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Editorial: Make Red Wing what you want it to be

The first community brainstorming sessions are underway for Red Wing 2040, the project Mayor Sean Dowse is leading to revitalize the community and re-engage citizens.

Longtime residents will remember past committees with similar names resulted in such developments as the combined medical center, the arrival of Target, and so on. Some of those efforts involved power brokers working behind the scenes. At one time, a departing committee member had a say in appointing a successor — a process that sometimes worked but also smacked of elitism and eventually led to Red Wing 2020 dropping out of the community lexicon.

Red Wing 2040 has a better vision and is closer in nature to former Mayor Donna Dummer's Imagine Red Wing; Dowse has invited a wide array of individuals to a very public discussion. In fact, Dowse, along with several participants at the initial meeting, stressed the importance of reaching out to more residents, especially those who do not normally participate in the local decision-making process. That's refreshing and vital in today's changing world. Dowse puts it this way:

Dear Red Wing Citizens:

Red Wing is poised to take advantage of a number of great opportunities right now and we need everyone's help charting our town's future. As mayor, I'm inviting you to become involved. Your input is needed because the initiative's final product — a comprehensive community plan — will help shape Red Wing for the next 20 years, as well as focus efforts toward short-term goals, priorities and projects.

The two-year process will help shape the next 20-plus years. But citizens need to learn where their community is now before they can see where they want to go and ultimately plan how to get there. This has started with a community voices task force comprising 10 action teams to tackle housing, the economy, arts and culture, physical and mental health, education and lifelong learning, getting around, public safety, environmental resources, community connections, and accessible government as well as parks, land use and the build environment.

Dowse and the many people already involved invite everyone to visit There you will find opportunities large and small, long-term and immediate, to get involved. Red Wing 2040 is closer than you think.