UMVRDC Annual Tour & Board Meeting
Clarkfield & Granite Falls, MN 
The UMRDC staff and board toured the communities of Clarkfield and Granite Falls on July 24th to get a firsthand look at some of the projects the UMVRDC staff have worked on throughout the past couple of years.
The group was welcomed by Clarkfield's City Administrator, Amanda Luepke who explained the projects that the city is working on through a Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) grant and United States Department of Agriculture, which was authored by the UMVRDC. The group then proceeded to Clarkfield Outdoors, a UMVRDC Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) recipient, where they were given a tour and overview of the apparel business by the founding owner and current CEO.  
From there the group toured the new childcare center, Tiny Sprouts, where they learned about how the community developed and built the new center. The old Clarkfield High School building is located across the street where chairman, Gary Johnson discussed how the city and county were working together to plan for the demolition of the structure.
The next stop was Memorial Park in Granite Falls. Cathy Anderson, EDA Director; Crystal Hansonl-Johnson, City Administrator and County Commissioner, John Berends discussed the various projects going on in the community. Areas of discussion included a redevelopment grant, arts and recreation improvements in the community, and from the Yellow Medicine County side of things, initiatives and concerns in the areas of broadband, childcare and housing. UMVRDC staff added to the local presentation by highlighting the Memorial Park Master Plan process and the housing and commercial rehabilitation grant for the city.
The day ended at the Kilowatt Community Center where Nick Richter gave a tour of the center. The group enjoyed a delicious meal catered by Almich's Market, a UMVRDC RLF recipient. After the meal and annual business meeting Susan Brower, Minnesota State Demographer and Luke Greiner, DEED Regional Analyst for Central & SW Minnesota joined the board to speak on Key Demographic Trends and the 2020 Census.
The annual tour is a great opportunity for the UMVRDC staff to showcase their projects throughout the region for the UVMRDC board to see firsthand.

Official Regional Designation for the Lac qui Parle 
County Park

The Lac qui Parle County Park received official designation as a regional park through the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC). Achieving regional designation makes the park eligible for the Regional Parks and Trails Legacy funding program where an estimated 8 million dollars will be available annually.

The Lac qui Parle County Park completed their master plan in the spring of 2018. The UMVRDC and the landscape architect firm, Damon Farber, worked with the Lac qui Parle County Park Board to create the master plan. The plan shows that the first phase of projects the park board hopes to implement are the west entrance road, a bridge, and the park loop trail on the west side of the park. A future phase two includes the trailhead on the west side of the park, with a bathroom/shower building, parking, and lighting. Phase three includes more trail system improvements and additions.

The GMRPTC, created by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013, undertakes system planning and provides recommendations to the legislature for grants funded by the parks and trails fund, to counties and cities outside of the seven-county metropolitan area for parks and trails of regional significance. For more information on the GMRPTC and the designation and funding process please visit: .

If you have questions about the regional park planning, you can contact Kristi at 320-289-1981, ext 106 or email

15th Annual Meander Art Crawl Kicks off Friday, October 5

The fun weekend features the work of 38 local artists displayed at 29 different locations from Granite Falls to the Big Stone Lake area, northwest of Ortonville. The popular and award-winning Meander is a free, self-guided tour of the artists' studios and galleries and has become an annual tradition for visiting the art studios and galleries in the  region.

The Meander art studios and galleries will be open on Friday, October 5th from noon to 6 p.m., on Saturday, October 6th, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, October 7th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Friday, October 5th a lively and fun musical performance by Ortonville area musicians Don and Lee Kanten will be held at the historic Town Hall in the city of Watson, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, October 6th the Dawson Boyd Arts Association will present a performance celebrating the abundant life in rural Minnesota by award-winning Dawson area poet and media artist Lauren K. Carlson, titled "A Life on the Prairie: Poem, Story and Song from Lac qui Parle.". The event will be at the Dawson Memorial Auditorium, at 601 9th Street in Dawson, MN.

Rehabilitation and Public Infrastructure Funds Coming to the Region

Clarkfield and Granite Falls received exciting news earlier this summer from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, notifying the communities that they were awarded Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) grants. The UMVRDC assisted both communities in their grant application process and will continue to work alongside Prairie Five Community Action in administering those grants.

