Hens Do Crow! Oct. 11, 2019

By Deborah Banish

Last weekend was the big celebration of the 35th Annual Uffda Day. The sun was shining, and the wind was blowing but there was a large crowd of visitors. With the great weather, people came as far as Arizona and in-State as far as Pembina and Bismarck for the festivities. There were more vendors than prior years and they overflowed into the streets and alleys so there was a lot to see and do. The kids always enjoy the jump houses and the train rides, and the adults enjoy the company, the food, the vendors, and watching the kids. About 500 people took advantage of the homecooked scalloped potatoes and ham dinner at the Hall, while others enjoyed the Uffda tacos, brats, abelskievers and rommegrot. The parade had some new entries and old standbys and after the parade kids jumped at the opportunity to scramble for Nickels and do their best at the pedal pull. The evening ended with the Norsk-Ski competition that was won by the team of Philip Breker, Maria and Vance Zacharias and Corey Arnold. Needless to say, everyone was tired by the end of the day – even the troll in front of the Hall looked well-worn out on Monday morning.

The Rutland City Council held its monthly meeting on Monday, October 7, and received an update from the City Engineer on the emergency lagoon repair project. The lagoon is functional and ready for use. The contractor will be seeding grass, repairing the fence and cleaning up the project area. The Council adopted the 2020 budget and approved the bond sale for the lagoon project as recommended by City bond counsel. The Council also approved participation in the Sargent County Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. The Council discussed the condition of the City streets and stated that a repair or overlay will be needed next year which may require another special assessment. The next meeting will be Monday, November 4.

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Hens Do Crow – April 5, 2019

By Deborah Banish

On Friday, March 29, representatives from the Main Street Initiative visited Rutland to meet with community leaders. The Main Street Initiative seeks to create healthy, vibrant communities to attract the talent needed to support growing businesses. The Initiative is built on three pillars: (1) healthy, vibrant communities; (2) a 21st Century workforce; and, (3) smart, efficient infrastructure. The goal is to give local leaders a direct access point to a variety of resources, helping capitalize on strengths and make sound planning decisions. Two representatives from the Department of Commerce toured Rutland to see first-hand the existing businesses, homes and infrastructure in the City before meeting with the community leaders. Representatives from the ND Game & Fish Department, USDA Rural Development, Lake Agassiz Regional Council and the Sargent County Teller attended the hour-long discussion. The turnout was small but that led to a robust and honest conversation that focused on Rutland’s strong sense of community, involvement of City and rural residents to help Rutland provide events and activities that draw people to town. Tim Phelan, ND Game and Fish, noted that the change in agriculture has impacted many communities. Farmers now have semis to haul grain, so they do not make as many trips into town and schools have consolidated in many communities so not every town has a school and café or a grain elevator. This is a challenge. Hunting only provides seasonal support and that also depends on the area wildlife. The group discussed the need in Rutland for more single-family homes, a café and child care. Katie McLaen, Rutland Community Club President, noted that there are many families with young children who may be able to support a childcare facility if one was in Rutland. She noted that Rutland has lower-cost homes that are more economical to purchase than to build a new home. Emily Brown, Dept. of Commerce, said there are funding possibilities including grants and loan programs for childcare centers. Shawn Kessel, Deputy Commissioner, Dept. of Commerce, informed the group that the State collects a 5% tax on Amazon sales. He suggested the City, as a Home Rule City, implement a sales tax to capture similar sales. The City could also implement a lodging and hospitality tax as another revenue-generating source. Rutland would be eligible for the Renaissance Zone program and funding; that requires Zoning Ordinances and a Comprehensive Plan as a start. City Auditor Deborah Banish stated that the City updated both of those documents in 2018; the next step is to prepare the Renaissance Zone paperwork and submit that to the State. Amber Metz, Lake Agassiz, suggested a community-owned café to start meals. Residents would need to commit to eating at a café twice weekly to sustain the business. Discussion focused on funding opportunities and community needs and it was a very informative exchange of information and ideas. The Main Street Initiative representatives will return later this year to help put together a Main Street Initiative plan for Rutland.

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