Small Towns, Big Ideas from The McKnight Foundation

DSC02068During my online surfing yesterday I found a report commissioned by The McKnight Foundation as part of its “Food for Thought” series. This particular report is called “Small Towns, Big Ideas: Reimagining Southeast Minnesota” by Jay Walljasper and it discusses how numerous towns in southeast Minnesota, including Rochester, Winona, Northfield, and Lanesboro, are reinventing themselves in order to boost their economies and invigorate their communities.

In the intro, Neal Cuthbert, The McKnight Foundation’s Vice President of Program, writes that communities throughout Greater Minnesota are struggling to maintain their vitality in the face of numerous challenges. He points out that “Many smaller cities and towns in this [southeast] region have embraced bold imagination as a way to find their place in the future.” (pg. 2) While encouraging other rural Minnesota communities to imaginatively explore new opportunities by looking at what communities in southeast Minnesota are doing, he stresses, “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to how a community can thrive.” (pg. 2) Basically, each community should examine what it wants to be, which direction it wants to go, without feeling the need to duplicate what’s happening in another community.

Using the report as inspiration (but not as a work-plan to copy), what direction do you think Little Falls should go? How can we reinvigorate Little Falls?