For folks watching the poll, all options are tied right now. You won't see the results unless you cast a vote.
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Hi, Cheryal Hills, Executive Director, Region Five Development Commission
Note that we have a poll open at the top of the window. Unscientific, of course, but so far, education seems to be leading the way as a big challenge.
Welcome, Cheryal. Cheryal is
the person who has been the driver behind the project. Hi, Cheryal.
Cheryal, I want to make sure we touch on economic and related environmental issues today, but first perhaps you can briefly explain why this complex, multi-year planning effort is important in central Minnesota.
Hey Dave, fun forum, thank you for hosting.
Hi, Nancy. Good to talk again.
The Resilient Region initiaitve is a project funded by HUD/DOT/EPA, three federal agencies. Its basically a way for our region to look at our regions critical issues and seek to deveop a vision that allows for economic vitality, environmental stewardship and values equitable practice.
Through a balanced approach.
Are there any particular trends in central Minnesota’s population or economy or demographics that make this effort important now?
Hi, Arlene. Welcome and thanks for your earlier comments.
Bob McLean joins us from Duluth. "Thanks for hosting. Location has intermittent access so I'll stay on as long as I can but may not be able to respond readily to things... more observing than chatting."
Over 300 people from the region are part of this Consortium. who are asking some difficult questions given what we think our issues are and will be....we seek to understand a direction that could benefit the quaility of life for today and future generations......does that sound right.
Bob's comment goes to the center of a lot of the comments we've been hearing.
What do people think is the best way to reach that balance?
Laura Hensen, Public Insight Network member and a retailer in Little Falls:
"I do not believe the two (environment and economy) are exclusive. We need green spaces, both accessible and undeveloped, to give people a healthy fun environment and to preserve our land heritage. Environmentally healthy communities attract and support new businesses and tourism."
But the question is often posed as a tradeoff -- clear water versus economic development. Is there another way to look at it?
well said Laura, I have heard and repeated the quote "Private companies create jobs in stable, healthy communities with a high quality of life"
Jay Eckel, Public Insight Member and Eagle Bend resident, says:
"We don't HAVE an environmental problem here. We do have an economical issue though. We need to be more "business friendly" or we are not going to survive. We can no longer just rely on ag related industry."
Their is an interdependancy here that is not comfortable to some. Without the environment we dont have the quality of life and we risk losing the resources that allow us to have economic vitality, without econmic vitality and a busienss friendly communities we have an abundance of natural resources with no inhabitants.
Feel free to chat with each other. To address someone specifically please place an "@" before their name.
Isn't there a sense that past economic development has indeed put pressure on the environment -- lake quality, perhaps most prominent in this area? Isn't that still going on? More importantly, what needs to change about people's thinking?
Robert Kutter writes on conservation challenges: “I serve on the board of a lake association, and it has been successful in getting government and farmers to work together to improve water quality. However, it has been difficult in the past to get cooperation from Todd County government. There is always a tension between the interests of agriculture and environmental interests."
Cheryal, perhaps you can expand on what you mean by the interdependency that makes some people uncomfortable? What do you mean by that?
@ Alan, what should be done to make telecommuting a more viable option in your community?