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After-hours session aims for business growth

They say great minds think alike. If that's the case, then Farmington's economic future is looking good.

On Dec. 8, city officials, business owners and residents held a brainstorming session at Celts Pub. A product of cooperation between the Farmington Business Association, the city of Farmington, residents, business owners and many others, the session was held to come up with ideas about how to improve the city's economic future.

The city's economic development authority is currently working on a strategic plan for the coming years. As part of that, economic development specialist Tina Hansmeier said, the idea emerged to ask the business community for some ideas.

The night's activity was set up to be a casual gathering. There was food and drinks available, and a social hour gave people time to relax and chat. But after that, the group of about 45 people got down to serious business.

Participants were divided into seven groups. They were charged with coming up with ideas of things they thought Farmington should do or become.

"It was just spectacular," said city administrator Peter Herlofsky. "There were all types of views and comments. It really gave us an idea of what this very select group was thinking."

Three of the city council/EDA members were in attendance and participated in the discussions. The rest of the group consisted of business owners and managers from all around the community, as well as several residents and a few city staff.

City staff took all of the lists, Herlofsky said. Over the next few weeks, all of the ideas will be compiled into different comment topics. That information will also go out to the EDA as they work through forming the strategic plan.

"We'll see what we can pull out of this," Herlofsky said. "We're going to try to arrange (the ideas) by topic and we'll use them as a guide.

"It was just a very special night," he added. "With all the Christmas holidays and events going on, to get people to come to that and share ideas, it was just a very great showing of support for the community."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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