ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION PLAN America's - City of Lindstrom

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ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION PLAN Prepared for the

America’s Best Communities Competition By

The People of Chisago Lakes Minnesota

November 2015

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Table of Contents Executive Summary

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Community Participation

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Long Term Vision

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Short Term Activity

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Appendices Olive & Company Branding and Marketing Strategy Chisago County Broadband Survey KPMG Economic Analysis Community Technology Center Feasibility Study KPMG Targeted Business Attraction Study Eutectics Energy Opportunity Assessment Urban Land Institute Minnesota - Navigating Your Competitive Future Bennett Community Consulting Retail Market Review Blue Zones Walking Assessment

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CHISAGO LAKES - AMERICA’S BEST COMMUNITY!

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Chisago Lakes – five cities, eleven recreational lakes, one Wild and Scenic Riverway, a beautiful rural countryside of small farms, orchards, wetlands, ponds and forests. Homesteading Swedish immigrant farmers melding with New England loggers who moved west to the white pine forests. Today, longtime Chisago Lakes residents blending with recently arrived families seeking to share the area’s high quality, small town life. All working together, with a shared vision, committed to creating a vibrant future. Community Participation The America’s Best Community (ABC) competition has afforded Chisago Lakes an opportunity to define a shared future across the five unique cities and surrounding townships within the Chisago Lakes School District. The Chisago Lakes ABC initiative is building on the work completed through the Chamber and Community Foundation’s FutureWalk process where over 600 residents were interviewed about their community aspirations. More than 100 community members have participated in the ABC process; working diligently and with passion, meeting regularly, collaborating, compromising and setting a direction that will result in our community becoming one of America’s Best Communities, regardless of the results of the competition. Community members’ own sense of Chisago Lakes has been reinforced and recognized with gratitude. Our community members, volunteers and leaders have done an amazing job in building and supporting their teams, facilitating discussion and seeking guidance from experts; they have then localized that knowledge to create long-term strategies and short-term tactics that will move our community forward. This process has helped to recognize and welcome emerging leaders within our community; they will have a positive impact well into the future. It has been very exciting to see the ranks of our participants grow, with project teams adding members throughout the process. Rather than suffering from group process and planning fatigue, progress is happening and people are increasingly energized. With a common vision, a plan and a community coalition in place, we are finding it easier to attract willing partners to help move our community supported initiatives and projects forward.

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Long Term Vision and Goals Through this process, we have identified our shared values. Ultimately, the people of Chisago Lakes want to enjoy the connectedness and safety of small town life, preserve and enhance the existing beautiful and natural environment and have bountiful choices of employment and lifestyle. They want to live, in the words of one of our leaders “where people want to vacation.” We…  Enjoy our quality of life and cherish our natural beauty, resources, recreational opportunities and environment  Seek a balanced economy and appropriate development  Support our quality schools and increased access to higher education for all ages  Appreciate our small town lifestyle and work together for shared community benefits  Encourage the self-sufficiency of the area and support our local businesses  Recognize the need and desire for quality broadband communications  Support and recognize the intrinsic value and economic impact of arts and culture The desired outcomes we seek, essentially our long-term goals, are integrated across four focus areas: Arts, Culture and Tourism  Establish an area brand and identity  Establish and maintain collaborative marketing  Preserve historic sites and structures  Promote venues for arts and culture  Maintain a community calendar  Create and maintain a list of community assets  Protect our community’s natural beauty, resources and environment Broadband  Ensure quality broadband throughout the area  Provide more public WiFi hotspots  Increase technology sophistication of local business Economic Development  Stimulate new, high quality local job opportunities  Attract people and investment to Chisago Lakes  Beautify Highway 8 and fill vacant storefronts Quality of Life  Live in a happy, healthy community  Facilitate collaboration across communities and organizations  Make higher education more available  Enhance community engagement  Leverage shared community facilities  Create a comprehensive trail system  Create and support social connections  Promote physical connectivity, walkability and healthy lifestyles

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Short Term Activities Our four focus teams are now deployed to pursue successful development and implementation of the projects that follow. We believe that these projects, over time, will propel us towards our desired outcomes. Some can be accomplished in a year or less; others are multi-year projects that will need to be pursued well into the future. Sustaining our momentum through accomplishment and celebration will be critical to our long-term success. Our projects are: Chisago Lakes Branding and Marketing Initiative Create a shared brand and marketing strategy, available to all area businesses and organizations. Broadband Ensure that businesses and people are connected wherever they are – at home or on the go. Community Technology Center State of the art broadband and equipment in a dynamic setting. Workforce of the Future Design programs that will improve our children’s career options, close to home or around the world. Energy for Economic Development Make Chisago Lakes more competitive by reducing the cost of energy and stimulating new investment Targeted Business Attraction Attract quality job opportunities to provide more options for our commuting and emerging workforce and retail/service firms to serve residents and enhance visitor experience. Healthy Community Enhance the health, happiness and longevity of Chisago Lakes residents through Blue Zones or other similar health framework. Trails Complete the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail, create the Chisago Lakes Water Trail and improve walkability throughout. Continued Community Engagement Host the Minnesota Design Team in 2016 Participate in the Blandin Community Leadership Program in 2017 Our teams are actively moving these projects forward. The $100,000 implementation grant will be allocated among these projects to supplement local funding commitments.

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ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION PLAN DETAILS Community Process Long Term Vision Short Term Strategy Outcome Measures

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THE COMMUNITY PROCESS Creating and committing to the Chisago Lakes Economic Revitalization Plan has been an exciting community process, encompassing many people and many meetings, plus countless emails, phone calls and conversations over coffee. FutureWalk The Chisago Lakes Chamber and Community Foundation embarked on a “FutureWalk” initiative prior to the ABC competition announcement. Through this process, now over 600 Chisago Lakes’ residents have responded to the question, “What are your desires for the Chisago Lakes Area in the future?” The following is a summary of surveys to date. Trails - more walking trails, bike paths, sidewalks, trails along roads, paths for strollers, hiking paths, connect all the communities, finish Swedish Immigrant Trail, able to walk to town, connect to Ki Chi Saga Park, senior housing connected to trails, trails to schools, safe routes to schools. Also snowmobile trails, dirt bike trails, 4-wheel trails, water trails and dog parks. More restaurants and retail shopping - Clean and charming downtown, organic food in restaurants, vibrant downtown, upscale restaurant, unique shops, more variety, restaurant by the lake, more tourist activities, sports gear shop, family restaurants, winery tours, wedding venues, big resort with spa facilities, micro-brewery, tourist destination, downtown theme, good signage for visitors, outdoor outfitter, farmers markets, art center, community gardens. Schools of Excellence - We want great schools, drug free schools, larger facilities, new Lakeside Elementary and Taylors Falls Elementary, more funding, more volunteering, state of the art schools, education for all ages, modern, small class sizes, no portables, good schools draw families to our area, safe schools, more arts, science, math, technology and writing, visible school spirit, marching band, diversity, improve ball fields and ice rink, more access to turf field. Higher Education Facility – community or tech school in our area. Economic Concerns – more jobs! - We want higher paying jobs, new businesses, jobs for kids, business center, improve our tax base, high tech jobs, fill the business parks, sustainable industry, resorts, more industry, less commuting. Some ideas: music store, kayak, canoe, paddle boat rentals, green jobs, connect farmers giving them a market for their food, amusement park.

