March NDDC Board meeting summary

Joe Grundhoefer

In its March meeting the NDDC board set the stage for its 2007 Partnership Campaign and reviewed NDDC activities over the past month.Joe Grundhoefer, NDDC vice president and owner of J. Grundy’s Reub’n’stein, has agreed to chair the 2007 Partnership Campaign. Board members Robert Bierman, of Bierman’s Home Furnishings, and Renee Huckle, of Northfield News and Cannon Valley Printing, agreed to join Joe on the campaign committee. The committee will lead the board in carrying out the campaign during May and June. The NDDC’s financial support comes in roughly equal proportions from this annual campaign and from economic development activities to strengthen downtown that are funded by the Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA).

The Northfield Retail Support Strategies (RSS) project, being conducted jointly with the Chamber of Commerce, with EDA funding, was successfully launched in March. Executive Director Ross Currier reported that the initial meeting of the RSS Task Force revealed enthusiasm for the topic and produced good ideas for further investigation. The committee is composed of three members from downtown and three from the Highway 3 business area, each trio representing retail, restaurant and service businesses. Its work is to be completed in July.

Board members and staff met with Joel Walinski, the City’s director of public services, Ross Currier reported. Currier and board members urged Walinski to support downtown improvements in several ways. They learned that he will continue the City’s recent pattern of doing major downtown street cleanup and cross-walk and parking striping before the Memorial day weekend. He also is enthusiastic about the multi-year Streetscape Improvement Program (funded by increased property tax revenues from new development in the downtown district). In the third year of its ten-year life, the program pays for physical improvements to public property, such as the brick crosswalks at Bridge Square and the Library “plaza” at Third and Division. This summer, the NDDC will work with the City to minimize short-term disruption that will be caused by projects on both sides of the river.

President Dan Bergeson reported that, following Board approval in the February meeting, he sent letters to the mayor and city council on two issues. One letter urged the council to support the Library Board’s request to conduct a concept design study of Library expansion possibilities on the current site, before considering relocating the Library. The second letter supports routing the Mill Towns Trail through Downtown.

Submitted by Keith Covey, Board Secretary