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Wadena chamber awarded $8,000 grant

The Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a grant in the amount of $8,000 from Region 5 Branding Project funded by the National Joint Powers Alliance. The grant "Picturing the Good Life" will fund the creation of images that portray "The Good Life" in the Wadena area.

Wadena is the hub of a region filled with undiscovered opportunities for living "The Good Life." At the crossroads of three major auto routes, including the famous Jefferson Highway, Wadena is in a unique position to offer hundreds of thousands of travelers yearly the opportunity to discover them. This project proposes to visually capture images that show what "The Good Life" looks like and spread these images on storefronts, billboards and social media. Funding will be used to pay professional and talented amateur photographers for their work and for the production and dissemination of the images.

"The Good Life" is the name of a project developed by the economic development practitioners in Region 5 to describe how current residents feel about our region. Most said they like the abundant natural resources and the small town feel of the area. They like having access to health care and important amenities such as strong school systems, access to local foods and quality people who care about our communities.

Region 5 asked people to submit ideas for how to promote "The Good Life." Lina Belar of the Wadena County Historical Society learned about the grant and thought it might be good fit for the Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce. She and Shirley Uselman worked together on ideas for a proposal to communicate "The Good Life" to non-residents by creating a series of photographs that might instill in others a desire to be a part of it.

The grant guidelines asked for involvement from five areas. The people involved so far include: Chuck Horsager, young professional and new Wadena county commission, Andrew Hanson, a college student studying social media, Kent Scheer of Green Island, and Lina Belar of the Wadena County Historical Society.

"Picturing the Good Life" was written by Lina Belar on behalf of the Wadena Chamber of Commerce. The project is for one year. The chamber will receive half the money once the contract with Region 5 is signed and submitted and the balance at the end of the project. Belar will administer the grant as authorized representative for the purpose of the grant.