Park Rapids Residents Asked To Be A Part Of The ACTION
The people of Park Rapids are taking the initiative to make their community better, 90 days at a time. ACTION Park Rapids kicked off last year, and since then, the group has created dozens of new ideas to make life in Park Rapids a little brighter. “ACTION” stands for “actionable, collaboration, together, implementing, opportunity, now.”
“A lot of different organizations in the community were doing a lot of different things in their own silos and they were doing things independent of each other, so rather than having everybody working on the same project. What’s called community facilitation, that got everybody into one room with the hopes that we can get together for a common goal, collaborate and come up with things that would create action,” says Butch De la Hunt, president and CEO of the Park Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
Anyone is welcome to attend the ACTION meeting, which makes for a diverse group of people with different opinions from different backgrounds. The groups meet every three months.
“We started out with about 35 people in January of 2017. Today is our largest group; we have 54 people from a variety of organizations, businesses, volunteers. Just people who came and want to see what’s going on,” says Mary Peterson, a volunteer with ACTION Park Rapids.
The idea behind the meetings is to come up with a plan of action that can be accomplished in the next 90 days. At this meeting, the crowd was divided into nine groups that focused on a different part of the community. The groups were seniors, volunteers, youth, health, business, arts, education, veterans and basic needs.
So far, there have been dozens of the new initiatives that have come out of meetings including an Ojibwe signage project, new recreation plans and an initiative to make Park Rapids a dementia friendly community.
De La Hunt says, “We’ve had some great success stories. For example recently, and there will be a lot more information coming up, the volunteer Park Rapids website came out of this group, even though it was talked about for many many years as, ‘it’s be great,’ this was the vehicle for people to get in a room, work together, focus on their grants, see how they can do it, put a 90 day plan together, and they got somewhere.”
At the end of the meeting, each group shares their new ideas for the next 90 days, and then they hear feedback from their peers on how to move the ideas forward.
“It’s not a group at the top saying, ‘You all need to be doing this.’ This is from the grassroots up. So these are people coming together saying, ‘We want to make our community a better place. Here’s what we see. Here’s what we hope we can accomplish.’”
Some of the new ideas the group came up with today include adding a bike trail, getting a United Way chapter and initiating phase two of the Dementia Friendly Community program. The next Park Rapids ACTION meeting will be held on August 2nd. You can find a full recap of today’s meeting at parkrapids.com/actionparkrapids.