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Ross Currier, Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC)
Working together to sustain a vibrant downtown Northfield
Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago
Wow, another first annual music festival in downtown Northfield (a. k. a. Music City), MN. The Hobo Music Fest “pays homage to the music of folk, bluegrass, and Americana icons such as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Boxcar Willie, and [Utah Philips]“. It’s “an evening of storytelling and revival-inspired music – an authentic and eclectic mix of folk, bluegrass, Americana, Delta blues, jazz, jug band – and perhaps a bit of punk rock”. Just another Saturday in Music City, Minnesota.
Saturday, August 30th: Riverwalk Market Fair, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Bridge Square; Farmers Market, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Riverside Park; Hobo Music Fest with Aaron Fredrickson, Jaybone Bell & The Restless Light, and Gabe Barnett & them Rounders, 5:00 to 11:00 p.m., Contented Cow; and Relativity, 8:00 p.m., Tavern Lounge.
Sunday, August 31st: Quiz Night, 8:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Little Man, the group voted Best Rock Band by City Pages, will appear for the first time in Southern Minnesota this Friday night. Led by virtuoso rock guitarist Chris Perricelli, the band provides a selection of ’60s and ’70s-inspired psychedelic rock. Little Man is just one of the many bands, including Occasional Jazz, The Zillionaires, Seven Steps to Havana, The Frye, The RCAs, Midnight Collision, Bonnie & the Clydes, and WindWorks, that are performing in Music City, MN this weekend.
Friday, August 22nd: Occasional Jazz, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Contented Cow; The Zillionaires, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Northfield Senior Center, Bridge Chamber Music Festival: Jazz Concert by Seven Steps to Havana, 7:30 p.m., Northfield Middle School Auditorium; The Frye, 8:00 p.m., Tavern Lounge; and Little Man, 9:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Saturday, August 23rd: Riverwalk Market Fair, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Bridge Square; ’80s Tribute Night Featuring The RCAs and Midnight Collision, 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., Contented Cow; and Bonnie & the Clydes, 8:00 p.m., Tavern Lounge.
Sunday, August 23rd: Bridge Chamber Music Festival: WindWorks and Pianist Andrew Hisey, 7:30 p.m., Urness Recital Hall on the St. Olaf College campus; and Quiz Night, 8:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Long-time Northfield Downtown Development Corp. Executive Director Ross Currier has resigned. Currier has accepted the position of Community Development Program Officer at the Minnesota Housing Partnership.
Currier has served as the NDDC’s Executive Director since July of 2003. During that period the organization strengthened its commitment to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program and its comprehensive approach to community vibrancy and economic vitality.
Major accomplishments of the organization during Currier’s tenure include: the establishment of a long-term relationship with the University of Minnesota Extension Service for the purpose of utilizing their market research expertise and their annual Retail Trade Analysis; collaborating with Carleton and St. Olaf Colleges to increase the economic leverage that downtown businesses have with students, families, and alumni, and to take advantage of the wealth of creativity and intellectual energy that students exhibit when analyzing social, economic, and environmental issues affecting the Northfield community; the annual publication and distribution of a print directory of downtown businesses and points of interest; the Historic Municipal Signs on I-35 directing visitors to Northfield for almost a decade; participating in many City of Northfield task forces for the purpose of improving and expanding the many public amenities in downtown Northfield; using social media to market downtown Northfield to both residents and visitors; and fostering regular communication between a wide range of downtown stakeholders.
Past President of the NDDC Board of Directors Greg Kneser said of Ross, “His most lasting contribution may be his daily work in being the touchstone for “all things downtown.” In word and deed, Ross reminded all that “Great downtowns don’t just happen” and his constant presence on the street, in businesses, at events, and in work sessions were the necessary actions that carried out the ideal.”
Currier particularly enjoyed working with a diverse mix of individuals and organizations on a wide range of issues important to the downtown district and the wider Northfield community. He noted, “The broader your definition and inclusion of stakeholders, the greater the depth of unique ideas and potential solutions”.
The NDDC board will hire an Interim Executive Director to complete implementation of the organization’s 2014 Work Plan and coordinate planning for 2015. The search will begin immediately. Currier has offered his on-going support to the NDDC.
