Category Archives: Arts, Recreation and Culture Committee

Mill Towns Trail Bridge to be Installed

TrailBridgeErection 003.jpg…tomorrow.

After getting an announcement from Mill Towns Trail advocate Peggy Prowe that the bicycle bridge over the Cannon River was going to be lifted and put in place, with the north and south sections joined together, and a tip from Mayor Mary Rossing the the event would occur Monday, April 27th, at 9 a.m., I headed over to catch the action. It was a “nipping and eager air” this morning, and noticing very little action, I returned to the office. Continue reading Mill Towns Trail Bridge to be Installed

NDDC Follows Up with Mayor, Council on Quality of Life Issues

GraffitiWestSide.jpgIt seems that every year as soon as the weather begins to warm up, we experience some “quality of life” issues in certain areas of downtown. For the past three or four years, the NDDC has met with our elected officials, city staff and the police department in an effort to address these issues.

We sent the letter reprinted below to the Mayor and Council. Mayor Rossing recently contacted me and said that the issue has been queued up for discussion and action. Continue reading NDDC Follows Up with Mayor, Council on Quality of Life Issues

Ten Reasons to Visit Northfield

RossAtBob's.jpgEarlier this week, I attended a brain-storming session with the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). The focus was on identifying as many visitor-attracting assets as possible, particularly those beyond the “usual suspects”.

Everyone was asked to name a local attraction for visitors and encouraged to stretch their minds a bit. Folks came up with a number of items, and I’ll categorize them generally as natural beauty, recreational opportunities, historic sites (and stories), arts and culture, or food and shopping.

Hayes Scriven, Northfield Historical Society executive director and, finally, member of the CVB board, reminded us, as he always does, that you need a package of ten of these attractions to encourage visitors to spend the night in Northfield. I thought about my own experience as a visitor.

My wife and I checked out Hibbing for our 25th wedding anniversary. Admittedly, we’re pretty big fans of Bob Dylan. However, even for those who might not appreciate his music, there’s a lot to do in that far northern town.

Here I am in front of the house in which Bob lived until he graduated from high school. I had recently read a biography of Bob and located the site on our way into town. The Chamber of Commerce was our next stop, they sponsor the annual Dylan Days, and we picked up their “Short & Unauthorized Tale of Bob Dylan’s Life in Hibbing”. They also had a number of cool posters from Dylan Days.

We then headed over to the public library and checked out the exhibit of historic Bob memorabilia. The library also had maps of the Bob Dylan Walk. By the way, Hibbing’s downtown is very walkable. We checked on the impressive Androy Hotel, site of Bob’s Bar Mitzvah, and the spectacular 1923 Hibbing High School, just outside the central business district, from which Bob graduated, with 424 others, in 1959.

Then we did the shopping thing (passing by the Agudeth Achim Synagogue on the way) including Rupar Music (formerly Crippa Music) where Bob heard all the latest releases and I admired the guitars, and the St. Vincent de Paul, where we found some overalls for our youngest daughter. We were aided in our purchasing excursion by the Downtown Hibbing Shopping Guide, sponsored by the Downtown Merchants Association.

Then it was time for a late lunch. We, of course, ate at Zimmy’s, surrounded by images of Bob.

That’s only nine things; I had to be at a meeting the next morning and so our exploration was cut short. However, on the way out of town, we swung by North Hibbing and saw the mine that was once the location of the original town of Hibbing and Bob’s home. Then we bought gas and hit the highway.

So Hayes is right, it takes ten things, and enough vacation days, to get folks to spend the night. If you’ve got some ideas of things to be included in Northfield’s package, swing into the Historic Society and mention them to Hayes.

Tell him Ross sent you.

HPC and NHS Initiate Web-based Marketing of Northfield’s History

DowntownNewUlm.jpgSteve Edwins, of the Historic Preservation Commission, and Hayes Scriven, of the Northfield Historical Society, quickly assembled a group of interested parties for a meeting this morning. The topic was the creation of a website, or at least a web presence, of what was referred to as a “Historic Walking Tour Podcast”.

The idea, continuing threads of 10 to 20 years of various discussions, was advanced as a result of one of the sessions at the recent Historic Preservation Conference. The specific inspiration was New Ulm’s historic tour.

In addition to Edwins and Scriven (and, of course, me), Joe Hargis of Carleton College, Kathy Feldbrugge of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Lynn Young of the Northfield Public Library participated, watching New Ulm’s show and voicing their enthusiasm for the piece. Representatives of St. Olaf College and the Arts and Culture Commission were invited but unable to attend on such short notice.

Edwins suggested that the power of New Ulm’s podcast was the linking of historic sites with heritage stories. In addition to bringing history to life, the stories offer another compelling reason to visit the featured community.

He went on to cite other examples of powerful web-based “tour guides”. Grand Marais, Minnesota, Chino Hills, California and Tallinn, Estonia were among those highlighted by Edwins.

The group also explored related topics, including the need for a central and neutral portal with clear and appealing links to other sites, organized by interest areas such as arts and culture, economic development, history, and shopping. During the discussion, all the attendees voiced recognition of the effectiveness of enhancing text with images.

Everyone praised the New Ulm concept and offered their assistance to the Northfield initiative. Hayes is going to convene another, and larger, gathering in the near future, at which experienced potential resource people will present to the participants.