Slideshow: Northfield Economic Development Authority’s Infill and Redevelopment Committee

Subcommittee Meeting 1/28

Stay tuned for comments from the subcommittee members regarding the meeting.

Update Wednesday Jan. 28, 10:45 p.m.: I asked members of the subcommittee to write a sentence about what they believed was the most important result of the inaugural meeting. The first to respond was Victor Summa, a member of the Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA).

“With the exception of a series of rather non-public meetings in the past few years concerning the NW annexation effort, this meeting was the inaugural (your word, and an apt one) meeting of a new process for the Northfield EDA. While not all that innovative as meeting process generally goes, we have sorted our task into categories, assigned EDA members to serve on various committees and have opened these ‘sub-committee’ meetings up to more public involvement. In a sense, we have moved ourselves toward the prompt of getting ‘shovel ready,’ a term that’s been bandied about here in Northfield … argued over and redefined to fit our purposes. I found this new effort rather refreshing and reassuring.”

Update Thursday Jan. 29, 9 a.m.:

Ross Currier, executive director of the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC):

“I think the steady increase of the use of the Economic Development Partners, the Chamber, the NDDC and the NEC, by the EDA over the past year or so is a great idea that will get more leverage from our E D resources and accomplish more of our shared E D goals. The staffing of EDA subcommittees with a mix of EDA members and Partner members is more than a clear sign of collaboration, it is a powerful tool for implementation.

By the way, did you only take pictures of us looking serious? Although this group represents a wide range of economic theories, I was struck by how much we could laugh at ourselves and rib each other as we discussed our work plans. At least for me, it demonstrates the comfort and confidence we have with and in each other, and the positive energy that we are all bringing to the current challenges.”

Jody Gunderson, Northfield Economic Development Authority staff liaison:

“Today’s meeting represents the City of Northfield’s on-going inclusive approach to addressing issues that will strengthen our community and businesses utilizing our financial and intellectual resources. The Northfield Economic Development Authority is a results driven organization.”

Update Thursday Jan. 29, 10:30 a.m.:

Blake Abdella, director of the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC):

Today’s meeting demonstrated that those groups who see Northfield Infill and Redevelopment as part of their purpose, do come together constructively, in an effort to work together. I was encouraged by the openness of all participants to roll up their sleeves and get things done. I felt we left the meeting with an understanding of where we are headed as a group, some key next steps, and a commitment to the work ahead of us. Thanks to Dave Van Wylen for taking the lead with this group. I’m encouraged by today’s meeting and energized to take action.

Update Thursday Jan. 29, 1:15 p.m.

Kathy Feldbrugge, executive director of the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce:

“Local economic development partners and stakerholders understand the importance of working together and identifying action items that need to be accomplished in order to enhance, grow and develop the local business community and ensure economic prosperity for the Northfield area.”

Update Friday Jan. 30, 8:45 a.m.:

David Van Wylen, chairman of the Infill and Redevelopment Committee:

I think the most important aspect to the meeting was the development of a common sense of purpose in regards to the issue of infill and redevelopment in Northfield.



Filed under Economic development

5 responses to “Slideshow: Northfield Economic Development Authority’s Infill and Redevelopment Committee

  1. Tracy

    Cool… thanks, Bonnie!

  2. I’m glad you liked it Tracy, check back to the post for input from the committee members. The first one is already in, by Victor Summa.

  3. kiffi summa

    I see the work of the EDA as covering some of the very most important issues the community faces at this time.
    The annexation(s) which play a huge role in NF’s future , as well as that of the townships in which those would occur (G’vale and B’water) is a major work in progress that needs to balanced with the concerns of all involved. We need to do better than the last B’water annexation which was so fraught with problems that it created a permanent negative file in the department’s (state of MN) records. It would be to the City’s advantage to hold a listening session with Twp. residents to hear their concerns. (I can hear Brian O’Connell groaning now!)

    The EDA has that problem ‘outside’ of town, and then another serious one right in the core of NF, the Downtown. The downtown has had, and will continue to have, many economic problems as the nature of small town business districts change. The EDA should be the author of new programs to work on those issues, and that vaunted ‘toolbox’ will have to develop quickly, and have flexibility be the Name of the Game.

    I think it is essential that the EDA have their meetings taped and available to the public on NTV, as the council meetings are; and that they be seen to have a very public face which is working hard on the very diverse and evolving problems that small towns face. The downtown that is such a source of pride to residents, and an attraction to visitors, both tourists and college parents, is slipping away.

    We are moving closer to being a ‘bedroom community’ , and that’s not the vision for NF that I heard from the hundreds of people who attended the Comp Plan meetings at the Armory.

  4. I hope EDA President Rick Estenson will weigh in on this and/or related topics. I give him much credit for some of the changes we’re seeing in their process.

    Let’s face it, Northfield has experienced some significant challenges over the past few years and every community is now facing even more serious challenges, heck, threats, to their economic vitality. The EDA is a volunteer group, most of whom have full-time jobs, trying to make progress on an incredible workload.

    EDA members and their staff openly acknowledged yesterday that the annexation consumed more of their resources last year than anticipated and took longer than planned. They comfortably criticized themselves for maybe being a bit optimistic.

    In order to meet the increasing challenges, they are ratcheting up their efforts. While continuing to move forward on the Northwest Territories, they are reviewing the possibilities west of Armstrong Road and even, so I’ve heard rumors, analyzing the obstacles and opportunities in Waterford Township.

    The EDA is also working to stimulate development within the city limits, thus the title of this committee, “In-fill and Redevelopment”. My sense is that the leadership of the EDA wants to speed up the work on these, and other, initiatives and that the plan is to shift some of the work (not policy decisions) to the subcommittees.

    Yesterday the group took a broad over-view of the process, including evaluating our current inventory of the available properties, considering the effectiveness of our current offering of programs, as well as the possibilities of refining our processes, and emphasizing the importance of effectively marketing our “whole package”, including the properties, programs, and all of Northfield’s considerable assets. Each one of us came away with assignments that are supposed to be completed before we meet again in two weeks.

    I would also like to praise the subcommittee’s Chair, David Van Wylen, for his work on yesterday’s meeting. His e-mail sketch of potential topics for the meeting served as an effective and efficient plan of action and his style of facilitation allowed exploration and development of individual viewpoints while still keeping the meeting moving forward and the discussion productive.

    I would like to acknowledge the many unique contributions of all the attendees, Jody Gunderson, from the City of Northfield, Blake Abdella, of the Northfield Enterprise Center, Kathy Feldbrugge, of the Chamber of Commerce, Marty Benson, of the EDA, and Victor Summa, also of the EDA. By including their varied viewpoints, I believe that the resulting product will be more successful.

    Finally, I would like to thank the EDA for inviting me, as representative of the NDDC, in the process. I work hard to not only speak for the downtown but for both of our commercial districts and all of our existing businesses.

  5. Bonnie Obremski

    Wow thanks for so much input folks!

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