Category Archives: Downtown news

Ten Northfield artists to receive “Artists on Main Street” grants

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) was recently awarded a two-year $30,000 grant by Minnesota Main Street, a division of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, to fund an “Artists on Main Street” initiative in Downtown Northfield.

The Artists on Main Street funding inspired the NDDC, the Northfield Arts Guild and the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission to form a partnership called “Connections/ Conexiónes” which invites the local artist community to:

  • provide intriguing, welcoming gateways and/or views of our entire downtown area
  • engage with people who spend time near the river
  • create opportunities for people of all backgrounds to be more connected to our downtown area
  • draw people downtown to shop, eat, dine, and utilize our assets along the river

Ten artists or groups have been selected to participate in the first year of “Artists on Main Street”. They will use their works to draw people’s attention to the west side of the downtown district and connect the west side of downtown to Division Street. The locations where the art will be displayed include Ames Park, the Northfield Depot, the Riverwalk,  bridges over the Cannon River, and areas around Bridge Square. These art and performance pieces are intended to be temporary installations. The participating artists and their projects are:

  • Rob Hardy: “Poetry Posts”
  • Lorraine Rolvig/The Northfield Garden Club: “Northfield’s Hanging Garden’s in Plein Air”
  • Fletcher Coolidge: “Raggin’ at the Depot”
  • Alexis Valeriano” “Poems on a Bridge/Poemas en el Puente”
  • Oliver Jin Casima and Ben Heath: “Rays of Unity”
  • Sharol Nau: “Bridge Weaving”
  • Demian Jackman: “Selfie Shark”
  • Jim Rossow: “Totally Tubular Traveling Tubulum”
  • Suzanne Daehlin: “Love Makes the World Go Round”
  • Kathy Ness: “Goose Be Gone”

A kick-off event with the selected artists and the public will be held from 5-7pm on Friday June 7th on the downtown Riverwalk behind the Northfield Arts Guild building (304 Division St.) in conjunction with the NDDC’s First Friday Art Night to celebrate Northfield artists’ participation in this new initiative. Light refreshments will be provided.

The artists’ projects will be displayed or presented at various times and locations between June 2019 and October 2019. Further information about these projects can be found on the NDDC’s website, www.downtownnorthfield.org and the Northfield Public Library’s website, www.mynpl.org.

Call for artists to design downtown banners

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) and the City of Northfield Arts and Culture Commission are sponsoring a competition for artists to design a street banner that will be hung on lamp-posts along Division Street and Water Street in downtown Northfield. These banners will be seen by thousands of visitors and residents annually.

The winning design will replace the red, white and blue “Historic Northfield Since 1855” banners, which have been in use since 2005. Artists should submit designs that highlight the cultural, historic, or artistic characteristics of Northfield.

This initiative is made possible by the NDDC’s affiliation with Main Street Minnesota, a program of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. The NDDC was recently awarded a mini-grant of $4,200 by Main Street Minnesota to assist with funding this project.

By focusing the new banner initiative on the local artist community, the call for submissions will showcase the high volume of artists living in the community who play a central role in making downtown Northfield a hub for excitement and culture.

“The artists in our community serve as a driving force behind the excitement and allure of downtown Northfield. We want our banners to reflect that,” said Greg Siems, Executive Director of the NDDC.

Artists may submit their designs until June 7, 2019, by emailing them directly to teresa.jensen@ci.northfield.mn.us. Guidelines for submitting entries should be downloaded from the Public Arts page of the City of Northfield.

The design entries will be reviewed by a Public Art Review Committee in mid-June and banner production will begin following the selection of the winning design. The artist that submits the selected design will be awarded $400. The new banners will be displayed beginning in September 2019.

For more information about the NDDC or to contact board members, email greg@nddc.org or visit www.downtownnorthfeld.org.

NDDC Executive Director resigns

Executive Director Jenni Roney has submitted a letter of resignation to the NDDC board of directors. Her resignation will be effective January 24, 2019.

Jenni had a number of accomplishments during her time with the NDDC. In 2017, she redesigned a favorite summer community event formerly called “Taste of Northfield.” Renamed “Downtown Taste Tour”, the event now has a format that has proven to be much more effective for both attendees and participating food establishments. That same year she orchestrated a project to upgrade the holiday tree lighting in Bridge Square.

In early 2018, Jenni guided the NDDC through a successful application process resulting in Northfield being named a Designated Minnesota Main Street community by the state chapter of Main Street America, a national program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are less than a dozen communities in Minnesota that have achieved this designation.

Also in 2018, Jenni helped launch a new event program called “First Friday Art Night”. Using a combination of indoor and outdoor events, the program has highlighted the artistic talents of the community and attracted residents and visitors alike to the vibrant Friday night scene downtown. Most recently, Jenni wrote a successful application that awarded Northfield a two-year $30,000 Artists on Main Street Grant. This program will provide small stipends for 10-15 artists each year to be used to produce public art in the downtown district.

“Jenni Roney has been the NDDC Executive Director since 2016 and during that time she has had a significant impact on the life of the organization,” commented Dan Bergeson, NDDC board president. “We will miss her energy and her many talents, but we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”

A search for the next NDDC Executive Director will begin immediately.

Quarterback Club celebrates a half-century!

On Monday, September 10, members of the NDDC Board paid a visit to the Quarterback Club in Northfield to congratulate owner Dale Finger on the 50th anniversary year of the restaurant. We had a fine time listening to stories of the restaurant’s history and taking pictures for posterity.

Kris Layman, Jenni Roney, Krin Finger, Dale Finger, Dan Bergeson, Angela Humann

The Quarterback Club was originally part of a 20-store franchise organization that was founded by a group of Minnesota investors including some of the early Minnesota Vikings football players. The Northfield store was opened in the spring of 1968. Dale started working there as a high school student ten years later and eventually bought the restaurant in the early 80s. He’s had a successful 40-year run with no end in sight. He told us that many folks predicted his demise with the explosion of fast food restaurants in Northfield during the 80s and 90s.

First, they said that Kentucky Fried Chicken would do him in. Didn’t happen. Then they said that McDonald’s would sink him. Nope! Next, Hardee’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. He survived them all. Kentucky Fried Chicken even opened a second time in Northfield just a couple of years ago. That didn’t work out so well either. They closed less than 12 months into their run.

Krin Finger, Dale Finger

Dale told us that his secret to success can be found in the following four words: “Good food. Good service.” Perhaps another reason is the dedicated service of his employees. We learned that Steve and Lorie Estrem have worked at the restaurant for more than 45 years! They started at the Quarterback Club before Dale did and they stayed with him after he became their employer. That’s an amazing commitment!

Back: Dale Finger, Steve Estrem Front-June Edwardsen, Lorie Estrem

Carleton Grads Launch New App for Businesses

Northfield businesses now have a new way to connect with local college students. Recent Carleton graduates Liam Bradney, Ammar Babar, Aman Panda and Max Mattessich have designed a digital coupon app aimed at increasing the engagement between local businesses and college students in Northfield.

The app is called Recoup and it will launch in September when Carleton and St Olaf students return to campus. They are offering a free month trial for all businesses. For more information, email recouptech@gmail.com or visit https://recouptech.com/businesses.html

photo courtesy of recouptech.com