2016 Great Place Projects Announced!

great place project for news herald (19)
Congratulations to the 15 projects across Cook County chosen as part of the 2016 Great Place Project!

An art-history mural, several playgrounds, a colorful wayfinding sign for Grand Marais, an outdoor ping pong table at the library and several similar projects will receive funding from the 2016 Great Place Project, announced Maren Webb of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and Jim Boyd of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce.

An eight-member evaluation panel met recently to make selections from among the 25 excellent applications. “Unfortunately, we had only $14,000 to distribute,” Boyd said, “and about $26,000 in first-rate requests. Deciding which to fund was difficult.” The panel evaluated each project independently on half a dozen criteria, from visual impact and encouragement of active living, to amount of match and ‘playability.’ The project adopted ‘playability’ as a theme this year and gave additional points to projects that ‘enhance or create a place that welcomes people with a playfulness or whimsy, especially for children.’ Ultimately, the panel decided on funding 15 projects, some with a bit less money than requested in order to make the available funds spread as far as possible.

Major funding for the 2016 Great Place Race came in a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Power Foundation. Additional funding came from the Chamber and may be offset through additional, pending grant applications.

“We are very grateful to the Minnesota Power Foundation,” said Maren Webb of the Clinic’s Moving Matters project, co-sponsor with the Chamber of the Great Place Project. “Without its help, the 2016 program would have been in doubt.”

Projects funded in the 2016 Great Place Project include:

  • Grand Marais Art Colony: $1,250. A joint project with Grand Marais Art Colony, Voyageur Brewing, Cook County Higher Ed, Betsy Bowen Gallery and Studios, and First Congregational Church for a colorful wayfinding sign to be erected in front of the brewery on Highway 61.
  • Shore Girl Studios/Birchbark Books and Gifts: $1,250. Paint-by-number murals to be created by public during Arts Festival (July 9-10), then installed on north wall of Birchbark Books and Gifts.
  • Sivertson Gallery: $1,250. Phase 1 of 3-phase mural by Dave Gilsvik wrapping around two sides of Sivertson Gallery. Mural will depict the history of art in Cook County and Grand Marais.
  • Sarah Hamilton and Beaver House: $1,250. Restoration of murals and other elements on Beaver House exterior.
  • Cooperation Station Daycare: $1,150. Whimsical figures painted on fence around child care center’s playground.
  • Joy & Co.: $1,100. Sound wall and other child-friendly enhancements to playground area behind store.
  • Cook County Historical Society: $1,075. Project to beautify northwest corner of Bally Blacksmith Shop lot.
  • Cook County Community YMCA: $1,000. Outdoor play space for children ages birth-5 in front of YMCA building.
  • Schroeder Township: $930. Refurbish playground and public gathering area around Schroeder Town Hall.
  • Putt ‘n Pets: $800: Stand-behind face cutouts of farm scenes to be erected next to Putt ‘n Pets miniature golf.
  • Lockport Marketplace & Grill: $750. Creation of a colorful rest area for bicyclists near Highway 61 at Lockport Marketplace & Grill.
  • Nordic Wooden Ware: $550. Beautify area behind workshop next to Joy & Co.
  • Ann Possis: $500. Installation of outdoor ping pong table on grassy area in front of Grand Marais Library for free use by public.
  • Chris and Anne Hegg: $400. Construction and installation of two wooden benches at wildflower sanctuary at intersection of Gunflint Trail and County Road 60, on site of original Hedstrom mill.
  • Flybox and Company: $750. Transformation of a gravel parking lot into a retail store, with a deck, plants, and benches.

Projects will be implemented over the coming months. For more information, visit www.becausemovingmatters.org/greatplaceproject.

Published in the Cook County News-Herald, 4/23/16 edition.

Improv Comedy Explores Community Planning and Health on March 23rd

The Theater of Public Policy

The Theater of Public Policy

What happens when we bring together community members and elected officials, add dinner from the Pie Place, a panel of local experts, and an improv comedy theater company? Find out at “What the Health?! How Do We Plan for Community Vitality?” on March 23rd, presented by the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. This entertaining, free event will be held at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts in Grand Marais, 5:30 to 8:30 pm on Wednesday, March 23rd. The Theater of Public Policy and local experts will be helping us explore the relationships between health and community planning. How can we create a community in which everyone has a chance to live a long, healthy life?

“We thought it would be fun to create an event where people can explore the idea of community planning and health in conversations over dinner and through an improv comedy show. And it’s March, so we are all feeling a little cabin fever! The Theater of Public Policy fits the bill to keep it lighthearted and entertaining while delving into real issues and solutions,” said Kristin Wharton, Coordinator of the Moving Matters project at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.

Local government and community groups have a lot of influence over the factors that create a healthy community, whether or not it is always apparent. In the communities around us, factors such as housing, transportation, and land use can have a significant impact on our health. “What the Health?!” is an opportunity to explore the ways that we can use the tools available to promote the safety, health, and welfare of our community: be it through city ordinance, county plan, tribal food program, school initiatives, or other means.

The Theater of Public Policy is Minnesota’s favorite (and only) civics-inspired improv comedy company and will be making its first appearance in Cook County on March 23rd. The Theater of Public Policy is a unique forum meant to bring hard “thinky stuff” to life on stage. It’s ‘Meet the Press’ meets ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’.

As we gear up for this fun event, be sure to keep an eye out around the county for the #ThisIsHealth posters to see some ways we are already creating health in our communities. Come to the event on the 23rd with other examples in mind of how we can create health in our community outside of the health facilities.

This is a free event; dinner and child care will be provided. Please reserve your spot by contacting Hartley Newell-Acero, Hartley@sawtoothmountainclinic.org or 218-387-2330 x163, including the number of children for the childcare option at the YMCA. “What the Health?!” is presented by the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic’s Moving Matters project, with planning assistance from the Active Living Steering Committee. Funding for this project is provided by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with additional support from the Bush Foundation. Learn more about the Bush Foundation on March 24th at their lunch event at North House.

Originally printed in the Cook County News-Herald.

Download the ‘What the Health?!’ Flyer here.