<CENTER><B>BCIP grant identifies<br> wish list for town health</B></CENTER>

By Lori Ehde

It's been more than a year since the Blandin Foundation offered Luverne a chance at free money to improve the health of its community.

Since last summer, residents have been looking at possible projects that would qualify for the Blandin cash.

After countless brain-storming meetings and input from hundreds of individuals, three community projects have been identified in a grant request through the Blandin Community Investment Partnership.

The grant request incorporates all three proposals into a $760,000 project named "Luverne VIP: Vision, Involvement and Promise."

Economic development

Residents in the past year identified economic development as one major priority, particularly looking to tourism, agribusiness and high-tech opportunities as ways to improve Luverne's economic diversity.

Since local leaders are already well on their way to improving agribusiness and technology, the grant request focuses on funding requests for prairie tourism projects.

Specifically, funding is requested to expand on the current bike path, looping it around the north side of the Blue Mounds, with a prairie resource learning center strategically located somewhere on this loop.

Day care center and after-school program

The second major community priority identified in the process was the need for a community day care center.

With the renovation of the former elementary school to apartments, the developer, Dunham Companies, Sioux Falls, has already donated free space for a day care center on the lower level.

The grant request specifically asks for one-time funding of indoor and outdoor playground equipment.

As part of the day care funding request, the need for an after-school program is also identified. Parents and students have identified access to computers, tutoring, board games and swimming lessons as possible components in an after-school program.

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