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City arts and culture plan in place

Park Rapids has adopted a long-term arts and culture plan to serve as a road map, incorporating these areas of interest into the city's comprehensive plan.

The purpose is to use the arts as a key element in enhancing quality of life, promoting economic development, enhancing education and celebrating the community.

In June of 2016, the City of Park Rapids Arts and Cultural Advisory Commission applied for grant funds and hired the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) to help develop an arts and culture plan for the city.

The city council recently adopted the final plan, completing the year of research and public engagement within the city.

The HRDC received $9,000 from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation for the strategic planning process. The Park Rapids Lakes Area Arts Council (PRLAAC) has committed $1,000 toward the project. HRDC contributed another $2,500.

This strategic arts plan charts a course for the community's creative future.

Five goal areas to advance arts and culture in the city are outlined in the plan and include:

• Promote the creation and inclusion of art in public and private spaces

• Financially support the Park Rapids Arts and Culture Commission goals

• Recognize and support preservation of Park Rapids' historic and cultural assets

• Make the City of Park Rapids a regional destination for unique arts and cultural experiences

• Support the Arts and Culture Plan and respond to changing needs of the community

The plan states a community's arts and cultural resources and their activities and products are key resources and incubators of creativity. Individuals working in creative industries create new cultural, intellectual, and economic opportunities and innovations.

In addition to adding jobs and an economic boost, growing a substantial arts and culture community will help retain and attract good talent. Communities with rich cultural resources draw and retain today's talented, high skilled workers.

One of the main goals in the process of creating this plan was to encourage consideration of arts and culture in all city planning and decision-making, meaning the connections between the arts and culture plan and other city plans needed to be established.

Some of the goals from the city's comprehensive plan and the arts plan that are in alignment include:

• Maximize Park Rapids' potential as a thriving center for business and recreation, while maintaining and enhancing its livability

• Small city with many amenities

• Promote community unity and spirit and enhance character and identity

• Encourage a variety of experiences and opportunities in terms of living, working, and social activities within the community

• Support quality lifelong learning opportunities for community residents of all ages

• Protect important historical, cultural, and natural resources as a means to maintain the area's character and heritage

• Work with community and neighborhood leaders to gather support and cooperation for tourism, events and festivals by providing volunteer opportunities

The Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission's Armory Square feasibility study outlined the reuse of the former National Guard armory as a community art center and its potential economic impact on the community.

The Park Rapids Arts and Culture Advisory Commission is a formalized independent advisory board of the City Council established in 2011 to serve in an advisory capacity to the City Council on matters related to the development of arts and culture in the city.

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