Top Three Vibrant Communities | July 11 – 15
July 15, 2016 by Blandin Foundation
1.) Lawrence Lake: For many young families in rural Minnesota, summertime is all about lakes, road trips, barbecues and baseball. When the youth baseball program in Lawrence Lake Township (some say Bovey, but never to a Laker’s face…) lost its home field last year, they were left on a diamond-less island and traveling to whichever neighboring town could accommodate. This amount of travel is not only hard on the team in terms of miles and minutes—it has also deprived them of the pride that comes with defending a home field. That’s why community leaders up Scenic 7 have come together and organized to give the young players a field they can call their own. The young movement has garnered considerable steam already—with a Facebook page, a GoFundMe and a $5000 grant from the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. When a community comes together around their youth—vibrancy follows.
2.) Faribault: Margaret Fuller said, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” In this spirit, the Rotary Club and the United Way are teaming up with UNITY students from Faribault High School to place “little libraries” around their community. This free program doesn’t impose due dates and allows the diverse population in Faribault an opportunity to take their time and enjoy the experience of a good old-fashioned read.
“We’re hoping to put five or six of them up in the community in areas where there is a lot of diversity,” Rotary member Dick Huston said. “The hope is to increase reading, which translates to a better education.”
“In Faribault, there is such a diverse population,” he said. “We have a four-way test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? This project checks all those boxes.”
3.) Cohasset: In 2014, Minnesota was ranked as the third healthiest state in the country. While gyms and fitness centers seem to be popping up all over the place, rural Minnesota offers endless opportunities to stay in shape while in all-natural light and all-natural surroundings. And now, the little town of Cohasset is creating one more “natural alternative” to a monthly gym membership. The Tioga Mountain Bike Park is set for construction after acquiring grants from the IRRRB and Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Tourism. Construction on the 450-acre area is to begin next spring and the trails could be utilized for hiking, trail running, snowshoeing and mountain biking.
“It could do what the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails does for tourism and the economic impact it would have on lodging and retail,” said Jessica Piche, City of Cohasset assistant finance director. “Detroit Lakes has a mountain bike area and Duluth has one. We would be kind of another area in between them. It would be a nice addition to the area. It would just enhance everything.”
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