By Dale Vander Linden
DELANO, MN A group of citizens in the Delano area are coming together to apply for another Healthy Community Partnership (HCP) grant through the Initiative Foundation.
“The HCP works with communities to engage local citizens in planning for the future. HCP helps entire communities identify their unique assets, needs and goals, based on the premise that everyone who is affected by a decision should have an opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process, according to the Initiative Foundation.
“In HCP, there is a level playing field, and every voice is of equal importance. Sharing of various perspectives is critical to the visioning and planning processes.”
The concept is designed to “turn dreams into reality.”
Delano has been part of the program before, starting in 2000. The group was called the Delano Dream Team, and was the catalyst directly and indirectly for many positive changes in the area at that time. Delano is a community that has many citizens, businesses, and organizations working to secure a strong future for the area.
If Delano is accepted into this round of the HCP, it will provide an opportunity to bring all of them together and focus on common goals as was done in 2000.
The purpose of the grant is to develop the framework needed to ascertain the priority of projects that the community desires. The grant proceeds are not for any particular capital projects but for conceptualization of the needs.
Thirty people met Jan. 21 at the Three Crows to lay the ground work for the grant. A brainstorming session was held to provide for inputs to the following concepts required to be addressed in the grant application:
1. Describe your community?
2. What encourages you about your community?
3. What challenges are you facing in your community?
4. What demographic, economic, or social trends is your community aware of which may influence your future?
5. How will the local government use this process as a tool for community development?
6. Is your community working with surrounding townships and other communities to plan for the future?
7. Do you have a common vision for the future that has been supported by a large number of citizens in the community sometime during the last three years?
The 2000 Dream Team effort identified three top concerns as follows with some of the results listed:
1. Downtown revitalization and beautification including the riverfront
• Farmers market
• Adopt-a-pot contest for downtown planters
• Big Woods Garden Club
• Paint the Town - downtown building and bridge
• Annual river clean-up
• Water monitoring of the Crow River
2. Increase of the versatility of the parks in the area
• Trail system joining city to Rebecca Park
• Improvement of parks
• Signs for local parks
3. Expansion of the Common Grounds Coffeehouse youth outreach program.
Other items identified and worked on:
• New library
• New senior center
• New city strategic plan
• New city hall
If we are accepted into this round of the HCP, the commitment to the program will be approximately 18 months with the individual task forces setting their own timelines.
The timeline will include local monthly meetings, as well as the Initiative Foundation training sessions that 15 of our group will have to commit to and the visioning meeting and planning sessions:
Training for core group includes from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Little Falls March 19, April 16, and August 6.
June/July - Community visioning meeting in Delano
July/August - Community goal setting in Delano
September - Action planning meeting in Delano
September 2010 - Annual community meeting in Delano
This is another opportunity for exciting times in Delano.
The state of the economy makes it even more important that we step up and improve the community through citizen action. Please join us.