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Lakes and Rivers –expressed how important lakes and rivers are to the area - Promote the lakes, good signage for access, bathrooms, benches, picnic tables, municipal sewer around the lakes; get off the DNR impaired list, marina, campground, handicapped accessibility, water recreation, water trails. Keep open spaces, farming, protect natural resources, clean environment Parks - Improve parks, more parks, clean parks, playgrounds, outdoor pool, nature parks, more parks next to the lakes, Ojiketa, splash pad, bike and skate parks, Frisbee golf, more ice rinks Keep our small town atmosphere - Keep our family focus, integrity, morals, vibrant churches working together, care for the elderly, community involvement, senior activities, serve the less fortunate, improve celebrations, more housing options. “A Community for All Ages” Unite the visions, cities share services, cities work together. Community Center, Event Center, Indoor Sports Facility, Rec Center, Youth Center, Field house, Art Center Safer Highway 8 - Stop lights at Kwik Trip and high school, overpasses, roundabout at Pleasant Valley Road. Transportation Concerns for elderly and commuters

Our vision has emerged from our community input processes. FutureWalk provided an excellent base of information on which to begin our ABC efforts. The ABC competition provides a bridge to prioritize the FutureWalk data. A combination of FutureWalk and ABC has now essentially and seamlessly merged into a shared vision for the Chisago Lakes Area.

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ABC Community Participation The last six months have been intense! Once we learned that Chisago Lakes had been named one of 50 quarterfinalists in the ABC competition, the Chisago Lakes Chamber and Chisago County EDA worked aggressively to spread the word and the excitement of the opportunity. Community Technology Advisors Corp was hired to facilitate the community process with the Chamber charged with marshaling local participation and support. This team has continuously worked to engage the community, provide support to project participants, carefully steward the ABC grant and local match dollars and complete the work by the November 6 deadline. Our Teams More than 100 people have participated in the process; many of these have been actively and regularly involved on project teams. Resource people from city, county, regional and state governments, non-profits, the library, local businesses and the school district have supplied information and encouraging support, letting us know that they are willing and able partners ready to help implement specific projects and tasks. The experience for Chisago Lakes has been overwhelmingly positive! The table below provides a list of volunteers serving on project teams. ARTS CULTURE TOURISM Amy Frischmon

Ann Treacy

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AnnMarie Brink

Ann Norgaard

Becky Carlson

Bill Coleman

Bob Meyer

Barbara Hafften

Brenda Carlson

Carla Lydon

Carla Vita

Cecilia Coulter

Brenda Palmquist

Denise Martin

Cathy Bennett

Dan Hoolihan

Carla Lydon

John Olinger

Chris Eng

Deanna Nelson

John Hock

Ken Orwell

Cory Lindgren

Diane Fedor

Judy Erickson

Nancy Hoffman

Dan Vogel

Dionne Kabat

Kathy George

Tangi Schaapveld

Dave Whitney

Jim St Onge

LouAnn Mattson

Wendy Redland

Jason Gamble

Joe Sausen

Mara Krinke

Jeff Behnke

Joe Thimm

MaryAnn Jindra

Jill Behnke

John Olinger

Mindy Breva

Jim Stein

Kathy Bystrom

Tieran Haskin

John Pechman

Kathy Filbert

Wendy Redland

Josh Soderlund

Kevin Stenson

Kathy Kirvida

Kurt Schneider

Marlys Dunne

Larry Houger

Mickelle Pohlman

Loretta Anderson

Nancy Hoffman

Nancy Bargsten

Randy Herreid

Noel Stensrud

Terrie Trudeau

Pat Mahoney

Wade Vitalis

Rick Stangelle

BROADBAND

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QUALITY OF LIFE

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Key Events June 18 – “Community Planning Session” Thirty-five community leaders identified our priority action areas:  Improving broadband access  Spurring economic development  Enhancing quality of life  Supporting arts and culture/Promoting tourism Assets and gaps were identified. Desired outcomes were determined. Next steps were planned. July 1 – “Getting Organized to Succeed” Work groups met to determine:  Who else is working on this? Who else needs to be involved?  What are some possible strategies and project ideas that will lead us to our desired outcomes?  What information and expertise do we need?  How do we want to operate as a team? Teams were expanded. Worksheets captured ideas and next steps. Since July 1, our teams have met jointly approximately every two weeks at the Chisago Lakes Library, enabling progress reports and collaboration across projects. Participation continued to expand as we moved from the focus areas to specific project teams. We have averaged 31 people at these work session meetings. The following meetings had special presentations highlighting information and analyses. This strategy of sharing information across teams seemed to reinforce the connection between our various projects and how success in one area would spur additional opportunities. August

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Urban Land Institute Retail Panel Presentation and Discussion

September

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Quality of Life team conducts Blue Zones Visit to Albert Lea

September 15

Fairview Hospital Community Technology Center Tour KPMG Report on Technology Center and Targeted Marketing

September 22

Presentation from Eutectics on Clean Energy Opportunities

September 24

Retail Market Round Table Focus Group

September

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Blue Zones Walking Audit

September

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ABC Celebration Blue Zones Presentation

October

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Olive & Company Marketing Presentation Frontier Community Technology Center Tour

October

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Manufacturers Tour for Workforce of the Future

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Chisago Lakes Social Media Engagement We involved the greater Chisago Lakes community through social media. Participating in the ABC challenge has been a great motivator for the Chamber, businesses and community members to be more strategic in their use of social media. We started with a "How To" training session in June where businesses learned how and why to use social media tools. It led to a great discussion on how the community could work together to raise the individual business profiles by tagging, sharing, commenting on and liking each other's posts. Use of the #ABC50 tag was a great demonstration and model. The Chamber also set out to lead the effort, especially focusing on what makes Chisago Lakes unique. We set up Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Vimeo and YouTube channels. (We were already using Facebook.) We boosted community posts, listed community events, kept folks abreast of what was happening with the ABC committee and focused on a few campaigns – highlighted below. We used the existing Chamber Blog as the cornerstone of our social media hub – letting people know what was happening and often hosting the bulk of the content there. The following are screen shots and brief explanations of our social media efforts and our #ABC50 campaigns.

‘Karl Oskar Days Challenge’ Community members shared pictures with Karl Oskar

‘Picture a Day’ Sharing Area Photos

‘Picture a Day ’ Chisago Lakes Area is ….

‘Video a Day’ What Do You Like About Chisago Lakes?

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Long Term Vision and Goals Through this process, we have identified our shared values. Ultimately, the people of Chisago Lakes want to enjoy the connectedness and safety of small town life, preserve and enhance the existing beautiful and natural environment and have bountiful choices of employment and lifestyle. They want to live, in the words of one of our leaders “where people want to vacation.” We…  Enjoy our quality of life and cherish our natural beauty, resources, recreational opportunities and environment  Seek a balanced economy and appropriate development  Support our quality schools and increased access to higher education for all ages  Appreciate our small town lifestyle and work together for shared community benefits  Encourage the self-sufficiency of the area and support our local businesses  Recognize the need and desire for quality broadband communications  Support and recognize the intrinsic value and economic impact of arts and culture The desired outcomes we seek, essentially our long-term goals, are integrated across four focus areas: Arts, Culture and Tourism  Establish an area brand and identity  Establish and maintain collaborative marketing  Preserve historic sites and structures  Promote venues for arts and culture  Maintain a community calendar  Create and maintain a list of community assets  Protect our community’s natural beauty, resources and environment Broadband  Ensure quality broadband throughout the area  Provide more public WiFi hotspots  Increase technology sophistication of local business Economic Development  Stimulate new, high quality local job opportunities  Attract people and investment to Chisago Lakes  Beautify Highway 8 and fill vacant storefronts Quality of Life  Live in a happy, healthy community  Facilitate collaboration across communities and organizations  Make higher education more available  Enhance community engagement  Leverage shared community facilities  Create a comprehensive trail system  Create and support social connections  Promote physical connectivity, walkability and healthy lifestyles

