce and CVB and focuses on pitching Fergus Falls as the best place to move to.

Baldwin mentioned that Wednesday, March 16 is the Business Summit.  Ben Winchester from the U of M Extension will be presenting on the “Rural Brain Gain”

  1. Other

Those in attendance wished Cathy Lindquist good luck in her new position.  This will be Lindquist’s final Forward Fergus Falls meeting as she will be transitioning out of her position with the SBDC and into a new marketing role with Moore Engineering out of the West Fargo location

The new Fergus Falls City Administrator should be starting by the end of March assuming the contract is approved at the 3/7 City Council meeting.

Next meeting – April 1 at Keller Williams Realty Office (lower level meeting room)

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February 5, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Attendance: Mary Pettit, Greg Wagner, John Hansen, Mary Matteson, Amy Baldwin, Megan Shubitz, Rod Spidahl, Jean Bowman, Jerry Ness, Erin Smith, Rick Schara, Ryan Miller


As the meeting began there was discussion around WCCO’s Goin’ To The Frozen Lake visit to Fergus Falls. The community had a great showing on the first day of WCCO’s visit. In addition to broadcasting live from Lake Alice during the 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock news, WCCO’s Chris Shaffer and Frank Vascellaro toured the community and recorded a number of videos highlighting Fergus Falls.
Follow the link below for WCCO’s full story, along with each video segment. 

Amy Baldwin welcomed attendees and reviewed the Agenda.

Review 2016 Priority Destiny Drivers.
Baldwin recapped the January All Stewards meeting that included a prioritization of Destiny Drivers for 2016.  The priority drivers include:

– Ongoing support and efforts help establish a healthy, vibrant business and workforce environment.
– Support continued efforts to engage the community in a discussion of the library’s expansion and funding.
– The development of family oriented activities/aquatic facility enhances community livability.
– Leadership growth continues in Fergus Falls with new and renewed leadership development and participation.
– Help promote the preservation and enhancement of our historic downtown and riverfront.

Baldwin mentioned that the remaining Destiny Drivers are still a part of the full list, however, these have been identified as priorities to push in 2016.

There was further discussion on the family oriented activities driver. Rod Spidahl mentioned that there may already be some efforts associated with this driver that a Forward Fergus Falls committee could collaborate with. Baldwin also noted that many people are “jazzed” about this destiny driver and while developing a committee will be no problem, a champion has yet to be identified.

Spidahl mentioned that the downtown and riverfront driver could incorporate many elements, such as efforts around the North Country Trail and offered to join the driver’s committee.

Anyone else interested in volunteering to join or lead a driver committee can contact Amy Baldwin or Ryan Miller at any time.

Committee Goal Setting.
Baldwin introduced the SMART goal setting concept. SMART goal setting is intended to help facilitate a committee’s development, organization, and implementation of goals. This process should help committees focus on and progress towards achieving the destiny described in their driver.

Megan Shubitz, Rich Schara, and Rod Spidahl offered to help facilitate the SMART goal process by working with Destiny Driver committees to set up and implement their goals.  To help, a SMART Goal worksheet was handed out to all in attendance.

Going forward, each committee will present any updates that they have at monthly All Stewards meetings.

The group discussed the need to get leadership within the community working together.  Most who attend Forward Fergus Falls have traditionally attended through work, however, there are other leaders in the community that could provide extra leadership to the group.

Attendees discussed the history of Blandin leaders in the community. Around seventy-five individuals in Fergus Falls have completed the Blandin Community Leadership Program that teaches the eight dimensions of a healthy community (Life-Long Learning, Economic Opportunity, Infrastructure and Services, Environmental Stewardship, Community Leadership, Safety and Security, Spiritual, Recreational, and Artistic Opportunities, and Inclusion.)  Jerry Ness mentioned that a part of the training process is to identify individual ways to be leaders in the community and those who have completed the training should continue taking ownership in their role as leaders.

Group Updates.
Erin Smith provided an update on the Library Renewal Project. A second open house took place on January 28th.  Around one-hundred people attended and walked through the current Library. The presentation posters are still up for those that want to stop in and check them out.  Stephanie Goerger Sandahl was not able to make this month’s Forward Fergus Falls meeting but will try to provide an update in March.

All Stewards meeting minutes will now be emailed through Mail Chimp. This will help better manage the Forward Fergus Falls email distribution list by monitoring and promoting engagement.

Smith passed around a flyer for Frostbite Festival.  The flyer can also be found online at the Chamber’s website here.

