Recharge the Range Update

Recharge The Range

Recharge the Range action groups moving forward

Recharge the Range

Several Recharge the Range action groups have held multiple meetings over the past couple months and are moving forward on a number of Recharge the Range initiatives.

Thank you to the action group leaders and group members who have given their time to meet on a regular basis and advance ideas that grew out of the four Recharge the Range forums.

IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips and Deputy Commissioner Mary Finnegan appreciate efforts of the action groups and their desire and dedication to keep Recharge the Range moving toward reinvigorating Iron Range business, communities and quality of life. 

Progress and initiatives accomplished by Recharge the Range will be highlighted in St. Paul March 29-30, at Duluth & St. Louis County Days at the Capitol.

Here’s an update on action group meetings:

Large Business Attraction and Expansion – This group has met multiple times since October. The group is focusing on workforce challenges in the region. A survey of area senior citizens has been distributed asking retired seniors whether they are interested in working either part-time or full-time. The survey also asks seniors what benefits would be most important to them such as health insurance, wage requirements or flexible hours.

Small Business Strategies – Has scheduled a March 2 forum at Minnesota Discovery Center to help existing online businesses and entrepreneurs succeed.

Natural Resources – Is discussing holding a regular forum to discuss ideas or communicate natural resource advances. A public education effort is also being discussed.

Education and Talent Development – This group has met twice since October and has goals of forming a private sector advisory board and building pride in our education and workforce. Also studying existing certificate programs, talent pools, service providers, research, messaging, and employer engagement.

Livable Communities – Three subgroups have been formed. All have met. Healthy Communities met Dec. 1 and determined a focus on mental health, food access and active living. The Recharge Downtowns group has created a database to track downtown projects and initiatives. The Creative Community group meeting was impacted by a winter storm, but the group is discussing ways to support the arts community and beginning to create a reference library of organizations and funding sources.

Infrastructure – Has divided into four subgroups: Regional Rail, Broadband, Local Government and Regional Connections. Broadband development and use has emerged as a primary topic.

Tourism – Focus is to create a public relations campaign to educate residents and businesses on the importance of tourism. Also discussing partnering with Minnesota Arrowhead Association at an April 17 tourism summit and creating a community calendar of events. Hometown Focus newspaper will be invited to the next meeting to talk about improving public communication about upcoming events.

Spin-off groups:

Healthcare – Formulating a goal of conducting a regional community health assessment. Roy Smith of IRRRB/NHED and Michelle Ufford of Northeast Minnesota Office of Job Training talked about educational opportunities and gaps at the last meeting.

Agriculture – Good turnout for this group meeting. Discussed difficulties the agriculture industry is facing. Want to discuss options available for financial assistance.

Secondary career survey targets area retirees


As mentioned above, the Recharge the Range Large Business Expansion and Attraction action group has created a new survey targeted at retired individuals in northeastern Minnesota. 

Complete the survey.

The survey deadline is Friday, Dec. 30. If you prefer to receive a paper copy, please contact Sara Ferkul at 218-735-3020.