Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - April 26, 2006

Design team to visit Paynesville again

By Addi Larson

A spring 2007 visit from the Minnesota Design Team to generate ideas for the community was announced last month, and last week the Paynesville City Council held a special meeting at city hall to consider applying for the Healthy Community Partnership program through the Central Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

The Minnesota Design Team, which began as the Governor's Design Team in 1983, last visited Paynesville in 1990. Among the ideas raised during that visit were: a new airport, a bed and breakfast, a community center, lake restoration, parks and trails, a senior center, and Star City designation, all of which were brought to fruition or started in Paynesville.

Civic officials lobbied for a return visit by the Minnesota Design Team because they feel the town is poised for great changes again. Whereas the city was stagnant in 1990 and the design team visit helped spark ideas for improvements, including the city's efforts to redo the streets in town, now civic leaders see the number of annexations to the city and the future expansion of Highway 23 and believe another visit by the design team could help incorporate beautification and utility for a growing bedroom community.

Dave Frank, a representative for the initiative foundation's Healthy Communities Partnership, presented a synopsis of the program and its benefits during last week's meeting of the council and their design team committee. Frank encouraged the council members to file an application for the Healthy Community Partnership and to form respective committees, both of which the council did.

According to Frank, Healthy Community Partnership will work independent of the Minnesota Design Team to develop the capacities of the Paynesville community in order to create a locally shared vision and plan, while mobilizing local and regional assets toward implementing those plans. "We think if you have trained leaders, the money's gonna get put to better use," Frank said.

Healthy Community Partnership, an agency for community development, offers training to eight communities in central Minnesota each year, which includes technical assistance, resource referrals, and an initial grant of $10,000. Healthy Community Partnership offers an additional $5,000 to match $2,500 raised by the city each year for two years.

The Minnesota Design Team will bring a group of professionals (a dozen or so) to Paynesville for a weekend in the spring of 2007 to tour the community, listen to concerns, and generate ideas for the community to pursue. The more preparatory work done by the community before this actual visit, the more productive this visioning with the Minnesota Design Team will be, the city has been told.

The Healthy Community Partnership would assist the community in preparing for that design team visit, hopefully making it more productive. Because Paynesville has already been selected for a design team visit, their inclusion in the Healthy Community Partnership seems very likely.

This summer will involve organizing task forces, setting goals, and evaluating assets. "We focus on long-term planning and commitment and set up community task forces to focus on that plan," Frank said. There are usually 4-6 task forces, each made up of approximately 12 people. Involved citizens will have the opportunity to vote on members and leaders.

There will be three training periods with Healthy Community Partnership, set for early October; early November; and early December. Each of the workshops cover different aspects of the training and usually run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exact dates will be set this July when the city registers with the Healthy Community Partnership.

In January or February, task forces will meet prior to the Minnesota Design Team visit to discuss specific visions. The design team will then visit in March and again in May or June next year to execute the plans of a more prepared community team.

Usually communities hold a kick-off luncheon fundraiser with a projected goal of $5,000. Also, local businesses and organizations will be approached for monetary support.

Community health, natural resources, and public safety were three areas of need recognized at last week's meeting. The current design team committee will be contacting prospective task force members through May - areas of need include teens, young adults, seniors, and minorities - and will meet again to decide and to review the Healthy Community Partnership application, which is due July 1, 2006.

"The future is not determined," said Frank. "It's in your hands as a community to bring it all together."

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community