Community dialogue to discuss Wadena's future is Feb. 5
What will Wadena be like in 2050? What kind of city will be here for your kids or grandkids? How would Wadena react to the collapse of an industry? Those are the types of questions that will be answered at a so-called community dialogue, a think-...
What will Wadena be like in 2050? What kind of city will be here for your kids or grandkids? How would Wadena react to the collapse of an industry?
Those are the types of questions that will be answered at a so-called community dialogue, a think-tank style discussion for members of the community. The first session will be from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 5 at the Wadena campus of MSCTC.
The organizing group is Northern Great Plains, a Minnesota non-profit organization whose mission is to maximize the potential of rural communities. The organization is chaired by someone familiar to many in the Wadena area: Homecrest founder Don Bottemiller.
"We see ourselves as a small and nimble organization that responds well to the changing circumstances and needs that rural communities face," said Jerry Nagel, president of NGP. "We work to identify and promote policies and practices that support an integrated approach to economic opportunity, a healthy environment and strong social fabric. We believe that for communities to be truly healthy they must work in all three areas."
You don't have to be a philosophy PhD or a member of a think tank to participate. Nagel said everyday folks know their communities best, and it's their input his group is seeking.
"The dialogues are designed to be very inclusive," Nagel said. "We work hard to make sure everyone feels comfortable and can participate as actively as they choose. Anyone that has a stake in the future of Wadena should participate. The more people from all walks of life in Wadena the more successful the dialogues will be."
The dialogue will begin with scenarios presented by NGP, which are then discussed in small groups among participants. At least one follow-up community dialogue will be held later, drawing from the results of the first discussion.
The community dialogue is the first being held in Wadena, but several other communities in Minnesota and surrounding states have gone through the process, Nagel said.
"Each community is different," Nagel said about previous efforts. "Some have used the dialogues to increase the sense of community/belonging among residents. Others have discovered things about themselves that were being taken -- mistakenly -- for granted. Outcomes include an ongoing community dialogue process to continue building community, an idea for a future leaders program, greater connection to the local high school and community leaders, conversations about what to do about a downtown that was struggling that became part of a strategic planning process."
For more information about the upcoming community dialogue at MSCTC--Wadena, contact local organizer Steve Schulz at the Wadena Pioneer Journal at (218) 631-2561. No invitation is necessary to participate. No need to register -- everyone will be welcome at the door.