The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) has received funding from the Bush Foundation/Consensus Council Community Innovation Grant and the Pembina County Job Development Authority to assess tourism potential in Northeastern North Dakota. In 2014, the Pembina County Strategic Planning Committee developed an immense tourism strategy that was adopted as part of the five year Pembina County Economic Development Strategic Plan. Also in 2014, the ND Parks and Recreation Department received input from more than 250 people for the Pembina Gorge State Recreation Area Master Plan. These two documents are leading the efforts for the evaluation and pursuit of a variety of tourism and outdoor recreation opportunities. "We are excited to be a part of this project as there is so much untapped tourism potential in northeast ND. There are more than 1.2 million people located within an easy two-hour drive of the Rendezvous Region, and many are unaware that it even exists. We are embarking on a journey to build upon more than 25 years of efforts to grow the Rendezvous Region and create excitement to travel to the northeast corner of the state." said Maggie Suda, RRRC Developer. With the funding received, the RRRC has hired Jolene Halldorson as the project lead to implement the tourism assessments and develop a northeast ND tourism council. Tourism touches all aspects of a community – businesses, government services, the natural environment, and residents. Halldorson will be seeking individuals for discussion and decisions that will help create a positive attitude and a healthy tourism industry that is in harmony with each community’s values. This project will be done is three phases. Phase one is to identify the tourism attractions and the potential in our communities. Phase two includes an inventory assessment of the Rendezvous Region tourism attractions and phase three will be evaluating the inventory assessment to see what tourism attractions have the greatest chance of success. The RRRC has developed an online survey to gather the information for phase one. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/69X7MTV please take the time to participate. If you have any questions or would like to be an active participant on the tourism council, please email Jolene, Jolene@redriverrc.com.
A public discussion of the opportunities for redevelopment of unused and underutilized buildings and property on the campus of the Life Skills and Transition Center (LSTC) has been set for Thursday, October 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm at the Farmers Room in the lower level of the Walsh County Courthouse. The public is encouraged to attend. The City of Grafton and the Walsh County Job Development Authority are hosting this community forum. The forum is designed to gather the community’s perspectives as they rela te to the future use of the LSTC. Praxis Strategy Group and the Red River Regional Council have been hired as advisors with the specific task of working with a local task force that will be formed to advocate for and implement the strategy for redevelopment of the existing and unused buildings and property. Praxis Strategy Group will facilitate the forum. Those planning to attend must use the south entrance to the Courthouse building. For additional information, please contact Delore Zimmerman of Praxis Strategy Group at 701-775-3354, Dawn Keeley of the Red River Regional Council at 701-352-3550 or Julie Campbell at the Walsh County Job Development Authority at 701-352-2171.
The impactful people, projects and ideas that make this region strong will again be celebrated at the second annual Ideas to Actions Summit, an event hosted by the Red River Regional Council (RRRC). The event is set for November 1, 2016 at the Grafton Public School’s Performing Arts Center. “Last year’s event showcased the terrific talent, diligence and hard work of our communities and leaders,” said Dawn Keeley, Executive Director of the RRRC. “We are excited to continue to acknowledge the time, determination, vision, and enthusiasm put forth by our local citizens, organizations, and businesses. We are anxious to begin receiving nominations for this next round of awards, as we know there are so many deserving people, projects and ideas in our region.” The RRRC is seeking nominations for the 2016 North Star, Catalyst and Determination Awards. The North Star Award will go to an idea that illuminates opportunities or creates a guiding light for progress within a community; the Catalyst Award will recognize an individual who acts as a kickstarter for an idea or a project; and the Determination Award will recognize a successful project that created a significant impact on a community. More information about the award criteria and how to complete a nomination form can be accessed several ways - at the RRRC’s website at www.redriverrc.com; the RRRC’s Facebook page; by calling the RRRC office at 701.352.3550 to request a form be mailed to you; or by emailing email@example.com . The deadline for nominations is September 30, 2016. The awards will be presented at the Ideas to Actions Summit in November. The purpose of the Ideas to Actions Summit is to provide an opportunity to inform the public of the goals and activities of the Council, to create excitement about the potential of our region’s communities, and to recognize the excellent work of the region’s leaders and communities. The agenda includes a networking social, the keynote presentations which will include speakers addressing the topic of the impact of the tourism industry in northeast North Dakota, and the awards presentation. All events will be held at the Grafton Public School’s Performing Arts Center and are free and open to the public. call for nominations release 2016 Ideas to Actions Summit Awards nomination form 2016 - fillable pdf