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Almost every goal touches on two or more of our focus areas. The table below illustrates this interconnection. Long Term Goals Arts, Culture and Tourism Establish an area brand and identity Establish and maintain collaborative marketing Preserve historic sites and structures Promote venues for arts and culture Maintain a community calendar Create and maintain a list of community assets Protect our community’s natural beauty, resources and environment Broadband Ensure quality broadband throughout the area Provide more public WiFi hotspots Increase technology sophistication of local businesses Economic Development Stimulate new, high quality local job opportunities Attract people and investment to Chisago Lakes Beautify Highway 8 and fill vacant storefronts Quality of Life Live in a happy, healthy community Facilitate collaboration across communities and organizations Make higher education more available Enhance community engagement Leverage shared community facilities Create a comprehensive trail system Create and support social connections Promote physical connectivity, walkability and life styles

Arts, Culture & Tourism

Broadband

Economic Development

Quality of Life

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PROJECT SUMMARY LIST Short Term Activities Our four focus teams –– are now deployed to pursue successful development and implementation of the projects listed below. We believe that these projects, over time, will propel us towards our desired outcomes. Some can be accomplished in a year or less; others are multi-year projects that will need to be pursued long-term well into the future. Sustaining our momentum through accomplishment and celebration will be critical to our long-term success. Our projects are: Chisago Lakes Branding and Marketing Initiative Create a shared brand and marketing strategy, available to all area businesses and organizations. Broadband Ensure that businesses and people are connected wherever they are – at home or on the go. Community Technology Center State of the art broadband and equipment in a dynamic setting. Workforce of the Future Design programs that will improve our children’s career options, close to home or around the world. Energy for Economic Development Make Chisago Lakes more competitive by reducing the cost of energy and stimulating new investment Targeted Business Attraction Attract quality job opportunities to provide more options for our commuting and emerging workforce and retail/service firms to serve residents and enhance visitor experience. Healthy Community Enhance the health, happiness and longevity of Chisago Lakes residents through Blue Zones or other similar health framework . Trails Complete the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail, create the Chisago Lakes Water Trail and improve walkability throughout. Continued Community Engagement Host the Minnesota Design Team in 2016 Participate in the Blandin Community Leadership Program in 2017

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PROJECT DETAILS

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PRIORITY PROJECT: CHISAGO LAKES BRANDING AND MARKETING INITIATIVE ‘Create a shared brand and marketing strategy, available to all area businesses and organizations.’ Background Chisago Lakes includes five unique and distinct cities - Chisago City, Lindstrom, Center City, Shafer and Taylors Falls - as well as a large rural countryside knitted together by a shared school district and Highway 8. The identities of each community are strong and add to the charm of the area, but the independence can hinder marketing the area as a whole. Chisago Lakes assets outweigh our liabilities by a wide margin. The cities are located on Highway 8, a busy business and tourism corridor just north of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. Eleven recreational lakes, with beautiful boating and fishing opportunities connect Chisago City, Lindstrom and Center City. Taylors Falls, home to one of Minnesota’s most popular state parks, hugs the St. Croix River, a federally designated Wild and Scenic Riverway. Chisago Lakes also has a strong, entrepreneurial arts community. Olive & Company is a Minneapolis-based marketing, brand design and interactive media services company. Two of the company’s principals live in Chisago Lakes and commute into the Twin Cities. The company was contracted to create a marketing plan and contributed a Chisago Lakes logo pro bono. The logo promotes Chisago Lakes’ four seasons, recreational opportunities, and agricultural and Swedish heritage. The plan calls for an active social media and marketing strategy that will provide a dynamic website hosting a calendar of events, customizable itineraries based on visitor interest and other information valuable to visitors and residents alike. One goal is to develop an affordable, sustainable and shared marketing initiative that brings visitors to Chisago Lakes and connects them to the many opportunities and activities in the area. The combination of artists, local food and wine, shops and restaurants lead to a quality visitor experience and supports a vibrant tourism economy. To create and maintain a brand that positions Chisago Lakes as a place for not only tourists, but business investment, quality job opportunities and entrepreneurial success that benefit the area’s residents, including the emerging youth workforce is another shared goal. Olive & Company’s plan is included in the appendices.

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PRIORITY PROJECT: CHISAGO LAKES BRANDING AND MARKETING INITIATIVE Key Activities Create the Chisago Lakes website.

Promote Chisago Lakes new logo

Key Steps

Implement a lodging tax, for either Chisago Lakes or countywide Increase online marketing and technology use by businesses and organizations

By Whom

Finalize the scope document

In process

Team

Select the vendor Identify the website manager Build the website Launch the website

In process 1st quarter 2nd quarter End of 2nd quarter 2nd quarter 3rd quarter

Team Team Vendor/Manager Vendor/Manager

3rd quarter

Manager/Team

Completed

Team

1st quarter

Vendor/Manager

2nd quarter In process and ongoing 2nd quarter

Team Chisago Lakes Chamber, Tourism, Stakeholders Key Stakeholders

Begin implementing marketing plan Continue discussions within Chisago Lakes with lodging facilities

4th quarter

Area Tourism, Chisago Lakes Chamber Team, Chisago County HRA-EDA, Lodging Facilities, County Board

Begin discussions countywide Implement lodging tax Hold the Chisago County Technology Summit to provide perspective and motivation around the adoption of technology.

1st quarter 3rd quarter Held October 30

Chisago County EDA County Board Chisago County Blandin Broadband Communities Team

Within Chisago Lakes, hold two workshops per month on marketing, technology and e-commerce. Promote the use of Google Places

1st and 2nd quarter

Chisago County BBC, Team, Chisago Lakes Chamber, Pine Technical College Chisago County EDA and Local Chambers

Obtain links Launch the social media strategy Quarterly social media contests/events Create logo Promote logo to key stakeholders – community, businesses, economic development, schools Include logo on new website Create swag with logo

Implement Marketing Plan

By When

Finalize marketing plan

Chisago Lakes MN

1st quarter

1st and 2nd quarter

Vendor/Manager Manager/Team

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Expected Outcomes  Increase the number of website visitors by 25%, using the existing chamber site as a base.  Increase the average number of pages viewed per visit by 25%, using the existing chamber site as a base.  Ensure that 100% of key Chisago Lakes organizations – cities, county, attractions, schools, economic development, etc. have prominent links to the Chisago Lakes website using the logo as the link identifier.  Increase the number of sites linking directly to the community website on a monthly basis.  Capture all critical arts, culture and tourism community events on the calendar upon launch. Increase the number of events listed on the calendar each quarter. Relationship to other plan components Chisago Lakes Branding and Marketing is a keystone element to our economic revitalization plan with links to all other plan components. The branding and marketing initiative will make Chisago Lakes synonymous with the high quality and vibrant lifestyle that will make people come play and stay - to do business, make a home, to recreate or enjoy a vacation. Key Team Members:  Amy Frischmon, Wild Mountain/Taylors Falls Recreation  Wendy Redland, Chisago Lakes Chamber

“In 2007, the City of Lindstrom hired a tourism study through the University of MN Extension Service. Their conclusion was our communities were not ‘cohesive’. The greatest thing I have seen come through the ABC experience is the cohesiveness we now enjoy. ABC helped our area become cohesive.” John Olinger, City Administrator, Lindstrom

