A Strategic Economic Development Plan for Lake Crystal’s Future

Lake Crystal, MN – Region Nine Development Commission (RNDC) and the City of Lake Crystal are creating a strategic economic development plan that will guide the city as it looks to the future.


The Lake Crystal Strategic Economic Development Plan will be the result of a seven month initiative between RNDC and the City of Lake Crystal, with an expected completion date of October 2019, and will create a comprehensive picture of Lake Crystal’s local economy, position, and reputation within the region. The plan will incorporate public engagement and feedback that will allow RNDC to verify findings, test assumptions, and uncover additional challenges or opportunities that the city may face.


RNDC and the City of Lake Crystal will hold an open house on June 12, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the City Hall community room to gain public input on the plan regarding their vision for Lake Crystal’s future. Residents are also encouraged to take a short survey at https://www.lakecrystalmn.org/surveys prior to this event.


“The City decided to complete an economic development strategic plan in order to lay out goals and strategies that will help us grow business, expand our tax base, and improve the quality of life for our residents,” shared Lake Crystal City Administrator, Taylor Gronau.


“Region Nine is excited to be working with the City of Lake Crystal on their strategic economic development plan. Their initiative to do this in an effort to strengthen the city in a future-oriented way and their efforts should be applauded. It is very much an investment for future generations as the city wants to make sure that Lake Crystal remains a great place to live, work, and go to school.


The city has an exceptionally educated work force and is strategically located within our region, so we are working hard to examine economic and market conditions as well as soliciting critical input from its residents through surveys and an open house in June that can be turned to sustainable competitive advantages for the city. The city’s residents have already exceeded our expectations in terms of input, which speaks for itself when it comes to what kind of place Lake Crystal is. We are eager to see the impact this plan has on Lake Crystal and how the community will continue to thrive,” shared Executive Director of Region Nine Development Commission, Nicole Griensewic Mickelson.

Region 9 director completes world idea tour

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Ideas from around the world could soon be coming to Southern Minnesota’s agriculture and economic development.

Region Nine Development Commission Executive Director Nicole Griensewic Mickelson recently traveled to Puerto Rico as part of the Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.

There she exchanged ideas on best practices for business development.

Mickelson also traveled to Germany, where she exchanged ideas on the future of workforce development and the future of food.

She says now she hopes to keep the conversation going.

“I think we have a lot of really great partnerships, and I won’t be surprised if we do have some specific projects with them in the future,” said Griensewic Mickelson.

She will serve as an ACE Ambassador for the next two years.

View the KEYC article.

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Eleventh Americas Competitiveness Exchange

WASHINGTON – From May 18-25, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and International Trade Administration (ITA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and the Organization of American States (OAS), will participate in the Eleventh Americas Competitiveness Exchange (ACE) on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Puerto Rico.

ACE has been recognized as a successful tool for bilateral and multilateral cooperation, furthering the ability of U.S. businesses to compete at home and abroad. Previous hosts have found ACE to be an important vehicle to advance commerce and trade between them and participating nations.

For ACE 11, nearly 50 high-level representatives from 22 countries will explore global and regional partnerships as well as economic development opportunities.

“ACE is an important tool in showcasing the incredibly innovative capacity of U.S. regions and their ability to forge global commercial relationships in support of U.S. companies,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “We look forward to demonstrating how Puerto Rico’s emerging innovation economy can help drive new private investment to the Island to spur mutually-beneficial business deals and advance local resiliency efforts.”

Continue reading.

May E-Newsletter

Read about upcoming events, funding opportunities, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!

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Region Nine Development Commission Talks Future Of Improvement Program

The Region Nine Development Commission met Wednesday afternoon to review MnDOT’s Area Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2020 – 2023.

The $285 million program will bring much needed support to the roads, bridges, and infrastructure in the nine-county region. Public input is essential to ensuring taxpayer funds are invested wisely, so the community was invited to look over the draft and provide feedback.

“They’ll see things for Highway 14. They’ll see things in every single county. There are roads and bridges that are a priority, there’s trails that are priority and also as I said the safe Routes to school will be in there too. Transportation is more than just moving cars it’s about public health, it’s about our environment, it’s also about our economies, so all three of those things are really important to the people that live in this region,” Shawn Schloesser with Region Nine said.
Portions of the draft will be included in a state plan, which will go for approval before the Commissioner of Transportation.

–KEYC News 12

Mankato bucks trend of rural population decline

MANKATO — In 29 of 30 non-metro counties in southern Minnesota, it’s the same story — more Americans are moving out than moving in.

Only Blue Earth County has seen population growth via domestic migration in the first eight years of this decade, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau this month. It was part of a trifecta for Mankato — more births than deaths, an increase in foreign-born residents and more Americans making Mankato their home than former Mankatoans moving elsewhere — that pushed the county’s population up by 3,414 to 67,427.

Blue Earth County has now moved ahead of Rice County as the 13th most populated among Minnesota’s 87 counties.

“I think a lot of community leaders have been really thoughtful about how we attract and retain people,” said Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of the Region Nine Development Commission.

Continue reading the Free Press article.

April E-Newsletter

Read about upcoming events, funding opportunities, and more in the latest issue of Region Nine’s E-News!

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Mankato, Blue Earth receive Safe Routes to Schools grants

Safe Routes to Schools grants announced this week will help the city of Blue Earth add trails and improve pedestrian routes, and will help update a plan for pedestrian improvements near Mankato schools.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is granting $2.3 million to 29 cities and school districts to support infrastructure and programs that encourage more students to walk and bike to school and to make their routes safe.

Mankato Area Public Schools is among 18 recipients of planning grants. The district received $25,000 to partner with the Region Nine Development Commission to update and expand its Safe Routes to Schools plan.

The plan was drafted in 2013 and included desired improvements around six of the district’s elementary schools, said Shawn Schloesser, Region Nine community and business development specialist.

Continue reading The Free Press article.

The Free Press Names and Notables- Region Nine Development Commission

Region Nine Development Commission’s Executive Director, Nicole Griensewic Mickelson was selected to participate in the 11TH Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship as a newly selected ACE Ambassador.

Ambassadors are chosen based on their proven leadership and commitment to open doors in their community.

ACE is designed to connect decision makers from the Americas and beyond to establish international and regional partnerships, increase trade and investment, and strengthen Hemispheric innovation and competitiveness by building on ideas and models that work to create jobs.

The program has resulted in more than 2,000 collaboration opportunities, strategic alliances, and new projects.

ACE is organized and supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of State, and the Organization of American States.

The 11th ACE will take place in Puerto Rico May 18-25.

ACE 11 will showcase examples of effective innovation and entrepreneurship-related initiatives underway in Puerto Rico that are impacting its economic development and recovery with the goal of creating information sharing and collaboration building opportunities for all participants. The program will take participants to 10 cities of all sizes throughout the island, where they will interact with over 30 key innovation-driven businesses and institutions as well as share emerging technologies and best practices linked to the sharing economy, renewable energy, medical tourism, smart cities, and the internet of things.