By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN After traveling to Howard Lake in October 2011, and spending a weekend gathering information from stakeholders in the community to create a shared vision for Howard Lake, the Minnesota Design Team will be back in town Tuesday, May 21 at 4 p.m. at Howard Lake City Hall.
Members of the community are invited to listen to HL Thrive showcase the progress they have made in making that shared vision a reality.
Some of the items that will be shared with the design team include:
• new projects and programs that have resulted from the shared vision that was created;
• the groups and individuals who have taken an active role in carrying out the shared vision;
• how existing organizations have helped realize the shared vision;
• new organizations and networks that have grown out of the shared vision;
• outside resources that have been used to achieve the shared vision;
• fundraising efforts; and
• how HL Thrive has communicated its progress with others.
Gathering at city hall Thursday, HL Thrive members discussed the progress of current projects in order to prepare for the visit.
After more than a year of what seemed like slow progress, many of the projects HL Thrive task forces have been working towards will come to fruition this summer.
For instance, the quality of life task force currently has the funding, permits, and plans ready to make improvements at Lions Park.
It took a total of seven permits from numerous government entities to bring the plan together, but each of those entities bought into the project, and are providing funding for it, noted City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller.
Although the improvements at Lions Park will total about $14,000, the cost was greatly reduced through grants and in-kind work, he added.
Another project the quality of life task force has worked on is beautifying downtown, and that will also begin this summer with the placement of cement planters along US Highway 12 east and west one block from Eighth Avenue, and one block up Eighth Avenue to city hall.
For each of these projects, Howard Lake City Council and HL Thrive have contributed funding.
The economy task force has completed plans for a Howard Lake entrance sign, and is ready to move forward as soon as the final site plan is approved by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Both the city and HL Thrive have also provided funding for this project.
The youth development task force has successfully completed the Buckets of Books program, and will be starting to develop a family resource guide.
Although final numbers are not available, Haggenmiller noted that the Buckets of Books program did better than youth development task force chair Margaret Marketon expected.
Another project in the works is developing a new website for HL Thrive and the Howard Lake Area Chamber of Commerce that is uniform with an updated website the city is creating.
In order to do so, the chamber needs a logo. A logo contest has been initiated with students at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School through HL Thrive.
Students may submit up to three pieces of work, with the winning design receiving $75, and the second- and third-place winners receiving $25 each.
“We hope to see some good stuff,” noted economy of life task force co-chair Bridget Narum.