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PRIORITY PROJECT: ENHANCE BROADBAND ACCESS ‘Ensure that businesses and people are connected wherever they are at home and on the go.’ Background Broadband access is an issue across Chisago Lakes and all of Chisago County, especially in the rural countryside. Chisago County HRA/EDA is leading a countywide broadband initiative, funded by Blandin Foundation that has included a community survey as part of their information gathering activities. This survey documented significant customer dissatisfaction with availability, reliability and cost, with highest levels of dissatisfaction occurring in the rural portions of the county. On a positive note about broadband potential, more than 30% of respondents said they would start a home business if broadband was available. In addition to Frontier Communications Voice and Internet services, Midcontinent provides triple play services within the more urbanized areas of the county, including the cities in Chisago Lakes. Community Technology Advisors Corp met with Frontier Communications on behalf of the Chisago Lakes ABC team. Frontier staff provided high-level information regarding Frontier’s plans for improved services. Frontier is in process of upgrading its network backbone to Gigabit capacity so that Chisago Lakes’ connections to Frontier’s primary Internet connections will not suffer from congestion. Frontier has also accepted Connect America Funds from the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Funds that should improve last mile connections. Frontier will install fiber to their existing DSL electronics and to new DSL hubs in the rural countryside. Federal rules require that these connections must meet a minimum of 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream standard. While these are still relatively slow speeds in comparison to those available in the Twin Cities metro area and in some rural areas, the CAF2 investment will be a substantial improvement over existing services. Throughout the Blandin Broadband Communities Program, the team has worked to increase both access and use of broadband throughout the county. On October 30, over 100 business owners and managers attended the Chisago Business Technology Summit. Two keynote speakers and a panel of business owners talked about the importance of technology to their firms’ success. Business technology seminars will now be held throughout 2016 multiple times per month in a variety of locations to spur more sophisticated use of broadband and the Internet by businesses. In addition, the Blandin program provided funding for a pilot project of WiFi on school buses across the county. Students can now access their schoolwork and resources while travelling to and from school and to sporting events across the state. These buses will also be made available for community events, providing a mobile hot spot for visitors and vendors to conduct transactions and engage in social media marketing. Data from the community survey and maps are included in the appendices.

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PRIORITY PROJECT: ENHANCE BROADBAND ACCESS Key Activities Ensure broadband availability

Improve WiFi Access

Increase the online marketing sophistication and technology use of Chisago Lakes businesses and organizations

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Share broadband survey results with all broadband providers

Completed

Monitor Frontier CAF2 network improvements Keep county board, city and town councils informed on broadband progress Apply for funding from Blandin Foundation

Quarterly Twice per year

Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) Team BBC Team BBC Team

December 2015

BBC Team

Inventory existing WiFi sites Identify new prospective sites Install WiFi in at least one location in each Chisago Lakes community Complete the Community Technology Center

1st quarter 1st quarter April 2016

BBC Team BBC Team BBC Team

December 2016

Hold the Chisago County Technology Summit to provide perspective and motivation around the adoption of technology.

Held October 30

Chisago City EDA Chisago County, BBC Team

Within Chisago Lakes, hold two workshops per month on marketing, technology and ecommerce.

1st and 2nd quarter

Promote the use of Google Places by businesses and community organizations.

1st and 2nd quarter

Chisago Lakes MN

Chisago County EDA, BBC Team, Chisago Lakes Chamber, Pine Technical College Chisago County EDA & Chisago Lakes Chamber

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Expected Outcomes  50 Chisago Lakes businesses attend at least two training programs by 2nd quarter  100 Chisago Lakes businesses claim their Google Places by 4th quarter 2016  Public access WiFi locations in each of the five communities by 2016  Public access Gigabit connectivity in the Community Technology Center  Frontier Communications completes Chisago Lakes CAF2 – funded improvements by 2017 Relationship to other plan components Broadband is an essential economic development infrastructure and is required to compete successfully to attract people and investment to any community. Broadband is required for each of our projects to be successful as it is the communication tool for residents, businesses and organizations of all types. Yet, the state of broadband in a rural area is a challenge for communities to address without the commitment of the local telephone company. Key Team Members:  Nancy Hoffman, Chisago County EDA/HRA  Bill Coleman, Community Technology Advisors

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PRIORITY PROJECT: COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY CENTER ‘State of the art broadband and equipment in a dynamic setting.’ Background Chisago Lakes has several deficits to overcome to improve the economic outlook of the community. We have very limited higher education opportunities in our county. Many residents commute out of the county each day; commuters earn significantly higher incomes than those who work in the community. Finally, broadband, especially in the outlying rural areas, is either unavailable or is very limited. As a result, Chisago Lakes is working to attract higher wage employment opportunities, improve local access to higher education, reduce the number of residents that commute out of the area to earn a higher income, and make high bandwidth Internet services available to both residents and businesses. A community technology center would provide a place where a variety of public purposes could be achieved. This would provide a place where entrepreneurs and tech workers can congregate, network and learn. High bandwidth would be available on an as-needed basis for public access, innovation, tele-workers and students. Creating a technology center would give isolated technologists social connection and overcome some of the networking and connectivity disadvantages of being located in a rural community. Turning some of our commuters into tele-commuters provides a rich opportunity. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development computes the cost of daily commuting from Chisago Lakes to the Twin Cities at between $14,000 and $22,135 depending on specific distance and how one values their time. KPMG, our corporate mentor, accepted the task of conducting a preliminary feasibility study for a community technology center. Chisago Lakes has several buildings that could be used for such a center. It was determined that KPMG would analyze the feasibility of the old hospital, a 15,000 square foot building. Tours were arranged for the technology center team and KPMG. Ultimately, it was determined that significant ongoing financial support would be required at the hospital site. As an alternative, Frontier Communications has offered their central office building in Chisago City as a prospective location for the community technology center. With the exception of the secure room housing all of Frontier’s Internet routers and telephone switch, this building is unused. This smaller building, formerly a customer service center, is now under review as a technology center and offers a variety of spaces that would support community broadband access, entrepreneurial development and continuing education. The building offers direct access to the primary Frontier core network with virtually unlimited broadband capacity. With redundant electricity sources, this site could host a small data center and disaster recovery equipment for local governments, schools and businesses.

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The building has approximately 3,500 square feet of available space to meet a variety of needs. The plan is to repurpose the building and create space for public access and training, entrepreneurial development, tele-commuters, data center facilities and tech companies. Discussions and negotiations are in the preliminary stage. Prospective partners, focusing on higher education institutions, have been identified and introduced to the project possibilities. The Chisago City EDA and the Chisago County EDA will champion this effort. KPMG report is included in the appendices.

PRIORITY PROJECT: COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY CENTER Key Activities

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Determine best site for CTC

Identify available alternatives

Completed

Conduct Due Diligence

Have buildings analyzed for value, potential, defects, remodeling costs, etc. Identify and pursue grant opportunities and sponsors

1st quarter

Chisago City EDA, Chisago County EDA

4th quarter 2015/1st quarter 2016 1st quarter

Chisago City EDA, Chisago County EDA, Chisago Lakes Area Foundation Chisago City EDA, Chisago County EDA

Develop prospective partnerships and identify tenants, such as Pine Technical College Satellite Sign lease or purchase agreement

1st quarter

Chisago City EDA

2nd quarter

Chisago City EDA

Hire contractor

2nd quarter

Chisago City EDA

Hire facility manager or management company

3rd quarter

Chisago City EDA

Promote the facility to existing businesses and commuting residents. Sign leases and recruitment subscribers Develop a list of programs and activities

3rd quarter

Chisago City EDA, Manager

3rd/4th quarter 4th quarter

Manager

1st quarter 2017

Team

Develop financing plan

Develop financing scheme and pro forma

Obtain control of the building and complete remodeling

Market the facility

Grand opening

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Manager

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Expected Outcomes  50% leased by December 2017; 90% leased by December 2018  Three new entrepreneurial enterprises by December 2017  Ten subscriber tele-commuters by December 2017  30 public access users per week by December 2017 Relationship to other plan components The Community Technology Center provides a place for many of the other plan elements – access to higher education, space for entrepreneurs and tele-workers, public access to very high speed Internet. The center could also be used as a demonstration site for solar energy and offering online courses to support both the alternative energy industry initiative and the general efforts of the Workforce of the Future initiative. Key Team Members:  Jason Gamble, Central Bank and Chisago City EDA  Nancy Hoffman, Chisago County HRA-EDA  John Pechman, Chisago City Administrator

