Outlining Accomplishments for the City Council, the Board of Directors, and Erica Zweifel

The year-end is a time for family gatherings, last-minute shopping, holiday celebrations…and reporting.  NDDC staff presented reports to the City Council, the Board of Directors, and a requested, customized report for Councilor Erica Zweifel.  A few people have expressed interest in the reports, so they are offered in this blog post.


NDDC Contract with the Northfield City Council

Year-End Report to the Council

Prepared 12.10.12

The Comprehensive Economic Development Plan Strategies for which the NDDC provides leadership are:

Maintain and Enhance the Existing Downtown

–          Encouraged investment in stakeholders’ highest priorities: connectivity to the community, safe crossing of Highway 3, and parking enhancement

–          Focused available community resources on stakeholders priorities: CVB for regional marketing, EDA for business support, and City for website

Increase Connections with Current and Former Students

–          Based on meetings with dozens of professors at both colleges, identified over sixty projects in four strategic areas for college-community collaboration

–          Working with students from both colleges, twelve projects were completed in 2012 and two projects are already in motion for 2013

Continue to Engage the Leadership of the Colleges

–          The NDDC’s College-Community Collaboration Committee met regularly to identify, evaluate, and pursue projects of mutual interest

–          The Committee’s greatest focus was on maximizing downtown leverage from the eight big college weekends.

Leverage Existing Fiber Network

–          Highlighted “100 Mbps to your desktop in downtown Northfield” in all of our promotional materials and messages

–          Held Board-Business Brunch with downtown office users featuring St. Olaf Telephone Co.’s services available to commercial customers


The Comprehensive Economic Development Plan Strategies for which the NDDC provides collaboration are:

Concentrate on Existing Businesses

–          Continued working at State level on commercial property taxes; highlighted constructive recommendations from State Property Tax Working Group to newly elected State Senator and State Representative

–          Continued to encourage the EDA to consider enhancing the business development toolbox based on stakeholders’ stated priorities

Raise Awareness of Northfield within Region

–          Focused colleges’ visitors through distributing materials, leveraging events

–          Coordinated with CVB and EDA on shared products, markets, and messages

Coordinate Retail Strategy

–          Continued collaborations with downtown businesses, Northfield Arts Guild, Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce, and Northfield Historical Society

–          Built new collaborations with Riverwalk Market Fair


Date:                     December 10th, 2012

To:                          NDDC Community Stakeholders

From:                    NDDC Executive Director

Regarding:          2012 College-Community Collaboration Projects

Over the last six months of 2011, the NDDC met with approximately fifty professors from Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, identifying over sixty potential projects for college-community collaboration.  The projects were categorized in four strategic areas: Enhancing College-Community Communication, Strengthening Our Sense of Place, Growing the Knowledge-Worker Economy, and Securing Resources, Building Sustainability.

The first project was initiated during the “J-Term”.  Over the course of 2012, twelve community-based projects, involving approximately sixty students, representing both colleges were completed.  The projects are listed, and briefly summarized, below.

St. Olaf Class River Modeling Project:  Math Practicum students used historic data from existing engineering studies in the Army Corps of Engineers’ HEC-RAS modeling software to study potential impacts of possible built environment change, focusing on channel change, sediment transport, and flood plain areas.

St. Olaf Class Alumni Survey Project:  Anthropology students surveyed St. Olaf College alums living and/or working in Northfield to identify the community’s opportunities and challenges.

Carleton Class Alumni Survey Project:  Sociology students surveyed Carleton College alums living and/or working in Northfield to identify the community’s opportunities and challenges.

St. Olaf Class River Stories Video Project: Biology students conducted interviews with key community members to document broad and high-level perspectives on the river and the dam.

Carleton Class Documentation of Community Perspectives on the River Project:  Environmental students focused on the historic, aesthetic, and recreational aspects of the Ames Mill Dam.

St. Olaf Class River Website Research Project:  Computer Science students evaluated possible platforms for a publicly accessible website for the growing archive of river projects.

St. Olaf Class Highway Modeling Project:  Computer Science students studied the ethics of software modeling of Highway 3, conducted cost-benefit analysis of modeling, and identified stakeholders.

St. Olaf Class River Modeling Transparency Project:  Computer Ethics students studied and recommended policies and procedures to increase transparency for citizens of the river modeling process.

