Park Rapids community is strong overall; has room for improvement
Park Rapids has a relatively high level of social capacity and community readiness.
According to the Progress Park Rapids Indicator Report, the community is set up for success. Despite weaknesses in certain communication networks, the balance represented in Park Rapids will allow initiatives that are directed at long-term change to succeed.
The indicator report is a tool to help the community answer the question "What are the challenges Park Rapids faces and how do we utilize our assets to overcome them?"
The first four sections of this report (People and Talent, Economics and Prosperity, Community Wellness and Safety, and Livability) are focused on answering the what portion of this question. Social Capital and Community Readiness addresses how.
Through methodology identified by the University of Minnesota's Extension study titled "Readiness for Engagement: A Qualitative Investigation of Community Social Capacity" leaders and community members of Park Rapids were surveyed to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the community's social capital by answering questions relating to key areas. Findings show:
-Park Rapids needs stronger connections between individuals and institutions that are different from each other. Although there are strong connections between people and institutions of similar backgrounds, the connections between people with different backgrounds and groups with different missions are not as strong. While this issue challenges nearly all communities, the payoff in community progress, if done right, is huge.
-Connections between leaders and their constituencies are good but could be improved. A high level of trust between leaders and citizens allows tough issues to be addressed effectively. While the Park Rapids community has a reasonably high level of trust, improvement can be made. The community leaders have the energy to lead. Park Rapids leaders are looking forward and are open minded about the future of this community.
-The community should address major future issues by creating new bridges between people of different backgrounds and institutions with different missions. New issues and opportunities can be a good excuse to enhance the community's bridging capacity.
-The community should also explore new ways to link leaders/decision-makers with constituencies. This is a perennial question for all leaders.
Progress Park Rapids is committed to being the organization that will make raising social capital and over all community readiness a priority by increasing connections.
For more information about Progress Park Rapids, go to www.progressparkrapids.com.