“What a wonderful way to give back to your community....Being involved in this process has afforded me the opportunity to know at least a dozen community leaders on a personal level, whom I otherwise might not have ever even met. I’ve learned more about so many relevant topics; like those from solar energy and business incubators to area marketing and water trails, than I could ever hope to gain in any other way. All of that, coupled with the fact that our community has a real opportunity to compete for a significant grant award that would mean real impact in our area, makes my ABC experience one of the more worthwhile time and energy investments I’ve made.“ Jason Gamble, Central Bank

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PRIORITY PROJECT: WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE ‘Design programs that will improve our children’s career options, close to home or around the world.’ Background Chisago Lakes has worked closely with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development on employment trends and strategies. Like most rural communities, ensuring a high quality, local future for the young, emerging workforce is a high priority. The goals for this project are to keep more young people in the community by creating an awareness of current and long-term career opportunities. Chisago Lakes Schools are taking the lead on this project utilizing expanded staffing to support On-the-Job Training (OJT) programs and closer relationships with the Chisago Lakes Chamber. Together they will facilitate the participation of businesses with the schools to create a work-ready workforce supporting high paying jobs that exist or will be created in the area. Work-Based Learning (WBL) gives students the opportunity to gain a variety of skills by expanding the walls of the classroom, to include the community, under the guidance of adult mentors. Students learn to work in teams, problem solve and meet employer’s expectations, thus narrowing the gap between theory and practice. The following companies have committed to participate; providing a diverse opportunity for work experience - manufacturing, health care, food and finance.         

Central Bank Ecumen Parmly LifePointes Eitchen’s Hidden Acres Haus Specialty Manufacturing Hazelden Betty Ford Kendall Howard Manufacturing LEI Packaging Plastic Products Smith Metals

“The ABC grant has bridge the gap between the school and the community. It brought forward some amazing people from the community and the passion they have to mentor the youth in the Chisago Lakes area. During this process, we have people knocking down our doors to come and help in any way possible in the schools. As a part of this community, I feel proud that we have people who are willing to give time to empower young people and help them succeed. This community is a place that I am proud to call home!” Mickelle Pohlman, Chisago Lakes Schools

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PRIORITY PROJECT: WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE Key Activities

Key Steps

By When

By Whom CLHS Staff & ABC Task Force Members CLHS Staff

Market Work Based Learning

Create and promote through publications and website and make presentations to stakeholders

Spring 2015fall 2016

Subsidize Work Based Transportation Work Based Orientation Grants

Provide community transportation for students to & from work experiences if needed As a business incentive for community placements, orientation hourly wages would be granted up to 5 hours

Spring 2015fall 2016

Annual Work Based Open House

An evening Open House with the community partners invited to CLHS for connection and demonstrations

Spring 2016

Work Based Learning Coordination

Assistance with program delivery, supervision, and evaluation

Spring 2016 through the 2016-2017 school year

Spring 2016

CLHS Staff along with CL District Payroll CLHS Staff along with ABC Task Force Members CLHS Staff

Expected Outcomes  5 scholarships for Career and Technical Education (CTE) by 5/16  16 students in workplace learning program by 12/16  Yearly manufacturing tours 5 companies, 50 students  Complete marketing tools.  Rejuvenate the CTE advisory committee with an annual meeting Relationship to other plan components This strategy is closely tied to the Targeted Business Attraction and Energy for Economic Development strategies where we plan to create and market a highly qualified and interested workforce. It is also tied to the Community Technology Center strategy that will provide opportunities for people of all ages to acquire skills, certifications and degrees. Key Team Members:  Josh Soderlund, Soderlund’s Wood Mill  Marlys Dunne, Haus Specialty Manufacturing  Mikelle Pohlman, Chisago Lakes Schools

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PRIORITY PROJECT: ENERGY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ‘Make Chisago Lakes more competitive by reducing the cost of energy and stimulate new investment.’ Background The natural topography and geography of Chisago Lakes - the Chisago Lakes chain of lakes and the federally protected St. Croix River - create a unique challenge for maintaining and attracting new business and industry. These same assets, however, present an opportunity for Chisago Lakes communities to develop a Clean Energy Hub that can preserve these existing environmental assets and attract millions in new capital investment while reducing energy costs for businesses, residents and government. A “Clean Energy Hub” is a community sanctioned clearing house of technical assistance and financing tools to help constituents of all types, business, organizations and individuals, to access the resources they need to evaluate and implement clean energy projects. With developing a “Clean Energy Hub” in mind, Eutectics, a clean energy consulting firm, conducted an assessment of building types in the Chisago Lakes area communities in order to identify market segments that represent the best opportunity for implementation of energy efficiency and solar energy projects. They inventoried existing and developing renewable energy installations in the region, as well as energy efficiency efforts. Based on their Opportunity Assessment, we believe that Chisago Lakes and greater Chisago County could generate 100% of the electricity from locally sourced renewable energy by 2025. The majority of which would be generated by solar photovoltaic systems. This Opportunity Assessment identified $3,240,000 in existing projects. These projects will be the first steps toward creating awareness of the Chisago Lakes Clean Energy Hub to facilitate energy efficiency and renewable energy investment awareness across the five communities. They estimate the total direct economic impact could exceed $40 million by 2025. Eutectics will develop a project management chart and timeline, to be completed by June of 2016 and to have the seven elements in place by October 2016 plus five pilot projects in process by December 2016. The Eutectics report is included in the appendices.

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PRIORITY PROJECT: ENERGY FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Key Activities Obtain resources to create the Energy Hub Create the hub

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Identify resource

In process

Team

Write and submit grant applications

4th quarter 2015/1st quarter 2016 2nd quarter

Team

2nd quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics Team in partnership with Eutectics

Create and Implement the Chisago Lakes Clean Energy Hub to streamline access to technical expertise and clean energy financing for all area constituents. Create the work program, documented in a Gantt chart in partnership with Eutectics Establish a Community Renewable Energy Standard to reach 100% locally generated renewable energy and $40 million of investment by 2025 including a benchmarking process with the Regional Indicators Initiative. Establish a technical expertise network of energy auditors, engineers, electrical contractors and renewable energy developers - including a local preference component. Integrate existing public and private capital funding tools into a ‘green bank’ for Chisago Lakes Clean Energy Hub, including a County-wide Joint Powers Agreement to provide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for long-term funding of solar and deep energy efficiency projects Partner with Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTS), Xcel Energy’s Home Energy Squad and others on a community-wide outreach campaign to ensure broad access to Clean Energy Hub resources and financing. Complete the demonstration projects identified by Eutectics by the end of 2016, and maximize residential, commercial and institutional solar PV projects by the end of 2016. Establish mechanisms to ensure ongoing sustainability for the Chisago Lakes Clean Energy Hub and a continuous evaluation and improvement process.

