State of the City Community gathering looks to the future
By Shiloh Appel
On Tuesday evening, November 20th, a "State of the City" community gathering was held at the Redfield Armory. The meeting was hosted by the Redfield area Empower program. (Empower is a community coaching program developed by Dakota Resources to empower small communities to grow and thrive). Community coaches Mike Knutson and Kristi Wagner have been working with Grow Spink and local citizens for more than a year in five areas: Recreation/Wellness, Workforce Education / Small Business, Community Activities, Community Facilities and Daycare.
Approximately 70 local citizens were present at the November 20th meeting to hear all that has been accomplished in the past 18 months. Citizens were also able to take part in setting goals for 2019.
"This would be the second big annual meeting we have held just halfway through the program as a follow-up," said Grow Spink Executive Director, Gianna Lantero."We decided to put a little twist on it and include as much about the city of Redfield as possible that was also going on besides Empower. So we had the Mayor speak regarding the city."
Lantero also said that Superintendent Shad Storley spoke on the state of Redfield School, and Mike O'Keefe, CEO of the the Community Memorial Hospital in Redfield, updated those present on what has been happening at the Redfield hospital.
"We also decided to spotlight three smaller organizations in Redfield that don't get noticed or appreciated as much to just kind of celebrate what they do and their accomplishments," said Lantero. "We did the Lion's Club, the after school program and the Redfield Area Concert Association and Grow Spink donated money to each of them."
Before the November 20th meeting, Lantero said she and Knutson visited the Redfield School and spoke with the NHS and student council groups about their future goals for Redfield.
"The big question was would you want to do something of your own and have us adults here just to supervise and answer questions? They [do want] to have something of their own," said Lantero."The advisors of NHS and Student Council were going to kind of talk with them and they were going to come up with a list of projects they would like to do.They are responsible for doing all of the work. We are here to supervise and answer questions. But it is kind of like their baby. They are in the process of coming up with ideas right now."
Lantero shared some goals that have been accomplished over the past 18 months. These accomplishments include forming the Redfield Daycare Facebook page which lists all daycare providers in Redfield along with their phone numbers; the creation of Tot Gym at the Armory (for toddlers to have something to do during the winter); the development of the summer Discovery Program for children; the development of a career fair for high school students; and the establishment of the Redfield Farmer's Market.
Two of the goals that are still being processed include making a recreational beach at Redfield lake and renting canoes at the lake.
"The Redfield Recreation and Redfield Lake [groups] are looking into walk audits through Wellmark. Wellmark comes in and they do a walk around the community to see what types of things we could utilize in Redfield," said Lantero.
Other projects linked to the Empower program that are still being processed include building a new EMS center in town; getting the new Law Enforcement Center up; creating internship opportunities for students; and looking into the creation of a Redfield Community Center.
"We are looking on how we can utilize the Armory and expand on it," said Lantero. "So we have some [people] traveling to different towns and figuring out what works for those towns and kind of how they are laid out and what amenities work for them."
For the after school program in Redfield, Lantero said that the Empower Daycare group is also looking into solving the problem of transportation. Currently, the Redfield After School Program meets at the Methodist Church in Redfield and runs until about 6p.m. However, parents have struggled with finding ways to transport their children from the school to the church.
"A lot of them use the Spink County Transit, but it is full and a lot of parents have to leave work to take their kids there or find a mom who will take a bunch. So we are going to see what we can do to collaborate with the after school program," said Lantero.
Redfield is only halfway through the two-year Empower program, but wheels have been set into motion that don't seem to be slowing down any time soon.
"We are really excited and we are hoping to have some good volunteers," said Lantero."There are a lot of different events that were talked about. In the new year, we are going to get together with these five groups and regroup amongst each and find out what their individual goals are and get some projects started for next year."