July 28, 2016
Walsh and Pembina counties are currently seeking cities interested in some extra funding help for community betterment projects. Both Pembina and Walsh counties are accepting applications for projects as part of their ½ Mill “Self-Help” Programs. There are many ways communities can use these county funds for betterment projects. Examples of projects cities used the funds toward last year include: maintenance and mowing at city park; replacing baseball diamond fencing; city website design and implementation; on-going street repairs; city tree trimming; sidewalk replacement, city beautification project, and toward purchase of snow removal equipment. The main objective is to promote development within communities of Pembina and Walsh counties. There are three program criteria: • ½ Mill requests cannot exceed one-half of the total project cost, nor can the request exceed $1,500. • The county funds must be matched 1:1. Funds will be released on a reimbursement basis with supporting documentation. • A copy of a resolution or minutes of the meeting when the applicant authorized the project must be included with the application. The city must include in its minutes that it plans to apply for self-help funds for a specific project. A fillable application is available here. The deadline to submit an application is December 15, 2016. They will be presented to the commissioners in Pembina and Walsh counties for review and funding decisions in January 2017. Applications can be submitted via mail to Red River Regional Council, 516 Cooper Avenue, Grafton ND 58237 or via email to Stacie@redriverrc.com. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Stacie Sevigny at 701-352-3550 or Stacie@redriverrc.com.
June 23, 2016
The Pembina County Job Development Authority (JDA) will host their Annual Meeting and 25th Anniversary Celebration on July 14, 2016 at the Cavalier Country Club. The evening will celebrate the culture, history, people and businesses of Pembina County. Several Pembina County businesses will be featured throughout the event. Main Street Floral and More and Red Door Designs, both Cavalier, will be providing the décor and staging. Food stations showcasing homemade and locally sourced appetizers and desserts will be provided by Shauna Stevenson and Blue Fox Coffeehouse, both Cavalier; J&D’s Riverview Market, Drayton; D & K Market, Pembina; and Sanctuary Guest House, Walhalla. Entertainment will be provided by Jordan Thornberg of Harvest Fuel Inc. in Walhalla and Kyle Gagner of Nodak Mutual Insurance in Cavalier will serve as event emcee. The business roundtable will include a panel of representatives from Enduraplas, Neche; Motor Coach Industries, Pembina; Harvest Fuel Inc., Walhalla; Pembina Daycare, Pembina; and North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department, Walhalla. Justin Robinson and Molly Skadsen from Icelandic State Park will give a geocaching demo followed by keynote speaker, Nancy Hodur, PhD, NDSU, who will share her thoughts on tourism development within Pembina County. Tourism development has been identified as one of the top priorities of the Pembina County Strategic Plan and will be supported by the JDA. Social hour starts at 6:30pm and the event will conclude at 8:30pm. The event is open to the public. Attendees are asked to RSVP by Thursday, July 7, 2016.
June 23, 2016
The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) recently added Danielle Gorder to its team as an Environmental Program Manager. In this role, Danielle will be managing the long-standing Red River Riparian Program. Danielle is a 2015 graduate of the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science double major in Geology and Environmental Geoscience and a minor in Mathematics. During her studies, Danielle completed field studies in Turkey; Iceland; Pembina Trail Scientific and Natural Area, Minnesota; Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota; and Penokee Range, Wisconsin. Danielle also gained professional experience as an Environmental Intern at an iron ore mine in northern Minnesota. Danielle is skilled in ArcGIS, fieldwork, GPS navigation, instrumental work, and data analysis. She grew up working on her family’s farm near Fordville. Her interests include traveling, outdoor activities, agriculture, and operating equipment. The Red River Riparian Program has been a program of the RRRC since 1993 to address the riparian needs of landowners in the Red River Valley. The goals of the program include the restoration, protection, and responsible management of riparian areas made possible through financial and technical assistance. The Program is currently in its fifth phase with funding secured from the Environmental Protection Agency funding through the North Dakota Department of Health 319 Program as well as the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund. Funding is utilized to provide 60 percent grant funding for riparian projects as well as staff. The RRRC is one of eight regional planning councils in North Dakota established in 1973 to enhance the ability of local governments to jointly plan, address issues, and seize opportunities that transcend individual boundaries. The RRRC serves Region IV which includes Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, and Walsh Counties.
