By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN The Howard Lake Thriving Communities program will soon be applying for a grant for financial assistance to implement the projects being planned by each task force.
Members of the three task forces have been meeting for a few months to plan projects which can take place this year.
The grant being applied for from the Initiative Foundation is $20,000, and requires a match of $10,000. In-kind work qualifies as part of the matching money for the grant.
Youth and future development
The youth and future development task force is working to coordinate two projects.
One of the projects is designing a brochure or packet listing the resources available in the community for children and families.
The other project is to survey middle and high school youth in the community to find out their needs and wants.
The Initiative Foundation provides assistance in coordinating an open conversation between youth and adults.
Active involvement by youth strengthens young people’s ability to affect change by giving them opportunities to become more skilled, confident, and motivated, according to the Initiative Foundation.
As a result, young people are better able to determine their own destiny in life, and to positively affect the destiny of their community.
Quality of life
The quality of life task force has several projects it would like to implement this year.
One of the projects is to plant shade trees, and landscape the entrance at Lions Park to make it more appealing for families and others who want to enjoy the lake.
Although there is a shelter at the park, it is difficult to see over the lip of the beach if sitting back that far.
Placing shade trees closer to the beach will make it easier for parents to keep an eye on small children playing in the water.
The task force would also like to implement an adopt-a-pot program in the community, which would replace the hanging basket program.
It was noted that hanging baskets cause people to look up and miss things that are available in Howard Lake, whereas pots draw the eyes down, highlighting business entrances.
The final project the quality of life task force would like to take place in the near future is placing floating bogs on Dutch Lake.
Floating bogs use recycled materials and plants which help clean nutrient-polluted waters and provide habitat for fish, waterfowl, and other aquatic species.
The economy task force is in the process of surveying all the businesses in Howard Lake and surrounding townships, and is receiving a good response, according to Kelly Hinnenkamp.
It has also established a committee to design entrance signs for Howard Lake to highlight the community.
Although it may not be possible to establish this year, the economy task force is actively planning a farmers market for Howard Lake.
Another project the economy task force would like to see move forward is painting and lighting the old city hall building.
However, other funding options will have to be sought, since the task force was denied a grant from Valspar Paint for the painting.
A $5,000 quote has been received from Pettit Painting in Howard Lake to paint old city hall.
Other projects the committee is planning are more-noticeable signs to highlight parking, installing information kiosks downtown, and creating a business improvement committee.