Ideas moving closer to realityThe projects funded after January’s Idea Slam have passed the halfway mark toward their deadline, and the “non-flashy” phase of their work is about to be complete.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
The projects funded after January’s Idea Slam have passed the halfway mark toward their deadline, and the “non-flashy” phase of their work is about to be complete.
The Red Wing app, Red Wing Creative Economy study and Friends of the Bluffs groups have honed in on their goals, done the behind-the-scenes setup work and are pushing forward toward the Sept. 1 project deadline.
The groups will give community presentations in the fall about what they did with the funds from Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.
Red Wing app
Dave Borgen said Red Wing app members are finalizing what developer they will use for their smartphone application after doing a lot of background work.
The committee has been working to create a layout and collect and narrow down data that will be included in the app.
“There’s been a lot of work in our development process,” Borgen said.
The process of finding a developer took a bit longer than expected, he said, but the project still should be on track to finish on time.
“So far, so good,” Borgen said.
The team was awarded $11,500 to develop the app and to create a brochure highlighting local museums.
The brochure, headed by Ruth Nerhaugen, should be completed over the summer.
The app will spotlight three different areas of Red Wing: active, such as parks and trails; cultural, such as theater, music and museums; and shopping, which will include retail, lodging and restaurants.
The outdoors section is taking up the most work, Borgen said, as the group tries to outline all the area trails, parks and amenities.
Even after the September deadline, Borgen said he expects the app will continue to be upgraded.
“Once we get it and start using it, we’re going to find what’s working and what isn’t working,” Borgen said. “There could be another phase down the road to keep improving on it.”
Friends of the Bluffs
The Friends of the Bluffs proposal was awarded $4,500 to create a group that will maintain, improve and promote the area bluffs and trails.
“We’re working on the setup of the nonprofit,” group head Jennifer Patterson said. That includes opening a checking account, drafting and submitting legal documents and finding the right software to manage the budget, among other work. “This is really the non-flashy phase.”
The group is planning a public meeting later this month to start recruiting volunteers. It is slated for June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Colvill Park Courtyard and is being hosted by Live Healthy Red Wing.
“That next step will be great as far as trying to garner the support of the public,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to meeting other people who want to be involved in this.”
By the fall, Patterson plans to have the group’s website operational, have a three-year action plan, and has a goal of at least 100 members and $3,000 in donations.
She doesn’t anticipate any problems with those figures.
“There’s been pretty overwhelming support” throughout the community for the Friends of the Bluffs group, Patterson said.
Red Wing Creative Economy
The Red Wing Creative Economy study group was awarded $4,000 to identify the current Red Wing creative economic status and come up with ideas to improve it.
A creative economy involves industries such as arts, publishing, design and engineering and utilizes human creativity.
“When people start to discuss the creative economy, it’s much broader than just pure artists,” John Becker said. “It’s very entrepreneurial.”
The hardest part for that group has been narrowing down the scope and defining their project, Becker said.
“We’ve gone through a lot of project definition, deciding what it is we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.
The group meets weekly for discussions that often turn lively, Becker said.
The group has completed a number of visits to other communities to see how they address the creative economy, from Minnesota to Iowa to Michigan. The group has a few more on the list as well.
In their report, members plan to analyze the creative economy in those communities and provide suggestions for Red Wing.
“We want to end up with … strong recommendations going forward of some simple things that can be done to improve the creative economy” locally, Becker said.
From there, he said the group hopes local stakeholders will pick up the suggestions and move them forward. Already a number of groups have been involved in the project.