In partnership with the City of Park River, the Red River Regional Council (RRRC) is currently seeking interested homeowners for a potential housing rehabilitation project for owner-occupied homes within the city limits of Park River. Applications are being accepted until March 1, 2016 in order to meet grant funding deadlines. The program assists low income residents with health and safety issues in their homes at no cost to the homeowner. Common repairs include roofing, windows, doors, plumbing, heating, electrical, and other safety items. Federal funding sources also require lead paint, floodplain, and historic preservation issues be addressed. When complete, all homes must meet Section 8 Housing Quality and Safety standards. The RRRC is currently seeking interested homeowners to apply for the potential project in Park River. Similar projects were recently completed in Grafton and Drayton. The RRRC is currently working with the City of Cavalier on a housing rehabilitation project in that city. Determining the potential number of applicants will assist in developing a possible funding package for the potential project which will include several federal grant funding resources. If grant applications are successful, any potential applicants will need to provide updated income documentation at that time, likely in the fall of 2016. The project would likely start fall of 2016 or early 2017. Eligiblity In order to be eligible for this program, homes must:
- Be located within the city limits of Park River
- Be single-family
- Be owner-occupied (no rentals)
- Mobile homes are not eligible
- Have no outstanding debt/taxes with the City of Park River
- A copy of 2015 property tax statement to prove ownership.
- A copy of 2014 income tax statement. If applicant did not file personal income tax, then the most recent two months of personal bank statements must be provided.
- A copy of 2016 social security benefits statement, if applicable.
- If employed, copies of pay stubs for the past three months.
Commissioners in Pembina and Walsh and Pembina counties recently awarded funds to cities for community betterment projects as part of the ½ Mill “Self-Help” Program. The self-help program is administered by the Red River Regional Council (RRRC) in Pembina and Walsh counties on behalf of the counties. The main objective is to promote development within communities of Pembina and Walsh counties. There are three program criteria:
- ½ Mill requests cannot exceed one-half of the total project cost, nor can the request exceed $1,500.
- The county funds must be matched 1:1. Funds will be released on a reimbursement basis with supporting documentation.
- A copy of a resolution or minutes of the meeting when the applicant authorized the project must be included with the application. The city must include in its minutes that it plans to apply for self-help funds for a specific project.
- Cavalier: City beautification project
- Crystal: Replace sidewalks to comply with ADA requirements
- Drayton: Rip rap placed at Hastings Boat Landing on the Red River
- Hamilton: Removal of dead trees and replanting
- Hensel: Purchase of snow removal equipment
- Mountain: Main Street sidewalk replacement
- Neche: Purchase of pole banners
- Pembina: Toward costs associated with warming house at ice skating rink
- Thomas: Continued city beautification project
- Adams: Replace tin roof on serving shelter in Adams City Park
- Edinburg: Work to convert legion building to storage facility for community center
- Fairdale: Maintenance and mowing of the city park and repair of shelter
- Fordville: Fence replacement at Sluke Field baseball diamond
- Forest River: Excavation at site of sewer/lift station
- Grafton: Purchase of shelving units and wall panels at Carnegie Regional Library
- Hoople: City website design and implementation
- Lankin: Purchase of new mower for upkeep of city lots
- Minto: Tree trimming around city
- Park River: Replace Christmas decorations along city streets
- Pisek: Ongoing street repairs
January 25, 2016
The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) is convening a Regional Mayors Caucus on Wednesday, January 27, strengthen relations between the region’s cities and their leaders. The event is a first of its kind within North Dakota Region IV and will be co-hosted by Park River Mayor Dan Stenvold and Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown. “We are convening this dialogue between our municipal officials to build a cohesive region and turn what might be perceived as issues into opportunities. Collectively I’m certain we will be able to develop ideas to benefit the entire region,” said Dawn Keeley, Executive Director of the RRRC. “We fully expect to always have a continued list of required and desired investments throughout the region and we also want to help create a unified vision which includes lofty aspirations and results.” Recent visits with all the manufacturing companies in Pembina County reveal the area has a number of key strengths to build upon. These strengths include low overhead costs, pro-business environment, lower startup costs and better access for expansion which includes local incentives, good local amenities, affordable housing, close proximity to Canadian markets and interstate system, strong financial assistance, and good trucking system. “It is important that all communities in the region have the quality of life and economic opportunities to make them great places to live,” said Mayor Michael Brown. “What’s good for regional communities is good for Grand Forks and vice versa. This summit will help us build even stronger relationships and awareness throughout the region that pave the way for an even stronger region into the next generation.” The RRRC staff will be providing results of a municipal survey conducted in 2015 as well as preliminary results of a Business Retention and Expansion Projects the RRRC has initiated with the Pembina County Job Development Authority. “In 2015, we surveyed all the small cities (exclusive of the City of Grand Forks) to learn more about challenges and opportunities,” said Stacie Sevigny, Developer. “We received survey responses from 28 cities and common themes were easily identified.” The common small cities themes of needs and desires are as follows:
- Basic infrastructure – nearly every community identified infrastructure improvement needs and oftentimes the inability to finance necessary repairs.