Clarkfield's SCDP grant of $1,107,430 combined with funding from United States Department of Agriculture, the City of Clarkfield, and other programming funds, will provide an estimated $24 million in rehabilitation throughout the city. Fifteen owner occupied properties, five commercial properties, and the city's water tower will be included in this three-year project. In Granite Falls, $625,888 in SCDP grant funds will also be part of the $891,500 rehabilitation project. Eleven homes, seven single family rental properties, and six commercial properties will all benefit from the upcoming project.

The SCDP grant provides substantial benefits to communities by addressing slum and blight conditions, eliminating an urgent public health or safety issue, along with assisting households with low to moderate incomes. In addition to working with Clarkfield and Granite Falls, the UMVRDC is still working with the Cities of Benson, Clinton, Graceville, and Beardsley to complete their SCDP grants. Partnering with the Swift County Housing Redevelopment Authority and Prairie Five Community Action, the UMVRDC's efforts bring noticeable results to the region. If your community is interested in how the Small Cities Development Program could be utilized, please contact the UMVRDC to discuss that process.

Regional Housing Initiatives 

As part of its mission of helping communities prosper and supporting local units of government, the UMVRDC works on various housing projects and initiatives throughout the region. Current work includes numerous Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Small Cities Development Program grants and Redevelopment and Demolition Program projects throughout the region which address analysis, upgrades and rehabilitation of housing inventory.

In 2016, UMVRDC partnered with Yellow Medicine County to undertake housing survey work within various communities to analyze and document existing housing inventory. Related survey work and analysis have been completed for the cities of Clarkfield and Granite Falls leading to a better understanding of housing inventory and related housing issues for communities to address. The UMVRDC is currently undertaking similar housing survey work for the cities of Canby, Milan and Watson, utilizing newly developed survey methods that take advantage of mobile enabled technology to more efficiently and effectively collect and analyze data. Development and utilization of such technology and tools allows UMVRDC staff to better support the needs of communities. Newly gathered data will allow the UMVRDC and communities to identify issues and needs as well as support the pursuit of funding sources to address specific projects.

Currently the UMVRDC is working to identify specific housing issues that most greatly affect our region's communities and will convene a regional event this fall to address key identified issues.
Madison Supper Club Welcomes New Ownership

The After Five Supper Club located in Madison has been a local favorite for over forty years. New entrepreneurs, Anne and Aaron Kells, are eager to add their own twist to the successful business. The UMVRDC provided $40,000 in funds towards the purchase of the business, while working with other regional gap financing agencies, The Southwest Initiative Foundation and The Lac qui Parle Economic Development Authority.

Whether it is financing real estate, working capital, equipment, or inventory, the UMVRDC has funds available to lend to new or expanding businesses. Creating and retaining jobs within the five-county region is a priority of the UMVRDC's Revolving Loan Fund. If you have questions about the UMVRDC's Revolving Loan Fund, contact Laura at 320-289-1981, ext 102 or email .
Prairie Waters Annual Gathering || Wegdahl County Park

The 2018 Prairie Waters Annual Gathering will be held on Wednesday, September 26th at the Wegdahl County Park in Chippewa County. The annual gathering is a great way for the Prairie Waters staff and board to showcase a unique asset within the region by rotating locations each year. The event offers free food, entertainment, door prizes, kids activities, pontoon rides and Talking Waters Brewery! Follow us on Facebook for event details. 

Mark Your Calendars!

9/26/18:  Prairie Waters Annual Gathering            
  Wegdahl County Park || 5:00pm-7:00pm 

10/5/18-10/7/18: Meander Arts Crawl

10/23/18: UMVRDC Monthy Meeting
Appleton Civic Center || 6:30pm

11/8 /18: Grow Our Own Summit

11/27/18: UMVRDC Monthy Meeting
Appleton Civic Center || 6:30pm
Regional Video - Check it Out!    ||   320.289.1981  Like us on Facebook

Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission 
323 W Schlieman Ave. Appleton, MN 56208