From broadband projects to rehabilitated school buildings, communities across Minnesota are making ambitious dreams come true despite the recession. On Sunday, 13 of those communities were honored at the State Fair for their efforts, receiving prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000 as winners of the 25th Anniversary Minnesota Community Pride competition.
Best of Class winners for comprehensive community improvements were:
• Lanesboro (communities with up to 999 residents) for creating a marketplace that enhances access to local foods by connecting local growers and producers with consumers.
• Greater Staples (communities of 1,000-4,999) for a broadband initiative that involves the installation of fiber optic lines to bring high speed internet access to all homes and businesses in the community.
• Glencoe (communities of 5,000 -10,000) for restoring the Henry Hill School building and launching plans to convert it into a city center.
• Willmar (neighborhoods within cities of 10,000+) for creating the Willmar Design Center to help revive and reinvigorate the city’s historic downtown neighborhood.
The program is co-sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair, MinnPost, The Blandin Foundation and Minnesota Rural Partners, Inc. They worked together to organize the summer-long competition and Sunday’s event as part of the Reinventing Minnesota initiative, to lift up innovations across the state that help Minnesota thrive.