A Brief Look Back, while this blog remained quiet…
The last two years have been different, to say the least. Ortonville businesses have gone through some tough times – and our economic development focus combined resources & time to post all information on MNbump so that there was a one-stop resource of information and assistance. It has been amazing to see how our residents strived to support local – which was amazingly evident when the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber created the “COVID-19 Business Support Campaign” and kicked it off with a live telethon hosted by KDIO 1350 AM and on a Facebook Live to take orders for gift certificates in any amount for local businesses – encouraging people to use the cards later as businesses were bouncing back (and some chose to never use the cards, creating a donation). The Chamber had raised over $20,000 before the telethon had started – $80,000 during the telethon – and ended the efforts by raising $107,275 for local businesses – with 2,074 gift certificates and cards – April 1, 2020! Our Chamber has one staff person and some very dedicated volunteers.
A county-wide Concert of Prayer was held on April 5, 2020, in the evening which had Deacon Paul Treinen leading the prayer for the sick, Pastor McKewin a prayer for Health Care, Pastor David Homrighausen for the vulnerable & afraid, Pastor Phil Oslund for Economic and Business, Pastor David Tonn for leaders, Pastor Lynn Thomas for Students, Teachers & Schools, Pastor Nissen for Churches, Pastor Richard Larson for Essential Works and Minister Jim Rach for Police & Sheriff – along with Franky Koval, Jon Rogers, and Julie French provided music! Wow – looking back on this event – it was amazing! Back when I’d only been on a few Zoom meetings and had just read through some of the capabilities – I was asked by Mary Ross if a Concert of Prayer could be held online and somehow tied in with the radio broadcasting… I talked with Julie French with KDIO 1350 AM – and told Mary “Sure, I think we can do that”. Of course, all the clergy and music were each at their own locations and so was everyone joining. Everyone could either listen live from KDIO, watch via Zoom or they could watch on Facebook Live (that was the plan, and it worked!) The moment when we were to go live, I was sitting in my living room with a laptop…. I remembered thinking of the commercial “No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night” commercial – then said a quick prayer and went live. Everything went as scheduled/planned – amazing! Such an awesome evening of coming together!
On one more looking back… as it pertains specifically to the City of Ortonville… The City received $136,818 in CARES funding on the first round – and with true dedication to our businesses, utilized $105,399 of that funding to provide grants to Ortonville businesses. With so much turmoil and unknown… it was amazing to be living in a community and County that pulled together to support one another.
We were fortunate to have so many outdoor opportunities while we were socially distanced… check out this blog post on MNbump – https://mnbump.com/living-rural-during-a-pandemic/ — we were also very fortunate to have great health care, public safety, and first responders of every kind!
Now, to kick off this blog again – what’s happening in Ortonville!
A few current projects the Ortonville EDA is working on and some great community highlights:
Child Care! Working with a core group of community members and organizations, we are going through the Rural Child Care Innovation Program through First Children’s Finance. Goal? Expand the infant and toddler slots within the area covering the Ortonville School District as well as find community goals to support the existing childcare programs that are in operation. LINK to more info
Cashtown Property – Looking for development…
The EDA is working with the Upper Minnesota Regional Development Commission and their architectural consultant – we’ve reached out for community input and now working through the design. To follow along on the updates check this LINK!
eCommerce Training for Businesses – working with Big Stone Area Growth and their Blandin grant to bring training to our businesses to expand sales online!
Local family – Artie & Krista Arndt has purchased the Econo Lodge – most know Artie from Artie’s Bait & Tackle and Krista as an awesome Child Care provider for years, here in Ortonville. Check out my interview with Artie…
Lakeshore Wonders has opened on Main Street in Ortonville with homemade ice cream – along with so much more – what a summer treat that will be for those coming back to their lake cabins & summer homes!
The last 1.3 miles of the bike trail will be paved in 2023! The trail connects Ortonville’s Lakeside Park to the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. For more details check out this LINK!
The City’s new Dog Park just opened (this has certainly been a hit!)
LINK to Dog Park Info
Northside Park is getting ready for Summer Rec – and was just awarded a grant from Countryside Public Health SHIP to install an outdoor bottle filler w/drinking fountain – which I’m sure will be well used during Summer Rec practices and hosting their games! For more information on signing up for Summer Rec check out this LINK
Riverside Park Campground has received electrical updates – and is very conveniently located to the bike trail, fishing, groceries, downtown eateries, and shopping – and near a free RV Dumpsite. $10/night. For more information, check out this LINK.
The recent performances from the Ortonville School Theater Department have been amazing!
For highlights from their latest production – check this LINK
Watch this blog for more to come… frequent updates on the latest from the City of Ortonville!
Vicki Oakes, Community Development Coordinator