Northspan’s East Range Partnership Grows

Northspan has now worked with the East Range Joint Powers Board for nearly two years. This collaboration of the City of Aurora, City of Biwabik, City of Hoyt Lakes, and the Town of White guides economic development in the four communities and seeks to create opportunities for future growth.

Northspan’s engagement on the East Range began with several community visioning sessions to lay the foundations for its work plan with the communities. Since then, we have worked to elevate the profile of the ERJPB through the creation of a website, a redoubled communications effort, and creative programming. Staff has connected with over 40 existing and potential businesses on the East Range, with both formal business retention and expansion visits and one-off consultations to address specific needs (ERJPB-BRE Report). When Covid-19 hit, we administered an emergency grant fund that supported eight local businesses as they dealt with unprecedented challenges.

Northspan’s work with the ERJPB draws on the strengths of its entire team. Elissa Hansen facilitated priority-setting sessions and provides strategic direction, Bob Palmquist has assisted East Range businesses, Karl Schuettler has facilitated the Blandin Broadband Community process (including a feasibility study group that has combined forces with the Laurentian and Tower area broadband groups), and Amanda Vuicich has led an East Range child care committee. By using the diverse skill set of its team members, Northspan is able to deliver a unique array of services that would be challenging for any one person to fill.

Northspan’s contract, which the ERJPB has renewed for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, which will include a new priority-setting session for the East Range to further guide our work and continued progress on existing initiatives, including broadband, child care, and trail development. We enjoy our strong relationship with the East Range communities and look forward to continued collaboration. Please contact Karl Schuettler at for more information on our efforts on the East Range.