The East Range Joint Powers Board supports economic development across the East Range with a focus on four communities: Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, the Town of White, and the City of Biwabik. Since the start of Northspan’s relationship with ERJPB in 2018, our work has evolved through a series of shifting yet interconnected priorities—many of which have emerged through our facilitated strategic planning sessions.
We continue to enjoy our collaboration with ERJPB as we work together to find creative solutions to the most pressing issues facing the East Range. As of July 2023, we’re in the process of wrapping up ERJPB’s three-year strategic plan and looking at goalsetting for the next three years.
Key areas include:
- A regular business retention and expansion series to identify top strengths and areas of concern for local businesses, plus recommendations for meeting business needs.
- Solutions for a local housing shortage (e.g., the East Range will be participating in Minnesota Housing Partnership’s Housing Institute program over the next 18 months).
- Development of unified branding and marketing campaign for the East Range. A marketing subcommittee is also actively finding ways to create space for collaboration between local chambers and community groups.
- Welcoming efforts for the region, such as the popular Newcomers Dinner which welcomed new East Range residents on May 4 in Biwabik.
Highlights from major efforts over the last few years also include:
- Administration of a disaster relief fund and business loan fund
- Advocating and securing funding for improved broadband connectivity
- Tackling a child care shortage
- Promotion of regional trail networks
At its June meeting, ERJPB approved a new three-year contract with Northspan. In the coming months, Northspan will facilitate a new three-year strategic plan for the group that identifies the priorities it will tackle over the duration of the contract.