The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation is a non-partisan 501©3 non-profit dedicated to a vibrant and vital downtown. For more information, contact: Greg Kneser, on behalf of the NDDC Board.
It’s the annual Bridge Chamber Music Festival. For almost two decades, this low-profile concert series has been presenting distinct talent ranging from young artists to internationally known chamber musicians. In recent years, the Festival has also been presenting regionally and nationally recognized jazz musicians. This year’s concerts once again bring a number of great artists to Music City, Minnesota:Festival Concert I Wednesday, August 20 7:30 PM Urness Recital Hall The ARTARIA STRING QUARTET with Scott Anderson, clarinet THE BRIDGE CHAMBER PLAYERS with Christopher Atzinger, piano and Martin Hodel, trumpet Young Artist Recital Thursday, August 21 7:30 PM, Studio A, Skifter Hall Jazz Concert I Friday, August 22 7:30 PM Northfield Middle School Auditorium SEVEN STEPS TO HAVANA Festival Concert II Sunday, August 24 7:30 PM Urness Recital Hall WINDWORKS with pianist Andrew Hisey KYU-YOUNG KIM, violin, PITNARRY SHIN, cello, ESTHER WANG, piano Festival Concert III Monday August 25 7:30 PM Carleton College Concert Hall THE BRIDGE CHAMBER PLAYERS NICOLA MELVILLE and JILL DAWE, piano STEPHANIE ARADO, violin, JOHANNA TORBENSON, viola and TOM ROSENBERG, cello with THE BRIDGE CHAMBER PLAYERS Jazz Concert II Tuesday August 26 7:30 PM The Grand Event Center (316 Washington St, Northfield) THE DAVE HAGEDORN TRIO The Festival is supported by an Arts and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council. For more information, visit the Bridge Chamber Festival website.
Yup, Northfield is increasingly, nationally known for its quirky events, diverse recreation, historic downtown, and surrounding scenery. It’s all part of the annual Outlaw Run. Folks come from around the region on their iron horses to explore southern Minnesota, retracing the trail of the notorious James-Younger Gang, on a 120-mile scenic cruise. Register at the Northfield Historical Society.
Saturday, August 16th: Outlaw Run, 8:30 a.m., Downtown Northfield; Riverwalk Market Fair, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Bridge Square; Maddie Hargis & Cassandra Crandell, 5:00 p.m., Contented Cow; Jeff Ray, 8:00 p.m., Tavern Lounge; Optimum Trajectory, 7:00 p.m., Contented Cow; and Todd Thompson Trio, 9:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Sunday, August 17th: Quiz Night, 8:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Bonnie & the Clydes, Joe Carey, Beautyofmyland, The Russ & Kris Project, The Basements, Fred the Bear, and The Counterfactuals. Yeah, just another weekend in Music City, Minnesota. Oh, there’s an opening reception for an art exhibit, a couple of screenings at a film festival, and the Farmers Market and the Market Fair. Yeah, just another weekend in charming and quirky Northfield, MN, the silver medalist in America’s small town category.
Friday, August 8th: Farmers’ Market, 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Riverside Park; Bonnie & the Clydes, 6:00 p.m., Contented Cow; Opening Reception: Time Travel Exhibit (mixed media and fine art by Lonnie Broden, Sheila Novak, Terry Pfoutz, and Leanne Stremcha), 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Northfield Arts Guild; Joe Carey, 8:00 p.m., Tavern Lounge; Beautyofmyland, 9:00 p.m., Contented Cow; and The Russ & Kris Project, 9:00 p.m., Froggy Bottoms.
Saturday, August 9th: Riverwalk Market Fair, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Bridge Square; The Basements, 8:00 p.m., Contented Cow; Fred the Bear, 8:00 p.m., Tavern Lounge; and The Counterfactuals, 9:00 to 11:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Sunday, August 10th: Jesse James Film Festival Screening: Jesse James at Bay (1941) and Days of Jesse James (1939), 2:00 p.m., Weitze Center for Creativity Cinema on the Carleton College downtown campus; and Quiz Night, 8:00 p.m., Contented Cow.
Downtown is also the historic business district, home of 72% of Northfield’s businesses, location of many of our notable business start-ups, and a powerful asset that attracts new businesses.
