Mason eagle 2.JPGWhat is your favorite part of living in Norman County? What is your least favorite part?

If you can answer either of these questions…have we got an opportunity for you!

The Norman County Economic Development Authority (NCEDA) is partnering with the University of Minnesota Extension in a “Discover Norman County” program to highlight our county using your ideas!

   Leaders are working to highlight the strengths of the county and reverse the trend of decreasing population and business opportunities by investing in the program. The program will bring county residents together to talk about the reasons why they live here and find ways to deal with the challenges.  Groups will work to identify ways to make the county a place where others want to live, work and enjoy the outdoors too. In addition to county residents who are invested in the health of their community, the U of M is encouraging alumni from its Emerging Leadership Program to get involved as well.

BellRingerLaurenSather-S&A Gary.jpgDiscover Norman County gives community members the opportunity to work together to help their community grow, to network with the rest of the county and to create a strong community for generations to follow. Facilitators in each area of the county will guide small groups through conversations to share ideas and create plans both to help attract new residents to Norman County and to create more opportunities for current residents as well.


Residents of all ages are invited to get involved as conversation facilitators or as a study circle group member.

There will be five groups in Norman County; one on the west side, one on the east side, one in the center, one on healthcare and one for young people.

Volunteer facilitators will receive training by U of M educators Career Medical field collage.jpegthis November. Facilitators will lead four study circle groups over a six-week time period starting in January and ending by March 30. They will guide productive conversations and activities based on the Marketing Hometown America study guide. Each group will develop a marketing plan and share it at a county-wide action forum in the summer. Then the excitement of implementing the plan begins.

County residents who would like to participate as group members will attend the four meetings, engage in conversations with other members about community strengths and needs, share the outcome of their group at the action forum meeting and help put the plan into action.

About us: The NCEDA became official last June. The seven-member board can easily share the best parts of their home towns, but the real gem has been discovering the hidden gems in the other areas of Norman County.  This includes some of the best catfish fishing in our part of the state on the west side, a 160-acre wonderland forest for all ages on the east side, excellent recreational clubs in all areas, forward thinking schools, strong local governments, access to health care and more. We all have a favorite part of living in Norman County. Share yours.

Board members were nominated by their communities last winter and approved by the County Commissioners in May. Members include chairperson Karie Kirschbaum from the Gary area; vice chair John Hintz representing the Ada/Borup area; treasurer - Lee Ann Hall representing the Norman County Commissioners; vice-treasurer Mark Askelson representing the Twin Valley/Flom area; secretary Jessica Spaeth representing the Halstad/Shelly area; Hiliary Chisholm representing the Ada/Borup area; and Curt Johannsen representing the Hendrum/Perley area. For more information, contact your local representative, email or call chairperson Karie Kirschbaum at 218-350-1673.