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
Dennis Lipp welcomed those in attendance and asked for everyone to introduce themselves to the group.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 (email@example.com.)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Erin (email@example.com.)
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.”
- 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.
- 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)