University of Minnesota

Central Minnesotans to unveil their first community driven, 25-year plan for economic, environmental sustainability at Aug. 14 event

August 2, 2012

Central Minnesota’s first community driven, University of Minnesota-assisted master plan for economic and environmental sustainability will be unveiled at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes in Baxter, Minn.

On hand will be U.S. Sen. Al Franken, University of Minnesota Extension Dean Bev Durgan and more than 200 residents from Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties who directly contributed to the plan’s development. The celebration will also include the announcement of "regional champions"— residents nominated by their peers to play a key role in the plan’s implementation.

Spearheaded by Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships program (RSDP) and the Region Five Development Commission, the Central Minnesota Sustainable Development Plan (CMSDP)—locally referred to as the ‘Resilient Region Project’— drew heavily on the expertise of university faculty, staff and students. The plan’s recommendations target affordable housing, broadband access, demographic shifts, economic development, education and workforce improvement, energy and transportation options, health care access and natural resource management.

Event participants will include Commissioner of Minnesota Housing Mary Tingerthal; Minnesota Commissioner of Agriculture David Frederickson; Minnesota Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Mark Phillips; U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer; and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office for Sustainable Housing and Communities Director Shelly R. Poticha. A reception with entertainment provided by The Theater of Public Policy will follow.

“Community driven, university-assisted is a theme throughout Extension’s work and the driving force behind the university’s partnership with the Central Minnesota community on this landmark initiative,” says Kathryn Draeger, RSDP statewide director who oversaw the plan’s development.  “The Central Minnesota Sustainable Development Partnership office will continue to provide resources, assistance and expertise to the implementation of the plan, but it will be the communities—in this case, the project’s “Regional Champions”— that will drive the project forward.”

The event and reception is free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged, but not required. Contact Ann Hanson, Region Five Development Commission, at 218-894-3233 for details.

The CMSDP was made possible by an $825,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  RSDP is a unit of Extension that works to vitalize greater Minnesota by addressing community-identified issues. For more information, visit

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