CDI Grants Awarded

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

April 4, 1997

Wisconsin, Minnesota Communities Win Grants

The Czech Area Communities of New Prague, Montgomery and Lonsdale, Minn., and the Barron County Wisconsin Transportation Coordination Committee have been selected by the Cooperative Development Initiative to receive specialized training and technical assistance over the next couple years.

The Cooperative Development Initiative is a project of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Rural Development Institute, made possible by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Its goal is to provide training and technical assistance to multi-community groups in Wisconsin and Minnesota who are collaboratively addressing common problems.

Located on the southwest fringe of the Twin Cities, the Czech Area Communities are working together to facilitate the orderly development and growth of the three cities.

The Czech Area Communities will assess their various zoning regulations and annexation rules. Results from the study will be used to make recommendations to the two counties and five townships regarding proposed changes in zoning so the communities share similar or compatible zoning regulations. Additional plans include the development of a jointly owned industrial park, addressing transportation issues between the communities due to inconsistent weight restrictions on highways, and possibly transportation between and among the three communities.

Creating a plan for a coordinated county wide transportation system through the collaborative efforts of several public and private groups is the goal of the Barron County Wisconsin Transportation Coordination Committee.

Members of the committee include representatives of the general public and several governmental agencies that provide transportation for their clientele. Building on its current data, the Coordination Committee will gather additional information on existing transportation services in the county (funding sources, restrictions on the use of funding or on ridership, fees paid/generated), and will identify gaps between what is provided and what is needed.

Ultimately, the group hopes to use this data to develop a coordinated transportation plan that would continue to serve clientele currently served, and those who do not have access to transportation. By pooling the resources of several groups, they hope to provide better service, avoid duplication, make better use of the vehicles already in the county, and better use of individual agency volunteer and staff time spent coordinating transportation.

Both groups will be using summer interns funded in part by the Cooperative Development Initiative grant to collect their data.

The Cooperative Development Initiative will assist both the Czech Area Communities and the Barron County Transportation Committee in the design of the data collection instrument, analysis and ultimately in the development and implementation of the plans that result.

Other groups that have or continue to receive assistance from the Cooperative Development Initiative include: the St. Croix Valley Regional Tourism Alliance, a cooperative venture of 19 communities along the Lower St. Croix Naitonal Scenic Riverway; the Northwest Minnesota Development Achievement Center Cooperative, a nonprofit cooperative made up of 8 DACs in the northwest corner of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Agro-Forestry Cooperative in central Minnesota, a co-op that will assist farmers to grow hybrid poplar trees and market them to the pulp and paper, oriented strand board, or bio-mass energy industries and other potential users of these trees.

For additional information on the Cooperative Development Initiative, contact Professor David Trechter at the UW-River Falls, at 715-425-3129.

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