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January 8, 2016 Meeting Minutes

Attendance: Jean Bowman, Dennis Lipp, Stephanie Gorger Sandahl, Erin Smith, Mary Matteson, John Hansen, Laurie Mullen, Sandy King, Jean McKenzie, Darren Kvein, Amy Baldwin, Jerry Ness, Jason Bergstrand, Cathy Lindquist, Megan Shubitz, Lisa Workman, Ryan Miller

  1. Welcome

Amy Baldwin welcomed everyone to the first Forward Fergus Falls All-Stewards meeting of 2016.  Attendees introduced themselves around the table.

  1. Overview of Forward Fergus Falls

Jean Bowman provided a brief background of the Forward Fergus Falls organization.  Forward Fergus Falls started as an outcropping of the Blandin Foundation’s Community Leadership Program.  In 2008, the first group of community leaders, consisting of twelve men and twelve women, took the Blandin leadership training course.  The course focused on teaching community strengths such as safety, education, community health, and community growth.)  Two other groups eventually took the training course.  In total, seventy-two people were trained through the Blanding program.  At this point it was decided that there needed to be a way to work together to start administering the ideas and strategies learned through the training.

Jerry Ness mentioned that the Forward Fergus Falls group now meets monthly in order to continue the momentum gained through the early interest and efforts in community leadership and growth.

Baldwin mentioned that everyone in the community is a part of creating the shared destiny.  Our shared destiny is “Fergus Falls, a beautiful river city, leads West Central Minnesota in health services, business growth, learning and the arts.”  The goal of Forward Fergus Falls is to figure out how to create a call for action to support the drivers.

  1. Determine 2016 Priority Destiny Drivers and Champion

Baldwin mentioned that the current Destiny Drivers were last updated in 2014.  A community survey was sent out after the community celebration last June.  The results of the community survey helped identify what has been successful and what is still important to Forward Fergus Falls.

Baldwin read each of the current drivers before asking attendees to vote on their current priority drivers.  The current drivers include:

  • Ongoing support and efforts help establish a healthy, vibrant business and workforce environment.
  • Support continued efforts to engage the community in a discussion of the library’s expansion and funding.
  • The development of family oriented activities / aquatic facility enhances community livability.
  • Leadership growth continues in Fergus Falls with new and renewed leadership development and participation.
  • Help promote the preservation and enhancement of our historic downtown and riverfront.
  • Continue to be engaged in the process to preserve and repurpose the RTC.
  • Become leader in community education excellence.
  • Support continued River Walk enhancement and North Country Trail development efforts.
  • Fergus Falls becomes one of the healthiest communities in Minnesota.
  • Promote “being green” through a series of dynamic, fun, and educational environmentally-themed events.
  • Be a champion for community groups working on Community Acceptance & Inclusion.

The drivers were printed on a large poster and each attendee was given two dot stickers and asked to use their two dots to vote on priority drivers.  Attendees could either place two dots on one very important driver or one dot on two equally important drivers.

While the voting took place, the group discussed a few of the drivers.

Ness mentioned that as a whole, the drivers and opportunities through Forward Fergus Falls should be communicated to Fergus Falls area students in order to help show local students the opportunities in front of them right here in Fergus Falls.

Sandy King talked about the Riverwalk driver.  The driver was a high priority in the past and positive results came from that prioritization.  Signage and promotion helped increase the Riverwalk’s usage, which then resulted in an improvement of active living.  Work on this driver has dropped off because the group has done all they can without a larger entity taking this to the next step.

Laurie Mullen updated work being done on the RTC driver.  Summerfest will now be hosting activities on the RTC campus.  The green space in front of the main building has now been designated a city park.  The group is working with the City and Stantech on preservation including mothballing and efforts to extend state bonding.  The group is also working on placemaking strategies for the campus.

The healthy community initiative still meets and individuals within the group have goals that are prioritized.  Most recently, Dennis Lipp has been working on healthy food/cooking programs at the YMCA.

Erin Smith provided an update on the Library.  Right now there has been a big push to figure out what the community wants.  The focus will start to shift to fund raising and legislative efforts.  Help is currently needed with public relations, education, financing research, and volunteering.  Smith provided a sign-up sheet for those interested in learning more about the library project.

A new driver was added based on results from the community survey.  Baldwin and Bowman explained how this driver came about.  There was a lot of discussion that more family oriented activities are needed in the community and one prospective project is a water amenity such as a splash pad.  Because there was so much interest, a new driver was established.  A champion is now needed to lead those efforts.

After all attendees voted, the results were as follows.

