Who says small towns don't have anything to offer? Certainly not us! For years, we have championed small towns across North Dakota and beyond.
We had nominated Regan- pop 44- as a Main Street Community over a year ago. (Regan is where part of our farm is) And... Drum Roll.... The Governors office called and said they would LIKE A TOUR! Now what?
I can tell you it would have been great to have still had a party line! It would have made contacting people so much faster.
When Governor Burgum took office he implemented a Main Street Initiative. This is based on three 'main pillars of success'- Smart Infrastructure, Skilled Workforce and Vibrant Main Streets.
This effectively ruled out nearly all the micro-sized communities- because the above requires a population!
We never felt that a lack of people made any of these small towns in North Dakota any less important to the health and greatness of the state.
In just a matter of days we had most things up and ready to go. The tour was organized, food and coffee lined up, phone calls made.
There were some funny moments- like the stunned silence when it was mentioned that 'they' were bringing a passenger bus for the tour... (keep in mind Regan only has 44 people)
Are you wondering what we showed the good folks from the state??
Regan does have more than meets the eye! Read all about it here: Everything but a Starbucks.
Mayor Gillig led the tour talking about the history of Regan and wants and needs. The visitors were shown the historic jail, the school house turned event center, Old Main Street and more.
The locals shared many fabulous ideas. One of the best ideas was to someday have a local sporting center/gym. This would be ideal because Regan is centrally located between two towns with schools that need somewhere to train for sports. Other good ideas were listing Main Street on the Film Makers Association site for a location site and using the commercial kitchen in the old school as a business incubator.
The listening session was awesome! The ideas, and the information available was perfect for Regan. Many (ok most) had no idea there were so many programs offered through the state to help with start-ups, funding, building , expansion, housing and more. A personal Thank You to Emily at the Department of Commerce for bringing a printed copy of ALL the resources for Mayor Gillig who is NOT online at all.
Regan has survived over 100 years a community and is an example to other small and micro-sized communities that every community, no matter how small, has something to offer. Regan has also shown tremendous small town pride and a willingness to not settle, to not be complacent, but to continually try to find ways to reach to the future.
We would say Regan's Main Street Summit was a roaring success!
Read the full AgWeek Magazine version here: "Where there's a will"
Annette & Kate
If it involves small towns, rural, business or people, we write about it. Both the good and the bad. Part of our passion is helping you be the best you can be.