Ground Level

  • Central Minnesota 2035
  • Discussion: Housing
  • Discussion: Economy
  • from the Blog
  • Video

Residents of five counties in central Minnesota are trying to determine what they want their region to look like two decades from now – what industries might thrive, what the lakes might be like, how transportation, housing and land use policies might change.

These can be contentious issues in good times, and when there is pressure on the economy they become even thornier. But the area is one of some 45 places in the country chosen by several federal agencies to receive money to engage in a several-year planning effort to deal with them. The Region 5 Development Commission is spearheading the project, officially known as the Central Minnesota Sustainable Development Plan, and the University of Minnesota and the Initiative Foundation have been heavily involved. So, far hundreds of residents have participated in one way or another.

Find out more about the Central Minnesota Sustainable Development Plan

» An overview of the project »

» Creating a Resilient Region »

Central Minnesota's 'Resilient Region:' Discussion #2: Housing

Central Minnesota

The second conversation hosted by MPR News' Ground Level project in conjunction with the central Minnesota "Resilient Region" project deals with the availability of affordable housing in the five-county area and centers on these three questions:

  1. Which among local government, the private sector or the non-profit organizations in central Minnesota should play the lead role in making sure residents have affordable housing? Why do you think that?
  2. Should the leadership response to affordable housing questions be different in rural areas like central Minnesota than it is in urban areas like the Twin Cities?
  3. Is it better for leaders in central Minnesota to deal directly with shortages of affordable housing or instead to deal with education, health care and other community issues on the theory that housing problems can be fixed that way?
Take a look at the responses so far and give us your response»

Central Minnesota's 'Resilient Region:' Discussion #1: Economy

Central Minnesota

Should there be better roads? More housing? More people? More jobs? Cleaner lakes? Better business climate? Less of anything? Is there tension between business or recreational opportunity and environmental protection?

Answering questions like these for the 168,000 residents of Todd, Cass, Morrison, Wadena and Crow Wing counties is complicated. So we invited some of the people involved in a two-year planning effort to share their thoughts by responding to the questions.

Take a look at the responses so far and give us your response»

Ground Level Blog : How Minnesota communities are facing the future

from the Ground Level Blog

At a meeting in Baxter on Tuesday, more than 100 people gathered to comment on draft recommendations for a central Minnesota regional plan.

If your economy depends on clean water, how do you make sure the water stays clean while you take advantage of it?

In 2011, 130 people voted on what they wanted central Minnesota to look like in 25 years and what they thought it was worth investing in and planning for.

For the next two years, a couple hundred people in central Minnesota will be arguing -- with civility they hope -- about how to fix transportation, housing, land use and the economy.

On December 15, 2012, over 150 central Minnesota residents gathered to consider what their future should look like.

Hear what residents and business owners think about the Resilient Region project



MPR News is following the effort through our Ground Level project, using the Ground Level Blog as a means to encourage central Minnesota residents to join the conversation about the project. This page serves as an entry point for residents to get involved.


Bush Foundation

Support for Ground Level is provided
by the Bush Foundation.