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Letter: Help Red Wing with its Our Town process

To the Editor:

Downtown Red Wing will be soon be undergoing some exciting changes: a new look for Main Street and Levee Road, a new bridge across the Mississippi, and a new trail along the riverfront, just to name a few.

Along with change comes opportunity; and now there is an terrific opportunity for the people of Red Wing to participate in "Creative Placemaking" as a community.

Creative placemaking implies more than just a statue in a park - imagine what spaces might be established to enhance and expand the art and cultural character of the community. This could include visual, performance, interactive, or any other form of artistic or cultural expression that sets us apart as a community.

Lanesboro and Fergus Falls are two other Minnesota communities that have embraced creative placemaking as an economic engine. They are leveraging their natural assets by combining culture, tourism and active lifestyles.

Red Wing Downtown Main Street, the Anderson Center at Tower View, the Red Wing Innovation Incubator and the city of Red Wing are partnering to apply for a significant National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant to make this happen. As part of writing a strong grant application, we need to narrow the focus and better define the grant.

I am inviting you to join us 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday May 6 at the Anderson Center Barn to help with this process. You will be asked to help answer three questions with a small group of friends and neighbors and some new people to you (a 20-minute per question brainstorming session) that will define our focus for the grant application. A cash bar will be available. Please arrive by 6:30 p.m. so that we can start and end on time.

Please come and share your ideas. We want Red Wing to be a community of art and culture, and this event will help us continue to shape how we get there.

We want to include the whole community to create something valuable and reflective of those who make Red Wing home. I hope to see you on May 6.

Dan Bender

Red Wing

Dan Bender is mayor of Red Wing.