- Housing – nearly every community noted the need for removal of substandard properties, several expressed need for housing rehabilitation, more rental properties, and expanded housing developments.
- Business community – many communities have had to divert local sales tax funds initially designated for economic development to support infrastructure needs. There is a desire to share healthcare providers and other specialty businesses such as dentists, optometrists, plumbers, electricians.
- Recreation – nearly every community identified the need for equipment upgrades, swimming pool repairs as well as the desire for enhanced amenities such as walking/bike paths and camping/RV parks.
- Fire departments – many fire departments are struggling with volunteer shortages and at least six departments have noted the need for upgraded buildings which have limited funding possibilities currently.
- Other needs – topping the list is additional licensed child care options.
- Funding – most often, cities identified a lack of affordable funding options to address needs.
December 28, 2015
Ray McMillan is enjoying the view out the clear, new windows that were recently installed in the house he has lived in since he was 4-years-old. “I couldn’t see out the windows – they were so clouded with condensation,” McMillan said during a visit to his home. McMillan, along with 14 other homeowners in the City of Cavalier, have had or will have rehabilitation work done on their homes. Funds have been provided by the USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grant program, the ND Department of Commerce/U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Block Grant program, the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program, the City of Cavalier, and the Pembina County Job Development Authority. More than $400,000 has been awarded for this project. The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) is administering the program, which began in 2013. The project assists qualifying low income residents with health and safety issues in their homes. Common repairs covered by the program include roofing, windows, doors, plumbing, heating, electrical and other safety items. For a project to move forward, issues including historic preservation, floodplain, and lead-based paint must be addressed. Stacie Sevigny, a developer with the RRRC, is the project manager for the Cavalier Housing Rehabilitation Project. She said that funding is currently available to add at least 11 more homes to the project, if people apply. “We are seeking more eligible homeowners who need rehabilitation work done in their homes,” Sevigny said. “Rehab work covered under the grants includes health and safety items. No cosmetic items can be addressed with these funds.” There is no cost to the homeowner for this program. To apply, residents need to complete a two page application and provide copies of supporting income documentation. Applications are available at the city offices or from any member of the Cavalier Housing Authority. Members include: Drew Olafson, Tom Ford, Darold Johnson, Rachel Morrison, Wayne Puppe and Corene Vaughn. Interested residents can also contact Sevigny at 701-352-3550 for an application or further information on how to apply. To qualify, homes must be within the city limits of Cavalier and must be owner-occupied. Homeowners must be current on taxes and have no outstanding debt with the City of Cavalier. Mobile homes do not qualify. Olafson, chairman of the Cavalier Housing Authority, is a strong advocate for the program. “Housing rehab is critically important to any rural community,” Olafson said. “In my opinion, housing is the core of economic development; a strong housing market is an indicator of a strong community.” McMillan agrees the program is worthwhile. “The guys did an excellent job and I am so impressed with the program,” he said. Homeowners interested in the program should contact Sevigny at the RRRC at 701-352-3550 for more information or any member of the housing committee. To see the income eligibility requirements and supporting documentation needed to apply, please click here: Cavalier Housing Applicant Poster