We bring people together in downtown.
We bring people together for downtown.
We use downtown to increase economic leverage from our amenities and assets for the benefit of the entire Northfield region.
We work together to advocate for private and public investment in the downtown.
We promote downtown to Northfield, to the best of our abilities, through a variety of media and a range of partners, to all neighborhoods and to all people.
We promote Northfield’s amenities and assets to visitors, and potential residents and businesses, in markets that we believe will most recognize their value.
We reach out to a wide variety of stakeholders for input on opportunities and challenges in the community’s physical infrastructure design.
We work to achieve implementation of projects that address the many elements of place and many forms of transportation and add lasting value to the community.
We seek input and partnership from a wide variety of economic stakeholders to develop a broad and comprehensive perspective of the local economy.
While recognizing that there may be obstacles, we focus on opportunities, working for incremental additional investment in one of Northfield’s most strongly performing assets.
And we keep working, year after year, because we also remember,
Great downtowns don’t just happen.
Northfield, MN was recently named as one of the Top Ten Small Towns in the country by Livability, placing second on the list. But what earned Northfield this high ranking? Let’s look at the assets and amenities cited in the piece.
In the order mentioned, they are Charming, Quirky, DJJD, Noontime Organ Recitals, Winter Walk, Higher Income Growth, Proximity to Medical Care, Great Schools, Abundance of Parks, Farmers Market, High Community Involvement, Excellent Quality of Life, Natural Beauty, Cannon River, Historic Downtown, Historical Architecture, Baked Goods, Vegetables, Artwork and Crafts (at the Riverwalk Market Fair), Anglers Kayaking, Canoeing, and Fishing (Bluegill, Walleye, and Northern Pike), Farms, Apple Orchards, Small Lakes, St. Olaf and Carleton Colleges (and their Christmas Festivals, Lectures, Theaters, Art Galleries, Continuing Education), Cowling Arboretum (Excellent Place to Hike, Run, Ski, and Fish) and a 15-Mile Trail System Ranked One of the Best Places in the Country to Run, Mill Towns Trail through Downtown and Sechler Park, and Cross Country Ski[ing] on Trails at Carleton College.
It’s a long list. So what does it mean?
“Charming” has often been mentioned in the comments about the award. Perhaps “Quirky” is more important. It certainly is more differentiating within the market.
The list mentions a lot of events: historic, artistic, cultural, and business. Are we talking about “Quality of Life”? It mentions higher incomes, quality medical care, great schools, abundance of parks, and farmers markets…perhaps a bit quirky with artwork and crafts. Yeah, we’re talking about “Quality of Life”…Northfield-style. Then there’s that high community involvement, so maybe our unique quality of life is a bit quirky.
Many of the events cited in the piece take place in downtown Northfield, MN. The Cannon River runs through it and historic architecture adorns it. At the Mayor’s Summit on Economic Development a year or so ago, one of the independent economic development professionals on the panel said that Northfield’s greatest asset was its quality of life. He also noted that downtown was a big part of that quality.
In fact, the list repeatedly references assets such as natural beauty, the Cannon River, the historic downtown, and historical architecture. Is this the natural and built environment of a quality life? Arts and crafts and artisan foods, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing…these are some of the things and some of the activities that we place within that environment. Downtown is a key piece of that environment, where the natural elements and the built elements come together.
The Four Foresighted Founding Fathers of the NDDC, Bardwell Smith, Brett Reese, Jim Braucher, and Keith Covey based the organization on on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Program. This comprehensive approach has led to a wide variety of collaborations and partnerships over the years, with a variety of stakeholders, including residential and commercial, artistic and economic, and historic and environmental interests.
For almost 15 years, the NDDC has been working to generate additional incremental investment, both private and public, in our most effective amenities and most powerful assets, the same amenities and assets that earned Northfield the silver medal among the nation’s small towns. The unifying place, the center of our networks, the heart of the community is our historic, scenic, artistic, active, and authentic downtown.
Let’s remember the assets and amenities that earned the silver medal. Let’s continue to advocate for incremental additional investment in these assets.
…and maybe we should print up some bumper stickers that say “Keep Northfield Quirky”.