Chisago Lakes MN

3rd /4th quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics

3rd /4th quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics

3rd /4th quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics

3rd /4th quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics

4th quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics

4th quarter

Team in partnership with Eutectics

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Expected Outcomes  Project management and timeline Gantt chart by June 2016  $3,240,000 projects in completed by 2016  Clean Energy Hub completed by 2016  PACE joint powers agreement executed  100% of electricity by 2025; $40 million of economic impact Relationship to other plan components Energy as Economic Development relates to several projects – to the Workforce of the Future in creating new high paying jobs and filling them with Chisago Lakes residents, to the Marketing and Branding initiative as a game changer in terms of community image, for Targeted Business Attraction to bring in firms directly related to energy and energyintensive businesses seeking low-cost, sustainable energy. Key Team Members:  Wade Vitalis, The Drive-In and Taylors Falls EDC  Jill Behnke, City of Center City

“I had no idea until I was in a room with 80 people from our greater Chisago Lakes community brought together through the ABC challenge, that we had so much opportunity waiting to happen. It’s exciting to see the plans come together that will result in REAL and tangible outcomes. We are one of America’s Best Communities!” Wade Vitalis, Taylors Falls EDC

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PRIORITY PROJECT: TARGETED BUSINESS ATTRACTION ‘Attract job opportunities, providing more options for our commuting and emerging workforce and more retail/service firms to better serve residents and enhance visitor experience.’ Background Chisago Lakes has a need for more high paying jobs to support its growing population and to reduce the need for commuting on a congested Highway 8. Several factors challenge the community’s ability to be successful in this strategy. Chisago Lakes is located on Highway 8, which is not a limited access four-lane highway. Interstate 35 is located just to the west. Locations along I-35 are more attractive to manufacturers and other truck-dependent industries. Chisago County has relatively high commercial-industrial property taxes that make it uncompetitive with both more metro counties and adjacent Wisconsin. Chisago County employers must compete for labor with higher paying Twin Cities metro area companies. KPMG provided data and analysis related to business attraction. Manufacturing was a key target that would fit the workforce and the higher wage requirement. The primary asset that Chisago Lakes has is the existing commuting workforce that could be retained with somewhat higher wages and skills matching. There is also the emerging young workforce that could fill the need of prospective new and existing growing companies. Unfortunately, the physical preferences of manufacturers do not match up well with the assets of Chisago Lakes. In addition, the recruitment of manufacturers is both competitive and expensive. Chisago County EDA recently hosted a familiarization tour in partnership with GPS 45:93, the area’s regional economic development group. This site visit to the county and the region confirmed the difficulty of attracting significant numbers of manufacturers to Chisago Lakes. The community technology center opportunity presents a quality asset on which to support small technology firms that already exist in the area or prospective new technology companies. Developing existing companies and identifying and supporting entrepreneurs already living in Chisago Lakes will be a priority. In addition, the retail market was also examined for opportunities. Filling vacant storefronts and the beautification of Highway 8 is a long-term goal of the community. The Urban Land Institute – Minnesota conducted a community workshop after a site tour and data review. Bennett Community Consulting conducted a retail market review that included data analysis and a downtown business focus group. The Urban Land Institute conducted an informative community discussion around downtown retail development, Highway 8 and Chisago Lakes. Chisago Lakes MN

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KPMG economic analysis shows that 78% of the Chisago Lakes Area commutes more than 30 miles to work. The availability of high paying jobs in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area serves as a magnet for Chisago County workers. Commuting makes for some long workdays for our residents and identifying quality employment opportunities close to home is a longterm priority. Still, Chisago Lakes is fortunate to be within relatively easy commuting distance to quality job opportunities in the Twin Cities. Commuting residents import relatively high incomes back into the county providing for a vibrant housing market and retail/service business development opportunities. While not quite accepting the “bedroom community” label, the community is not in a desperate situation regarding employment choices. KPMG, Urban Land Institute-MN, Bennett Community Consulting reports included in appendices.

PRIORITY PROJECT: TARGETED BUSINESS ATTRACTION Key Activities Promote easier tele-commuting Make Chisago Lakes more competitive as a manufacturing location

Better understand the retail expansion opportunities in the Chisago Lakes Area

Continue retail recruitment for our Main Streets

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Complete the Community Technology Center Work with legislators to obtain property tax equalization relief

4th quarter

Chisago City EDA

Ongoing

Chisago Lakes Chamber, Cities

Work with legislators to obtain funding for continued Highway 8 improvements Gather additional data around retail leakage and the current retail mix

Ongoing

Chisago Lakes Chamber, Cities

3rd quarter

Chisago Lakes Chamber

Identify small retailing entities in similar markets that may be seeking expansion opportunities

Ongoing

City EDAs

Maintain marketing material and available building inventories. Continue to offer 1% storefront renovation loans to businesses. Consider use of “pop-up” stores to assist new business formation

Continuous

City EDAs

Continuous

City EDAs

Continuous

City EDAs

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Expected Outcomes  Utilize the Marketing and Branding materials for business attraction  Pursue completion of the Community Technology Center  Maintain strong relationships with the Chisago County HRA/EDA Relationship to other plan components The community technology center is a high priority to enable high tech entrepreneurship and to allow commuters to become tele-workers, thus bringing those high wage jobs to the community in a virtual way. Long-term industrial attraction is tied to the Workforce of the Future initiative so that existing and prospective employers, faced with growing needs for quality workforce will see Chisago Lakes’ workforce as a competitive advantage. Retail expansion and attraction is tied to the Arts, Culture and Tourism and the Marketing/Branding initiatives. Key Team Members:  Cathy Bennett, Bennett Community Consulting  Nancy Hoffman, Chisago County HRA/EDA  Wendy Redland, Chisago Lakes Chamber

“Seeing multiple organizations unite together for the good of the Chisago Lakes Area has been phenomenal. It's been so interesting finding out that most of us have been working on similar initiatives. What's really exciting is the momentum that has been sparked because of the ABC grant. The energy, passion, and drive with our community is truly amazing!” Deanna Nelson, St Croix Regional Medical Center

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PRIORITY PROJECT: HEALTHY COMMUNITY ‘Enhance the health, happiness and longevity of Chisago Lakes residents through Blue Zones or other similar health framework. Background In healthy communities, people live longer with lower health care costs, they have more social connection, and are happier. There are several health oriented stakeholder organizations in Chisago Lakes that are extremely interested in achieving all of these objectives, including Chisago County Public Health, St. Croix Regional Medical Center, Fairview Health System, Hazelden Betty Ford; and Ecumen Parmly LifePointes. These previously disconnected community health initiatives are increasingly connected at the staff level with plans to embrace a common language and increase coordination at these organizations’ leadership levels so as to present a coordinated and collaborative approach to community health and wellness programs. Blue Zones is a company that has developed a framework and an approach for improving public health that has captured the imagination of the Chisago Lakes Quality of Life focus team. Blue Zone Communities systematically initiate activities that result in a healthier and happier community. Physical design is an important part of the process so that walking, biking and socializing occur naturally as a part of everyday life. A team from Chisago Lakes visited Albert Lea Minnesota, a city that has been using the Blue Zone approach for some time. The team was able to discuss the strategies and progress made in Albert Lea and came away feeling very positive about undertaking a similar approach in Chisago Lakes. Chisago Lakes ABC retained Blue Zone physical community design experts Dan Burden and Samantha Thomas to conduct walkability/cycling assessments using walking tours with groups of community leaders in each of the five communities. They provided an overview of walkability concepts and visited specific locations in each community to identify opportunities for quick wins and longer-term implementation. They provided counsel on how best to work with county and state road officials to implement improvements. This assessment was valuable to both the Blue Zones team as well as the Trails team. Burden and Thomas presented Blue Zone concepts at the ABC Celebration. A copy of their report is included in the appendices. The Quality of Life team is now comparing similar approaches to Blue Zones, including initiatives by the State of Minnesota and Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Minnesota to analyze the cost, cost-effectiveness, funding, and partnership opportunities.

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PRIORITY PROJECT: HEALTHY COMMUNITY Key Activities Work collaboratively toward implementing wellbeing strategies within our communities

Enhance well-being within our communities.

