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Northfield Downtown Development Corporation Evolves Operations, Rebrands as Friends of Downtown Northfield

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) is evolving its identity and announces a rebranding as the Friends of Downtown Northfield.

Over the past year, the organization’s Board of Directors explored how the organization could adapt to better achieve its mission and vision, maintain Northfield’s Main Street America™ accreditation and Minnesota Main Street designation, and thrive as a nonprofit organization that advocates for Northfield’s downtown district.

In late 2021, a collaboration with the City of Northfield greatly strengthened support for Northfield’s Main Street program (previously staffed and managed solely by the NDDC): coordination of the operational elements of the program would sit in the Community Development department, while fundraising for and promotion of Downtown Northfield would sit with the Friends of Downtown Northfield as a stand-alone, but complementary organization.

“We’re excited for the new partnership with the City and the next chapter for our organization,” said Kathleen Holmes, Board President. “We are already seeing great benefits to the collaboration and believe that the next few years are going to be transformational for our beloved downtown. The challenges we face now are different from those faced when the organization began and the time was right for us to evolve all facets of the organization—operations, mission and vision, and brand—to best address them.”

The organization was founded in 2000, and since that time has seen great achievements in fostering the vitality and vibrancy of downtown Northfield—through various arts grants, business grants, design implementation and events. The Friends of Downtown Northfield are committed to continuing that rich history by sponsoring events like the popular summer series of Bridge Square Block Parties and supporting locally owned downtown businesses with micro-grants. The name change signifies a shift to a more broad-based and inclusive community support and love for our downtown district. Adds Holmes, “Who doesn’t want to be thought of as a friend of Downtown Northfield?”

The assistant City Planner, Revée Needham, coordinates the Main Street program, along with serving as staff liaison to the Heritage Preservation Commission. “I’m excited to work with the board and its volunteers to make progress on our shared goals of enhancing downtown,” said Needham. “Together, we will strengthen the connections between the different groups that focus on the design, promotion, and economic vitality of downtown Northfield.”

Northfield became an Accredited Main Street community in 2019. Main Street AmericaTM has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 35 years. Today it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About the Friends of Downtown Northfield

The mission of the Friends of Downtown Northfield is to ensure a vibrant and vital downtown by amplifying the voice of downtown business owners, building owners and other stakeholders. We collaborate with the City of Northfield to use the Mainstreet Approach and fundamentals to accomplish this by focusing on local business issues, being intentional about downtown design, planning and promoting downtown events, and providing targeted fundraising support all for the purpose of driving visitors to the downtown area.

The Friends of Downtown Northfield invites you to follow us on social media (Facebook: @downtownnorthfield, Instagram: @downtownnorthfieldmn) to learn more about upcoming events and organizational updates, to volunteer, and to donate to the organization.

Early Giving is Open for Give to the Max Day 2021!

It’s November and that means it’s the time each year when Minnesotans come together to support non-profits through Give to the Max Day (GTTMD). Give to the Max Day 2021 is scheduled for Thursday, November 18… but you don’t have to wait until then to donate! With each donation made between November 1 and November 18, 2021, you could help the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) win part of more than $100,000 in prize grants through GiveMN. We hope you will consider a gift to the NDDC to support our efforts!

Each year, the NDDC uses the donations received from Give to the Max Day and our broader partnership campaign to support our mission of creating and sustaining a vital and vibrant Downtown Northfield. Last year we used Give to the Max Day to support the businesses and employees impacted by the devastating Archer House fire on November 12, 2020. Through the generosity of hundreds of community members, we raised over $18,000 which made direct and meaningful impact!

This year, we are focusing our Give to the Max Day efforts on connecting with people who might be new to giving to the NDDC–people who might follow us on social media or read our blog but haven’t given in the past. And if you are a long-time donor and you’re reading this, we can’t do what we do without your support. Our hope is that we can count on your support again this year, either through a donation on Give to the Max Day, or through the direct appeal you may have received from us in the mail. Every single donation is valuable to us and our work, no matter the size!

Our goal for Give to the Max Day 2021 is to raise $1,855 to commemorate the year that Northfield became a town. We are confident we can hit this goal and if you want to be a part of that, you can make your donation on our GiveMN site now. These funds will help support our various programs like Artists on Main Street, Bridge Square Block Parties, Northfield’s Riverfront and Bridge Square Enhancements, and our small business micro grants which help support our locally owned & operated businesses that make Northfield unique. The NDDC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so your contribution is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

We’ll be posting daily next week on our social media feeds to encourage donations to help us reach our goal and hope you’ll follow along as we celebrate the special community in which we live, work, and play. We love Downtown Northfield!

On behalf of our NDDC Board of Directors and volunteers, thank you so much for your consideration and support!

Taste Tour Passports – Get Yours Today!

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC) is excited to announce the launch of the 2021 Taste Tour Passports!