(12) Ongoing support and efforts help establish a healthy, vibrant business and workforce environment.

(7) Support continued efforts to engage the community in a discussion of the library’s expansion and   funding.

(5) The development of family oriented activities / aquatic facility enhances community livability.

(3) Leadership growth continues in Fergus Falls with new and renewed leadership development and participation.

(1) Help promote the preservation and enhancement of our historic downtown and riverfront.

Baldwin reiterated that we will still continue on all drivers, however, this vote will help prioritize focus and encourage champions to push forward on high priority drivers. Therefore, Baldwin mentioned that champions will be needed for each driver.

  • Ongoing support and efforts help establish a healthy, vibrant business and workforce environment.
    • Amy Baldwin
  • Support continued efforts to engage the community in a discussion of the library’s expansion and funding.
    • Erin Smith and Stephanie Goeger Sandahl
  • The development of family oriented activities / aquatic facility enhances community livability.
    • No driver identified as of yet
  • Leadership growth continues in Fergus Falls with new and renewed leadership development and participation.
    • Lisa Workman and Jean Bowman
  • Help promote the preservation and enhancement of our historic downtown and riverfront.
    • Laurie Mullen and Amy Baldwin
  • Continue to be engaged in the process to preserve and repurpose the RTC.
    • Laurie Mullen
  • Become leader in community education excellence.
    • Jerry Ness
  • Support continued River Walk enhancement and North Country Trail development efforts.
  • Fergus Falls becomes one of the healthiest communities in Minnesota.
    • Larry Schulz
  • Promote “being green” through a series of dynamic, fun, and educational environmentally-themed events.
    • No driver identified as of yet
  • Be a champion for community groups working on Community Acceptance & Inclusion.
    • No driver identified as of yet

Baldwin mentioned that anyone who wants to volunteer for specific drivers or has suggestions for potential volunteers to contact herself or Ryan Miller.

  1. Review monthly all-stewards meeting focus

With other changes occurring to Forward Fergus Falls meetings (time and location), Baldwin mentioned now is also a good time to re-prioritize the focus of monthly meetings.  The group has already helped re-prioritize destiny drivers and now we could look at how adjusting the monthly meeting format could help groups focus on goal setting and meeting those goals.  Baldwin mentioned that we will send out a mini survey again in May to determine how the new meeting time, location, and format has been received at that time.

  1. Other

Jean McKenzie presented an issue of needing to improve transit services in Fergus Falls.  McKenzie specifically addressed the group on past efforts that were unsuccessful in attracting Executive Express to add service from Fergus Falls to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  McKenzie felt strongly that this service would be highly utilized.  Workman and Bowman mentioned that past research has been done and the results determined that Executive Express service to Fergus Falls was not economically feasible.  Miller will try to locate some of the past research.

Next Forward Fergus Falls meeting:

Friday, February 5, 2016 – Noon – Keller Williams Realty Office

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December 3, 2015 Meeting Minutes

All Stewards Meeting—December 3, 2015, 7 a.m.

Attending: Allan Schroder, Hal Leland, Mary Matteson, Rick Schara, Erin Smith, Greg Wagner, Amy Baldwin, Ryan Miller, Warren Low, Larry Schulz

Amy Baldwin welcomed those in attendance and asked to begin with introductions.

Library Renewal Project

The meeting began with an update on the Library Renewal project.  Erin Smith distributed materials containing an updated schematic design, project cost estimate and FAQ sheet.  Highlights noted oi the schematic design include: expanded children’s area with a large early learning activity and programming room, more lounge seating around a fireplace and near windows, six flexible meeting/study rooms or various sizes/capacity, 100 person multi-purpose room, increased number of computer stations with a technology instruction area, expanded teen section with more seating and computer stations, expanded staff work areas and larger, more accessible restrooms, including a family restroom.

The next phase is design development phase that will provide a final project cost.  Smith mentioned that the City Council has resolved to move forward with a sales tax referendum to be used as part of the financing.  Warren Low mentioned that he has been helping the library through the planning process and explained his background with the project and why the library is important to the City of Fergus Falls.  Low also mentioned that the West Central Initiative Foundation is helping the library with their donation fund by hosting the donation fund as an intermediary partner.

Larry Schulz mentioned how well the process has been led by Smith and the Advisory Board and wished them well on the rest of the process.  Mayor Hal Leland talked about the referendum process for sales tax portion of funding.  Leland mentioned that the financing has to be approved by the public and the legislature and therefore the project plan must be rock-solid in order for approval by both.  Schulz and Leland mentioned that continued help and promotion for the project will still be needed to ensure the project is approved and completed.