Promote healthy eating

Communicate wellbeing opportunities

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Continue support of the Community Leadership Team/Community Health Strategy Framework Committee

1st quarter 4th quarter

Deanna Nelson/Kathy Filbert

Meet with community healthy living partners to coordinate programs and resources. Determine the programs that currently exist, along with those to pursue. Include citizen representation. Create a common vision of healthy living.

1st quarter 4th quarter

Deanna Nelson/Kathy Filbert

1st quarter

Define Well-Being and the specific domains within it.

1st quarter

Determine community healthy living slogan.

1st quarter

Pursue grant opportunities

2nd quarter

Deanna Nelson/Kathy Filbert Deanna Nelson/Kathy Filbert Deanna Nelson/Kathy Filbert Diane Fedor

Create a comprehensive list of community connectors and services– physical, mental, social Offer 2-4 new well-being classes Work with school to complete "School Health Index Assessment" to serve as a baseline to measure progress Define "healthy eating" with Community Leadership Team/Community Health Strategic Framework committee. Continue to increase awareness of local farmers markets Ensure healthy options are a choice on the menu at 1-3 restaurants. Have farmers markets and local apple orchards deliver excess produce to local food shelves or other organizations Offer 2-4 community nutrition courses Make a plan to create 1-2 more community based gardens Hold forum educating community members on the community well-being project progression Hire wellness speaker/Blue Zones speaker for 1-3 community events

1st quarter

Noel Stensrud

3rd quarter 2nd quarter

Deanna Nelson Nancy Bargsten

3rd quarter

Nancy Bargsten

3rd quarter

Cecilia Coulter

4th quarter

Nancy Bargsten

3rd quarter

Noel Stensrud

3rd quarter 2nd quarter

Deanna Nelson Noel Stensrud

3rd quarter

Diane Fedor

2nd quarter

Deanna Nelson

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Key Activities Increase walkability within communities

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

2nd quarter 3rd quarter 2nd quarter

Dionne Kabat, Jason Riebe Dionne Kabat Noel Stensrud

4th quarter

John Olinger

Blue Zone walking audit completed Complete Safe Routes to School initiative in Taylors Falls Develop a Walk Your City campaign Promote designing a "gateway" for each community" Create trail/pathway along 288th street in Lindstrom to allow for safe passage

Expected Outcomes  The public health system and area providers will increase their collaboration effectiveness within Chisago County by completing the Wilder Collaborations Factors Inventory by 1/31/16  Promote healthy eating at restaurants within Chisago Lakes by identifying the number of healthy choices available  Complete and implement plan to communicate well-being opportunities in Chisago Lakes  Increase walkability by prioritizing and acting on recommendations from the Blue Zones audit Relationship to other plan components: This project has strong ties to other plan components. There is a strong tie around trails and active living. The promotion of local foods fits with both economic development and tourism. A healthier workforce is more productive and decreases health care costs for both public and private employers. Key Team Members:  Deanna Nelson, St. Croix Regional Medical Center - SCRMC  Kathy Filbert, Chisago County Public Health  Loretta Anderson, Hazelden Betty Ford  Nancy Bargsten, Chisago Lakes Public Health  Noel Stensrud, Chisago Lakes Area Community Foundation

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PRIORITY PROJECT: CHISAGO LAKES WATER TRAIL (CLWT) ‘Create a water trail connecting our cities and natural resources by way of area lakes.’ Background With “Lakes” in our name, the Trails team has been collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to create a Chisago Lakes Water Trail that will encourage canoeists and kayakers to circumnavigate Chisago Lakes. The trail involves multiple lakes and provides a mix of urban and rural experience. The Chisago Lakes Water Trail provides a bookend to the existing and well-recognized Saint Croix River water trail, a Wild and Scenic River at Taylors Falls. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provided this information: “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its local community partners manage the first and largest Water Trails system in the nation, which started in 1963. The Minnesota State Water Trail system consists of 34 Water Trails, over 4,500 miles of routes, and over 1,500 facilities (public water accesses, campsites, rest areas and portages). State Water Trails are managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. In addition to the State Water Trail system, the DNR routinely assists local communities in providing water recreation opportunities for public water access, camping, etc. This can include development of facilities, such as the existing public water accesses in the Chisago Lakes area. It can also include technical assistance and GIS mapping data for the development of Local Water Trail system such as the Chisago Lakes area project that is emerging as a very interesting lake-based Water Trail with “loop route” options. The DNR can also assist in promoting Local Water Trails. I look forward to continuing to work with local Chisago Lakes area leaders as they develop and promote their Local Water Trail system.” The Chisago Lakes Water Trail is a plan to link the local lakes for kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing and camping. The intent is to provide a venue for those who don’t have the time or adventure experience for northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, for both residents and visitors. One Eagle Scout is already on board to build two campsites along the Water Trail.

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Chisago Lakes is a recreational area and the Chisago Lakes Water Trail is another opportunity to expand our options. Not only will this trail provide recreational opportunities, the intent is to couple the experience with our local retail establishments; restaurants, bars, motels and shopping. The project would include:  5 Canoe Trail Access Point signs and maps  14 Portage Signs  2 Pedestrian portage signs  3 lockable Canoe Storage Racks  3 Canoe Rental Kiosks

PRIORITY PROJECT: CHISAGO LAKES WATER TRAIL (CLWT) Key Activities Hold a Water Trail Summit Physical creation of the water trail.

Market the water trail

By When

By Whom

Contact stakeholders, including DNR, other water trail organizations, etc. Host the water trail summit in Chisago County Test the water trail routes with students and residents.

Key Steps

Completed

John Olinger

2nd quarter

John Olinger

Prepare portages and camp sites Purchase and install signage Purchase and install canoe & kayak racks and boats. Create maps & brochures.

2nd quarter 2nd quarter 2nd quarter

Team Team Team

1st quarter

MN DNR

Market to area residents through local media and schools Include as an attraction on the Chisago Lakes website Water trail grand opening celebration

2nd quarter3rd quarter 3rd quarter

Team

July 2016

Team

Completed

Team

Expected Outcomes  Water trail opens July 2016  100 boat subscriptions calendar year 2016  100 boat ad hoc uses by visitors calendar year 2016 Relationship to other plan components The water trail has a strong relationship to many of the plan elements, including the community health initiative, arts/culture/tourism, economic development, branding and marketing initiative. Key Team Members:  John Olinger, Lindstrom City Administrator  Kurt Schneider, Chisago County Environmental Services Director  Erik Wrede, MN DNR Water Trail Coordinator Chisago Lakes MN

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PRIORITY PROJECT: SWEDISH IMMIGRANT REGIONAL TRAIL ‘Complete the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail, and improve walkability throughout.’ Background The Swedish Immigrant Trail, a biking and walking trail connecting each Chisago Lakes community via 15 miles of city and countryside, follows the historic trail of the Immigrants from the St. Croix River disembarking station in Taylors Falls to Chisago Lakes. The Swedish Immigrant Trail will connect with the Sunrise Prairie Trail on the county’s western edge to Taylors Falls, providing access to many of the Chisago Lakes attractions. In addition to serving tourists, the trail would provide safe walking and biking for Chisago Lakes’ residents. Community champions have been actively engaged in understanding the constraints holding back trail development. Chisago County staff has been working with the Trails team to move this project forward, focusing on advocacy and opportunity. A new Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail segment has just opened, adding momentum to the initiative. The trail is a recognized route by both the Minnesota DNR and regional trail planning organizations, with links to the larger trail system at both east and west ends. This provides connections to Duluth to the north and the Twin Cities to the south, creating one of the largest loop trails in the United States. The vision for the trail emerged more than 25 years ago and incremental progress has been made with several trail segments completed. A sense of urgency to complete the trail has emerged from the ABC community participation process. In addition, several prospective funding sources may be nearing an end, adding more motivation to complete the trail. There is a sense that gathering and sustaining county investment in the Swedish Immigrant Trail is the most powerful activity for the ABC Trails Team. According to Chisago County staff, he can feel the momentum for the trail building and that the ABC’s trail teamwork is having a positive effect.

