An unusual project is underway in Wadena. The community has received a grant to actually invent a new method of gathering public opinion on important issues. The grant is funding an approach, which incorporates the national trend toward engaging artists and creativity in community discussion and visioning, according to Wadena resident Kent Scheer.

Wadena’s kick-off was a visit by internationally recognized architect David Salmela, who was raised on a farm in this area. He discussed memories of the city’s glory days during his childhood in the 1950s. He offered novel visions for mastering a bright future. Salmela will return in late fall to participate in a community visioning process called a charrette.

Meanwhile, Kent Scheer has created an unusual design game board to be used for community brainstorming. Its purpose focuses on imagining a new entry for Wadena after the completion of MnDOT construction on Highway 10. On it, pieces that represent shrubs, benches, planters, etc. can be selected and arranged to show how two plots remaining on either side of the 10 and 71 intersection could be organized to create a city gateway. Future locations for the design game board will be community events and even the schools, businesses, groups, and individuals are being formally invited to visit and work the game board at The Depot during the last half of August. But, everyone is welcomed to try it. Each citizen, club, or group can contribute ideas and make a difference in Wadena’s future. You can simply stop in during hours for the current Historical Society exhibit from noon to 5 p.m. at The Depot or email or to setup your visit.