Last month, the NDDC conducted its annual planning session for the 2011 Work Plan. As is the organization’s general approach, the group included board members, committee members, and other downtown stakeholders; we’ve been “crowd-sourcing” community economic development for ten years.
About three dozen people participated in at least part of the session. A good time was had by all.
The group reviewed the NDDC’s major accomplishments for 2010 and proposed work plans for 2011. Although a draft Work Plan exists, it awaits formal approval by the NDDC Board. For now, we’ll share our list of accomplishments for 2010. As always, our accomplishments (and plans) are organized by the National Trust’s Main Street Program.
- Programmed seventh year of the NDDC Downtown Forums including St. Olaf College President David Anderson, City Administrator Joel Walinski, Hospital Administrator Mark Henke, Mayor Mary Rossing, State Representative David Bly, State Senator Kevin Dahle, Carleton College President Steve Poskanzer, and Interim City Administrator Tim Madigan, bringing together between two and three dozen people to discuss issues important to the downtown and Northfield.
- Conducted the third year of monthly “Be Local” Campaign in Northfield Entertainment Guide, viewed by 10,000 people throughout the region.
- Shared the NDDC’s “Ten Reasons to Make It a Weekend in Northfield” and list of a dozen key contacts with EDA’s video production consultant, Blue Moon.
- Helped relaunch, as a member of the State Steering Committee the Minnesota Main Street Program, networking on ideas, experiences and programs and generating initiatives with proven success for quick implementation.
- Initiated collaborations with St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges on increasing marketing leverage for students, their families and alumni, including support of both Presidents and meetings with key staff members.
- Programmed the 5th Annual Taste of Northfield, bringing 5,000 people, including visitors from all around the region, to downtown.
- Provided logistical, marketing and/or financial support to such downtown events as Carnegie Library Birthday Party, Girls Nite Out, Riverwalk Market Fair, JuneBug, Bike Trail Celebration, Vintage Band Festival, Crazy Daze, Boutique Crawl and Low Brow High Octane, which attracted thousands of visitors to downtown during the Spring and Summer months.
- Conducted the NDDC’s 6th Annual Welcome Students Campaign, distributing informational letters and window signs to approximately 175 retailers, downtown directories to campuses, Welcome Student flyers, in collaboration with the Northfield News, to all first-year students, and, this year, succeeded in getting “Exploring Northfield” as a structured event on the student schedules, bringing over 500 new students downtown.
- Programmed the NDDC 10th Birthday Celebration, bringing 600 people downtown on a cold winter night and promoting some of our local music talent.
- Launched and produced the “Be Local…Buy Local” campaign, an initiative promoted in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and designed to encourage shopping locally, connecting our promotional efforts through the use of a shared logo.
- Created Downtown Northfield Facebook page, to increase communication with a younger and regional audience, generating almost 900 “friends” in six months, and drawing from Minneapolis, Rochester, St. Paul and Northfield, who get three or four updates each week on downtown events and promotions. Also served as a primary communication tool during the recent flooding.
- Created Google CommunityWalk Map for downtown, an electronic, interactive map of downtown with photos, addresses and contacts for the businesses, including links to their websites, posted on nddc.org which receives 60 to 120 visits per day.
- Achieved, with these two accomplishments, one of the NDDC’s goals for 2010 of becoming a leader in Northfield in using the new Web 2.0 Social Media.
- Updated, printed and distributed, for the fifth year, the Downtown Parking Guide, along with an informational letter, to approximately 150 businesses downtown businesses as part of our “Save the Best Parking for Our Customers” campaign.
- Assembled, for monthly collaborative exchanges, the City of Northfield, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Planning Commission, Carleton College, St. Olaf College, Save the Depot Group, and building and business owners for collaborative efforts in support of downtown development.
- Advocated, through the NDDC Board, actions supporting the Comprehensive Plan, the Downtown Framework Plan, and the Mayor’s Streetscape Task Force.
- Co-sponsored the Northfield Transit Initiative’s community discussion and the Save the Depot Committee’s public planning process.
- Provided City Boards & Commissions with legacy documents including the Walker Parking Study, the Stolley Parking Report, and the Westside Design Guidelines.
- Participated in the Roundtable Group’s Master Planning Session, providing historic background information and materials.
- Worked with downtown businesses and city staff to enhance communication during the 4th Street Reconstruction Project.
- Conducted 12 monthly Board Business Visits, gathering and sharing information with a variety of downtown businesses.
- Conducted 12 as-appropriate Marketing Committee Visits, celebrating new or relocating downtown businesses.
- Worked with Northfield Police Department to address vandalism in downtown, seeking a mutually beneficial, cost-saving private-public partnership.
- Encouraged communication between downtown property owners and Northfeld City Council on business priorities for the budget balancing process.
- As a member of the EDA’s In-fill and Redevelopment Subcommittee, helped draft the EDA’s Policy for the Acquisition of Real Estate.
- Maintained a list of potential properties, with summary and contact information, for in-fill and redevelopment opportunities.
- Initiated the EDA’s Emergency Flood Loan Program, sharing information about the programs with over a dozen building and business owners.
- Refocused organizational activities and resources on Business Recruitment.
- Developed a Market Position Statement for downtown to guide recruitment and support marketing.
- Created a “Locate Your Business in Downtown Northfield” marketing piece.