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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