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LIFT committee: We Love the Life here because we listen, work together

Voice of our Readers

To the Editor:
On behalf of the businesses and citizens of Luverne, we would like to thank the city of Luverne (council, administration and public works) for carrying through with the Luverne Gateway Project prioritized in the community revitalization plan adopted by citizens in 2010.
Over six years ago on a snowy winter night, almost 200 community members met at the Blue Mound Banquet Center with planning consultants from the firm LHB. Following that first meeting, a revitalization plan was developed with input from over 300 citizens and businesses to guide community work.
From those efforts, Luverne Initiatives for Tomorrow (LIFT) was born that created citizen- and business-led committees who collaborated with the city. We serve on the LIFT Design Committee and our work focuses on improving the visual and structural appearance of Luverne.
Many projects and procedures of the revitalization plan had the goal of making Luverne a better community for residents, businesses and visitors. One of the major goals was to improve business opportunities and property values on Main Street. In 2010 Main Street had about a dozen marginal businesses (businesses that weren’t cash-flowing) or empty storefronts. Change needed to happen to turn this around.
Enhancing and identifying the entrance to the Main Street corridor was adopted as a long-proven method to support the success of downtown businesses. That is the reason for the gateway project ... because we as citizens and businesses wanted it to happen.
We also want to applaud the city for their cost-effective method of getting the project done. The work was done by our hard-working city employees who were already on the timeclock. When something needed to be done that they couldn’t do, we saw our local businesses out there working on the project. George Bonnema also volunteered his expertise for the plantings and landscaping.
With our new Luverne Flag Park and the Luverne Gateway Boulevard, the entrance to our downtown is spectacular. To some it may look like there were hundreds of thousands of dollars spent when in actuality … it was done creatively and locally at a fraction of the cost other communities invest to get the same result. That is just another one of the reasons why Luverne is the envy of many small towns in the region. We Love the Life here because we listen and work together – citizens, businesses and government – to make Luverne the best it can be!
The LIFT Design Committee: Janine Papik, Chair; Faye Bremer, Gene Cragoe, Holly Sammons, Annie Opitz, Cindy Reverts, Rick Peterson, Stacy Riphagen, Shirley Harrison, Betty Mann, George Bonnema, Beth Bartels, Judy Fenske, Jane Lanphere, Staff