The Tatanka Bluffs group put together a five-year plan for the Redwood River valley that focused on making strides in five major areas – outdoors,  education, renewable tourism, community celebrations and events and economic development.


What follows is a report card on the past five years which looks to determine if the plan it had in place has been accomplished.


 


Several years ago, as a result of attendance at a Blandin Leadership Conference, a group of local leaders began talking about a new approach to regional development.

To make a long story short, that group began the process the public knows today as Tat-anka Bluffs. 

The basic premise of Tatanka Bluffs has been to promote the region, which is made up of the 26 communities in Redwood and Renville counties.

Collaboration of the two counties, the group determined, could lead to bigger and better things from enhanced tourism to the development of more reasons for people born and raised here to stay here after graduation.

As part of the newly branded concept, the group put together a five-year plan that focused on making strides in five major areas – outdoors,  education, renewable tourism, community celebrations and ev-ents and economic development.

One of the most significant ways this goal has been achieved is through the development of the organization of the Green Corridor Project.

Through this organization, which focuses attention on acquiring marginal land from willing landowners, millions of dollars has come into the county and land has been set aside in the Minnesota River Valley Watershed to enhance recreation.

According to Brad Cobb, who is the Green Corridor project coordinator, there are other tracts of land that it is currently working to acquire, emphasizing it works with the DNR and other organizations to ensure the land is utilized to its potential.

Discussions have been held to enhance the trail systems in the region. A bike path in Redwood Falls has been developed since the initiation of Tatanka Bluffs, and a discussion has been held about developing other trails, including the Chief Sleepy Eye Trail from Redwood Falls to Sleepy Eye using the old railroad bed.

In terms of education enhancements, the biggest addition is the satellite classrooms known as the Redwood Area Learning Center.

Through that site, located in the Redwood County Government Center, people in Redwood Falls and the surrounding area can enroll in classes via Minnesota West Com-munity and Technical College, and can, through ITV, take those classes without ever leaving town.

While the idea started with discussions of an aviation program at the airport, it developed into a much broader program that is serving the community.

Another development is the enhancement of local arts.

Utilizing the Tatanka Arts brand, a group has started Tatanka Arts, which is bringing artists form around the area together in order to better promote arts in the entire region.

The Tatanka Bluffs concept is, as board member Loran Kaardal described the border pieces of the puzzle.

What the group now hopes to do is start filling in the rest.

To that end, a meeting is being held March 20 to talk about the vision for the next five years.

As the concepts for the first five years are not yet deemed complete, work is going to continue on that, but developing new ideas with new people taking ownership is what is going to keep the ball rolling.

Marketing is also going to be enhanced in the upcoming weeks, as the Tatanka Bluffs group is receiving assistance in the development of a new Web site that can become a link for many of the other things going on throughout the region.

The board has representatives from both of the counties.

Tatanka Bluffs is also looking for ways to raise funds, and one way it can do that is through memberships.

One can become a member of Tatanka Bluffs for $20 for an individual or $30 for a family. All one has to do is to live or work in Redwood or Renville County. The ball is rolling forward, the group just hopes to keep the momentum.

The group broke into various committees to take on each of these concepts, and each group then developed further goals – things it hoped it could get done, or at least started, over a five year period. That five-year period comes to a close this year.

What follows is a report card on the past five years which looks to determine if the plan it had in place has been accomplished.

In terms of the outdoors, there were ideas about the development of trails of various kinds, as well as a plan to increase the amount of public land available for recreation.