Quick Hits

Community Supported Art

The Northwest Minnesota Arts Council is started its Community Supported Arts project yesterday.

In CSA, nine artists each receive a stipend to create 50 pieces of original artwork, called “shares”. The shares are then offered to the public in which fifty buyers will each receive nine pieces of artwork. Shares will be sold for $300 beginning on September 12, 2012.

IDEA Competition for business innovation

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is sponsoring its 5th Annual IDEA Competition.  Innovative business ideas and tools are eligible for a competitive grant of $10,000.  Here are some of the past winners.

State bonding

The state Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released its rankings on a recent competitive grant program using state bonding funds.  A St. Paul baseball park and a Duluth parking facility were at the top of the list.  Governor Mark Dayton has said that he will make the final decision on the use of $47.5 million in available funds.  Disclaimer: the City of East Grand Forks submitted an application for this program.  The application was not ranked.

Strong Towns contributor Nathaniel Hood wrote a scathing indictment of the selection.

The methodology relies heavily on short-term construction jobs and dead ideas. The available money is going towards “economic development” (emphasis on the quotations). However, you can file most of the proposals under four basic ‘old economy’ folders:

  • Civic / convention / sports centers
  • Parking garages
  • Industrial parks at the edge of town
  • Small town basic needs

Hood focused primarily on the Duluth parking facility.  Minnesota Public Radio (and others) took on the ballpark selection.

The $10 million-a-year estimate appears multiple times throughout St. Paul’s application. It refers to the amount of money people are expected to spend outside the ballpark when they attend a game.

But the application provides no documentation on how the city arrived at that number. In fact, elsewhere in the application, St. Paul suggests the economic impact would be much less.

Wouldn’t you know it

On the very day (yesterday), I provided an update to the city’s Green Choices Challenge competition, the web site went down for maintenance.  It’s back up now.