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PRIORITY PROJECT: SWEDISH IMMIGRANT REGIONAL TRAIL Key Activities Advocate for the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Provide information to the public about the trail and the steps necessary for completion

Ongoing

Team

Collect signatures on petitions, both paper and online, to document citizen support to key decision makers Advocate with the Minnesota DNR regarding trail completion through Interstate Park to Taylors Falls. Present information to key decision makers

In process

Team

1st quarter

Team

Continuous

Team

Expected Outcomes  1000 signatures gathered  Tern Avenue Trail Segment completed  Connection Trail (Shafer to Tern) funded  Presentation to the Chisago County board of commissioners  Grant applications submitted to various funders including Legacy Funds, DNR, other  Funding obtained at the legislature  Hire lobbyist to assist Relationship to other plan components The completion of the Swedish Immigrant Trail is closely related to the Community Health Initiative and to the Arts/Culture/Tourism strategies. It will provide an additional asset for promotion through the website and become part of the Chisago Lakes brand. Key Team Members:  Joe Sausen, Chisago County Parks Board  Laird Mork, Chisago County Parks Director  Kurt Schneider, Chisago County Environmental Services Division

“When completed, the Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail between Taylors Falls and Wyoming will be a wonderful year-round options for walkers, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts and will attract tourists and economic opportunity to the area as well!” Chisago County Parks and Trails

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PRIORITY PROJECT: ENSURE CONTINUED COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT VIA THE MINNESOTA DESIGN TEAM AND BLANDIN FOUNDATION COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP PROGRAM Background Fresh ideas and energized leadership are critical for community progress. Chisago Lakes is committed to having plenty of each as it continues efforts to be America’s Best Community. Minnesota is blessed to have two significant resources available to communities that support this thinking - The Minnesota Design Team and the Blandin Foundation. The Minnesota Design Team is an American Institute of Architects – Minnesota resource team of professional architects, planners, landscape architects and designers that provide volunteer services to communities centered around a three day community visit and design charrette process. Chisago Lakes is applying to host the Design Team in 2016. Several Chisago Lakes communities have had the Design Team in the past and have followed through with their recommendations, including Allemansratt Wilderness Park and the oneway paired road system in Lindstrom. An area-wide perspective would be requested for this event. Blandin Foundation supports rural communities through its Community Leadership program where approximately 20 residents spend a week learning about themselves, each other and leadership skills while considering how to improve their community. Key members of the ABC leadership team participated in this program more than 20 years ago and have advocated for a new generation of leadership to receive this training.

“Chisago Lakes has great leadership. Smart leaders are always interested in new ideas and building leadership skills. By hosting the MN Design Team and by participating in the Blandin Community Leadership Program, Chisago Lakes' leadership will be refreshed and renewed.” Bill Colman, Community Technology Advisors Corp

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PRIORITY PROJECT: ENSURE CONTINUED COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Key Activities Complete application process to the MN Design Team

Key Steps

By When

By Whom

Recruit a leadership team

December 31

Wendy Redland

Obtain financial sponsorship Complete the necessary forms

December 31 January 15

Wade Vitalis Tangi Schaapveld Wendy Redland Team

3rd quarter Complete

Team Dan Hoolihan

Await decision

Pending

Recruit attendees Attend training

2016 2017

Chisago Lakes Area Community Foundation (CLACF) CLACF CLACF

Host the site visit prior to selection Host MN Design Team visit Complete Blandin Foundation Community Leadership Program

Expected Outcomes  Minnesota Design Team $5,000 dollars raised to host the MN Design Team Design Team visits  Blandin Community Leadership Program Community selected to participate Relationship to other plan components This project has strong ties to the Healthy Community project for its affect on walkability, etc. as well as to the Arts/Culture/Tourism projects for the Design Team’s recommendations on the look and feel of the communities. Key Team Members:  Dan Hoolihan, Chisago Lakes Area Community Foundation  Noel Stensrud, Chisago Lakes Area Community Foundation  Wade Vitalis, The Drive In and Taylors Falls EDC

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SUMMARY OF OUTCOME MEASURES Chisago Lakes Branding and Marketing Initiative  Increase the number of website visitors by 25%, using the existing chamber site as a base  Increase the average number of pages viewed per visit by 25%, using the existing chamber site as a base  Ensure that 100% of key Chisago Lakes organizations – cities, county, attractions, schools, economic development, etc. have prominent links to the Chisago Lakes website using the logo as the link identifier  Increase the number of sites linking directly to the community website on a monthly basis  Capture all critical arts, culture and tourism community events on the calendar upon launch. Increase the number of events listed on the calendar each quarter Broadband     

50 Chisago Lakes businesses attend at least two training programs by 2nd quarter 100 Chisago Lakes businesses claim their Google Places by 4th quarter 2016 Public access WiFi locations in each of the five communities by 2016 Public access Gigabit connectivity in the Community Technology Center Frontier Communications completes Chisago Lakes Area CAF2 – funded improvements by 2017

Community Technology Center    

50% leased by December 2017; 90% leased by December 2018 Three new entrepreneurial enterprises by December 2017 Ten subscriber tele-commuters by December 2017 30 public access users per week by December 2017

Workforce of the Future     

5 scholarships for Career and Technical Education (CTE) by 5/16 16 students in workplace learning program by 12/16 Yearly manufacturing tours 5 companies, 50 students Complete marketing tools. Rejuvenate the CTE advisory committee with an annual meeting

Energy for Economic Development     

Project management and timeline Gantt chart by June 2016 $3,240,000 projects in completed by 2016 Clean Energy Hub completed by 2016 PACE joint powers agreement executed 100% of electricity by 2025; $40 million of economic impact

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Targeted Business Attraction  Utilize the Marketing and Branding materials for business attraction  Pursue completion of the Community Technology Center  Maintain strong relationships with the Chisago County HRA/EDA Healthy Community  The public health system and area providers will increase their collaboration effectiveness within Chisago County by completing the Wilder Collaborations Factors Inventory by 1/31/16

 Promote healthy eating at restaurants within Chisago Lakes by identifying the number of healthy choices available  Complete and implement a plan to communicate well-being opportunities in Chisago Lakes  Increase walkability by prioritizing and acting on recommendations from the Blue Zones audit

Trails/ Water trail  Water trail opens July 2016  100 boat subscriptions calendar year 2016  100 boat ad hoc uses by visitors calendar year 2016 Trails/Swedish Immigrant Regional Trail       

1000 signatures gathered Tern Avenue Trail Segment completed Connection Trail (Shafer to Tern) funded Presentation to the Chisago County board of commissioners Grant applications submitted to various funders including Legacy Funds, DNR, other Funding obtained at the legislature Hire lobbyist to assist

Continued Community Engagement  Minnesota Design Team $5,000 dollars raised to host the MN Design Team Design Team visits  Blandin Community Leadership Program Community selected to participate

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The Chisago Lakes Community thanks the sponsors of the ABC competition – Frontier Communications, Dish Network, The Weather Channel and Co-Bank for their financial support. We thank our KPMG team members, as our corporate mentor, for their economic analysis on our prospective technology center and targeted business attraction efforts. Finally, we want to thank the people of Chisago Lakes for their passion in support of our community. They have shared their time and talent, well in excess of our initial expectations, in helping to create Chisago Lake’s vibrant future.

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ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION PLAN America's - City of Lindstrom

ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION PLAN Prepared for the America’s Best Communities Competition By The People of Chisago Lakes Minnesota November 2015 Chisag...

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