St. Olaf Intern Northfield Area Urban-Rural Economy Project:  Summer Intern worked with elected officials from the four surrounding townships to document agriculture assets and income within the Northfield Area.

St. Olaf Intern Northfield Ecosystem Project:  Summer Intern gathered and analyzed industrial classification data on the Northfield economy, focusing on changes over the past decade.

Carleton River Sediment Analysis Project:  Geology students sampled river sediment and conducted analysis of its composition for enhanced transport modeling.

Carleton River Sediment Modeling Project:  Math students used sediment analysis information and ran it through the Army Corps of Engineers’ HEC-RAS modeling software to study potential sediment transport.

All of the NDDC’s initial goals for these college-community collaboration projects were achieved.  All of the student teams were successful in connecting with community members on issues important to the community.  All of the student teams were successful in gathering key information, analyzing it from a new perspective, and sharing it with community members.


Date:               December 10th, 2012

To:                  NDDC Board of Directors

From:              NDDC Executive Director

Regarding:      Summary of Activities for 2012


–  Supported EDA, NEC, and Chamber leadership transition teams at all three partner organizations and assured implementation of existing economic development plans.

–  Continued collaborations with Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges, Northfield Historical Society, Northfield Area Chamber, Riverwalk Market Fair, and Defeat of Jesse James Committee on community events.

–  Initiated collaborations with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Economic Development Authority through discussion of shared products, markets, and messages.


–  Continued Collaborations with Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges on the four big Spring and four big Autumn weekends in our community, sharing informative materials with downtown businesses and college families.

–  Coordinated with the Chamber and the Arts and Culture Commission on market and media, the Northfield Arts Guild and Northfield Historical Society on message and process, downtown businesses on events and promotions, and the U of M on web-based marketing.

–  Collaborated with the downtown businesses and the Chamber of Commerce on Small Business Saturday and Winter Walk.


–  Increased collaborations with The Roundtable, the Arts and Culture Commission, the Heritage Preservation Commission, the Save Our Post Office group, the Save Our Depot group, the Northfield Planning Commission, and the Northfield City Council on Planning.

–  Provided leadership and support for the Gateway Areas Corridor Enhancement Project, in collaboration with the City of Northfield, Northfield In Bloom, and MNDoT.

–  Continued collaborations with the colleges and other non-profits, initiated collaborations with the Northfield Parks and Recreation Board on the preservation, enhancement and enjoyment of the Cannon River Corridor.


–  Shared both externally and internally-generated historic and contemporary information on the critical need for increased parking in the downtown with City Staff and City Councilors.

–  Produced first NDDC Board-Business Brunch, focusing on the opportunities and challenges of downtown office users.

–  Worked with twelve different student teams from St. Olaf or Carleton Colleges on ten different college-community projects in a variety of areas, including the Cannon River, Alumni Surveys, Data Sharing, and the Northfield Area Economy.


Date:                     December 10, 2012

To:                          Northfield City Council

From:                    Northfield Downtown Development Corporation

Regarding:          Quantification of Selected Activities


  • Provided information and materials for businesses regarding the Eight Big College Weekends to downtown businesses
    • Distributed 240 letters, 480 signs, 2,400 Downtown Directories; 30,000 visitors
  • Programmed 7thAnnual Taste of Northfield (raised 1/3 of organization’s revenue)
    • 150 volunteers, over 100 sponsors, over 4,000 visitors to downtown Northfield
  • Updated and distributed 8thyear of Downtown Directory
    • Most successful year ever – 4,800 Downtown Directories already distributed in 2012
  • Completed 8thAnnual Welcome Students Campaign
    • 150 letters and posters to businesses, 800 flyers to first-year students; 10,000 visitors
  • Completed 7th Year of NDDC.org, 3rdYear of facebook/downtownnorthfieldmn
    • Average 500 views per week on website, 2,100 views per week on facebook
  • Convened all major design and planning groups for the fourth consecutive year
    • Stakeholder members include 14 key community organizations, from both the private and public sectors, represented on the Design & Planning Committee
  • Continued the Alumni Recruitment Project for the second year
    • Displayed recruitment posters at Homecomings, over 5,000 visitors to town
  • Initiated the College Student Engagement Project
    • 12 community-based projects, 60 students representing both colleges