Most summers, the NDDC hosts the Downtown Northfield Taste Tour, an event that brings the community into downtown for an evening of fun and food touring around our local eateries and drinkeries. Given the uncertainty of event planning due to Covid-19 and the goal to keep our community healthy and safe, the NDDC Board of Directors decided to evolve the typical Taste Tour event into an extended opportunity for deals and discounts at downtown businesses with the “Taste Tour Passport,” valid through December 31, 2021.

Each Taste Tour Passport has over $50-worth of single-use coupons good at 17 downtown businesses (check out the full list of deals in the comments below).  The NDDC is selling Passports for just $20 each. 100% of the proceeds of every book sold will go toward implementing downtown design projects, providing downtown community programming and assisting downtown businesses—all in support of the NDDC’s commitment to creating and sustaining a vibrant and vital downtown, one that embodies our community’s unique combination of heritage, culture, and social diversity.

Taste Tour Passports will be available for purchase at the Bridge Square Block Parties from 5:00–7:00 PM on July 15, August 19 and September 16, directly from NDDC Board members, or by contacting info@nddc.org for online sales.

Get your passport to the best food and drink deals Downtown Northfield has to offer, today!

The 2021 Taste Tour Passports have been made possible with generous sponsorship from the following Northfield businesses:

Platinum level:
Engage Print
Fairfield by Marriott Inn + Bar
Keith Pumper Plumbing and Heating
Neuger
Reunion

Silver level:
Carlson Capital Management
Heartman Insurance
Merchants Bank
Premier Bank

Bronze level:
Community Resource Bank
Division Street Properties
Forget Me Not Florist
Goodney & Associates
Northfield Retirement Community
Schmidt Homes

This Thursday 7/15 – Bridge Square Block Party!

The summer fun continues in Downtown Northfield with the Bridge Square Block Party series on July 15. We’re partnering with FiftyNorth to bring entertainment and fun activities to the heart of downtown from 5:00 – 7:00 PM.

Bring your families and join your friends and neighbors and learn how to line dance at 5:00, listen to the FiftyNorth Community Band from 5:30 – 6:30 and experiment with multiple arts and crafts projects led by FiftyNorth artists in the square throughout the event. You can also purchase treats from local vendors, take advantage of “Third Thursday” shopping deals, stroll along the riverfront, or just put out a blanket and enjoy being out in the community again.

The NDDC will be selling Taste Tour Passport Coupon Books with over $50-worth of deals at 17 downtown restaurants and businesses (valid through December) and members of the FiftyNorth staff will be there with information and resources about membership and upcoming events and programs.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us for more fun on the third Thursdays through September! For more details and updates, be sure to follow the NDDC on Facebook (@DowntownNorthfield), or visit: https://downtownnorthfield.org/

The 2021 Bridge Square Block Party series is made possible with generous support from the City of Northfield and our programming sponsors. The NDDC would specifically like to thank the following local businesses:

Platinum level:
Engage Print
Fairfield by Marriott Inn + Bar
Keith Pumper Plumbing and Heating
Neuger
Reunion

Silver level:
Carlson Capital Management
Heartman Insurance
Merchants Bank
Premier Bank

Bronze level:
Community Resource Bank
Division Street Properties
Forget Me Not Florist
Goodney & Associates
Northfield Retirement Community
Schmidt Homes

Artists on Main Street 2021: Building a Post-Pandemic Community

The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is proud to announce our 2021 Artists on Main Street projects.  After receiving many strong proposals, a volunteer Public Art Review Committee (established through the City of Northfield’s Arts and Culture Commission) selected five applicants to receive $2,000 each out of the $10,000 grant budget.  These five artists will spend the summer and fall implementing their creative placemaking projects in downtown Northfield!

Project title Lead artist Brief summary
A Breath for Change Epic Enterprise Arts Learners A collaborative installation featuring 3-D self-portraits and birds moving among 3-D trees, culminating in an accessible and inclusive community event and exhibit at the Brick Oven Bakery.
Framing the Scene Erin Ward A free-standing, three-dimensional, mosaiced open frame to be placed along the Riverwalk area.  The interactive sculpture could be used by individuals, friends, groups or families to take pictures.
Literary Steps Kathy Ness Painted replicas of children’s book spines (with titles crowdsourced from the community) on the 16 steps going up to the Division St. side of the Northfield Public Library.
Recipes for Life Catherine Stricklan A mobile screen printing workshop that will pop-up in downtown Northfield and engage the public in creating a screen printed tea towel of a beloved family recipe or treasured words of wisdom from a loved one.
Resilience + the Freshwater Drum Along the Cannon Sophie Rogers A series of workshops and installations of large, performative drawings focusing on the freshwater drum fish and the Ames Mill Dam, cultivating a dialogue on adaptability, resilience and inclusion of our interspecies communities.

Be on the lookout for future news and announcements as these projects develop and begin to take shape throughout downtown!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.