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One-by-one, sixteen local leaders from multiple neighboring
rural communities, courageously, yet with some hesitancy, walked through the
door of the community room. They did not know what to expect from this
gathering. They didn’t even all know each other. The group, representing city
councils, county commission, and economic development corporation, had been
personally invited by the county-wide economic development director to hear
from a special guest on the topic of how they could work better together to
make their region stronger.
As each leader entered the room the smell of pizza greeted
them, making them feel welcome. After some small talk while they ate their
pizza, the local leaders were asked to sit down at the tables that had
purposely been positioned into a large rectangle, so they could see each other.
The meeting began with introductions and each of them shared why they chose to
be a leader. The group was … Read More »
It all started with Judy Larson’s overflowing kitchen.
“We’d been getting together with friends to make things and
have some fun,” says Judy. “In November 2017 I had twenty adults, a bunch of
kids and three dogs crammed into my house making lavender bath bombs. It was crazy!
A few of us had heard about maker spaces and thought that would solve
our space problem.”
The group decided to investigate a few possibilities around
the Lemmon area.
“We looked at some spaces, but we didn’t want to spend all
our energy figuring out how to take care of overhead expenses. We decided not
to invest in a building, but just to work around it. Once we took the need for
dedicated physical space off the table, it opened up all kinds of creative
ideas,” says Judy, who now serves as the Placemakers Co-op president.
Judy explains that Placemakers Co-op embraces … Read More »
Imagine a 2,475 square foot building filled with all the
tools, resources and technology necessary to build, design, create and invent
to your hearts content. Your key card gives you full access to the building from 6 am until midnight, seven
days a week. You’ll often find workshops, classes, demonstrations and great
networking opportunities inside.
If this sounds like a dream come true, that’s because it is.
The Brookings Area Maker Space celebrated its third birthday this month and is just one more example of the endless possibilities available to an innovative rural community.
The Maker Space got its start through a USDA rural
development grant used to help purchase equipment and tools. Empty warehouse
space in the Brookings Innovation Center houses the project. The maker space is
also supported by the Brookings Office of Economic Development.
“We wanted a way to help people bring great ideas … Read More »
“When I look around a town and see neglected property, I see an opportunity. The first step is simply to see if the property can be purchased directly without any government involvement. A nice conversation is a good place to start.” stated Craig Johnson
After learning about the role of code enforcement officers
at a RuralX breakout session in 2016, Anita Holan decided to pursue the idea in
her own community of Kimball, where she serves as the Economic Development
“The more attractive a town is, the easier it is to recruit
and retain businesses,” she explains. “Quality housing is important to the
vitality of a community, and therefore
becomes important to my job in economic development.”
While at RuralX, Anita heard about Mike Olsen, a code
enforcement officer contracted in several rural communities around the area. She
talked with Mike about the needs in Kimball, and a few months later, he presented
his information to the City Council. In August 2017,
he was officially hired.
The first step in the code enforcement process involved having
Mike assess all the properties within the Kimball city limits and writing up a
list of homeowners in violation of various … Read More »