Healthy Community Initiative

Larry Schulz provided an update on the healthy community initiative derived from the destiny driver to “Become Minnesota leader in spiritual, behavioral and physical health.”  Schulz mentioned that their initiative has 9 goals and handed out a sheet with details on the goals.  Schulz provided brief updates on each goal.

  1. Increase number of community garden adult volunteer groups from 6 to 12 and the number of youth volunteer groups from 7 to 10 by May 15, 2016.

Update: More volunteers are still needed.  There have been many repeat volunteers.

  1. Increase number of Fergus Falls participants in the healthy restaurant initiative from 2 to 5 by December 31, 2015.

Update: The Lake Region Healthcare cafeteria has offered to be a pilot for this initiative and will offer healthy alternatives.

  1. Launch “Streets Alive” during summer 2016.

Update: Working with “Shop, Move and Groove” event to combine retail, fun and active living during the 2016 summer downtown event.

  1. Have 3 additional Fergus Falls businesses apply for bike friendly business designation or advance to next level.

Update: Fergus Falls has been designated as a Bronze level bike friendly community.

  1. Lifestyle Medicine goals (by September 2016):
    1. 60 patients (5 patients a month) – referred and attend the first two complimentary 30 minute sessions
      1. From those 60 patients, 60% (36 patients) engage in the programs beyond the first two appointments
      2. From those 36 patients, 40% (24 patients) engage long term in our programs and/or alternate community programs
    2. Create and implement a pre/post evaluation tool that incorporates the 7 components of Wellness
      1. This would be used for those clients that complete the discounted 10 session package in addition to the first two complimentary appointments
    3. Collaborate with an OTCPH or LRH Dietician and incorporate 1 visit for each referral
  2. Develop “Live Well Fergus Falls” branding strategy by May 15, 2016.

Update: Schulz provided drafts of branding logos that have been designed.

  1. Complete Fergus Falls loop of North Country Trail by June 4, 2016.

Update: Allen Schroder provided an update on the North Country Trail.  A formal trail association is being developed and includes approximately 8 members.  The association meets Thursday evenings at the Spot.  An application has been submitted to the national trail association headquarters in order to be officially recognized.  The application should be approved in December.  Route planning is under way and will rely on individual land owners to “bless” the trail through private property rather than rely on public right-of-ways.  The typical trail would include native soils and walkable grass areas.  The national association will provide signage once a route is developed.  Other grants are being sought to additional equipment.

  1. Increase number of teams participating in Corporate Cup from 12 to 20 in 2016.
  2. Cooking/canning classes – goal pending.


Amy Baldwin mentioned that Otter Tail Telcom was successful in their request for funding for two broadband expansion projects during a very competitive grant cycle.  Both projects include the expansion of broadband in the greater Fergus Falls area.  Rick Schara mentioned that this could have a positive effect on the workforce development effort that includes the telework initiative.

Larry Schulz mentioned that the Rural Health Model received funding for health information sharing/coordination.  The Rural Health Model includes LB Homes, Pioneer Care, Lakeland Mental Health and Lake Region Healthcare.

Schulz also mentioned that they hosted a “community conversations” event that asked the community to discuss health needs.  Advanced care planning was identified as a need and grant funding has been received for this type of planning.

The new Lake Region Healthcare clinic is set to open on December 14.

Mary Matteson mentioned that there will be a tour of senior living options on December 10.

Rising Minnesota will be hosting the “West Central World Café” event on December 15.  The event is intended to ask millennials about their ideas and suggestions for improving workforce development among that generation.  Chet Bodin from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will be facilitating the event.

Hal Leland suggested that everyone drive to the RTC in the evening sometime to check out the new lighting that illuminates the tower.  Leland also mentioned that the two Schlossman buildings are lit up and the streets are alive.

Amy Baldwin mentioned that the 2016 meeting schedule includes a change in date, time and location of meetings.  Meetings will be on the 1st Friday of the month at Noon and located at the Keller Williams Realty basement conference room.  The change was made due to results of the community survey that suggested a change could help with attendance.  Baldwin mentioned that the January meeting, which will be on the 2nd Friday due to the New Year’s holiday, will focus on revisiting the destiny drivers in order to focus on priorities moving forward.  The meeting time and location will be heavily advertised.

The meeting ended at 8:08 a.m.

Next Meeting: Friday, January 8, 12:00 p.m. at Keller Williams Realty Office (basement conf. room)

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