Avon, Cold Spring Earn Hometown Turnaround Opportunity
September 7, 2018
Avon and Cold Spring have been selected for the Hometown Turnaround opportunity organized by the Initiative Foundation. Deb Brown, a nationally renowned community development specialist, will visit each community in mid-September.
“We are so excited about the opportunities that await Avon and Cold Spring,” said Hickman. “We received compelling applications from a number of communities, but Cold Spring and Avon stood out as the most prepared to engage the community and enlist the expertise of Deb Brown.”
Communities were also evaluated on their understanding of their community story and their ability to highlight local needs, challenges and opportunities.
Brown will visit with community members and take a tour around town during her four-day visit. At the end of the visit, she will provide a report with her findings and next-step recommendations to take local action.
“We have passion in Cold Spring. People are dedicated to their community and want to see the people and businesses in their hometown thrive,” said Reva Mische, economic development coordinator for Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA). Cold Spring, less than 20 miles from St. Cloud, is viewed by many as the gateway to the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes. “We want to give future generations a reason to come back home, welcome newcomers, invest in our downtown, strengthen our collaborative efforts, further accessibility to area resources and harness and ignite that passion our community members have,” she said. “There is so much pride in our community, and now we would like to take a step back and come up with a plan to take action so we can continue building a vibrant community.”
Jodi Austing-Traut, Avon city administrator and clerk, describes Avon as the “real Lake Wobegon,” in reference to Garrison Keillor’s fictional town in his “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show. “Avon is an exceptional community nestled between the lakes and hills of Central Minnesota,” Austing-Traut said in her community’s video application. “Avon is a very progressive community and stakeholders and decision makers have always been open to new and fresh ideas. Folks who come here tend to stay here and are committed to making Avon great.”
“Avon and Cold Spring have abundant opportunities for continued development, growth and community vitality,” Hickman said. “We will continue to follow the progress made after Deb Brown’s visit and look forward to the results.”
About the Initiative Foundation
The Initiative Foundation exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities within its 14-county region of Central Minnesota by offering leadership training, business loans, nonprofit grants and donor services. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has invested multiple millions in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments.