Region Five Five Counties. One Vision. One Source Events Calendar  |  Links & Resources

Cass County

Rich in fish and game, these woods and waters sheltered a succession of native peoples for thousands of years. The most recent of these were the Ojibwe (Chippewa), who now live on the Leech Lake Reservation.

Crow Wing County

The most famous landmark in Brainerd is probably the water tower which was built from 1919-1922. Later, affectionately known as “Paul Bunyan’s flashlight” it was the first all concrete elevated tank used by a municipality in the U.S.

Morrison County

In 1930 Camp Ripley was established as a military training center for the Minnesota National Guard. In 1994 a Veteran’s Cemetery was created by the Minnesota State Legislature adjacent to the Camp.

Todd County

Primarily an agricultural county, Todd County was settled by hard working German, Polish and Scandinavian immigrants. Meat packing and printing have added jobs in the manufacturing sectors.

Wadena County

Old Wadena County Historic Park located on the Crow Wing River was an important hunting and trapping area for Indians and later for the French.

Cass County

Crow Wing County - Brainerd Lakes Area

Morrison County - Camp Ripley

Todd County

Wadena County - Menahga Statue

Current News


Thank You!!  

It is because of our unique community driven (public, private, nonprofit, philanthropic, citizen) partnership that we won the $2 Million grant to expand broadband in Crow Wing, Cass, and Morrision Counties!


Lt. Governor Tina Smith visited the Brainerd Lakes Chamber last week to announce a $2 million Border-to-Border Broadband Develoment Grant to CTC, which will match the funds to expand broadband service in Crow Wing, Cass, and Morrision Counties. We are so excited and want to thank all those who helped make this possible by working to prepare the proposal, testifying on the video produced ( and/or writing letters of support (see those listed below).

We also know that we still have 18,737 households and businesses in the region who are either unserved or underserved – therefore, we have a long way to go before we reach the goal set by 600 citizens during the Resilient Region Planning process that 95% of all households in the five-county region will have access to high-speed broadband.

Thank you!

National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) and USDA RCDI for your financial support and West Central Telephone Association (WTCA) for your in-kind staff support for this proposal!

Thank you ALSO to all who helped with the video or provided letters of support!

Elected Officials:

Robert Kangas, Chairman, Cass County Board of Commissioners

Rosemay Frazen, Chair, Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners

Jeffrey J. Jelinske, Board Chair, Morrision County Board of Commissioners

Mark Anderson, State Representative, District 9A

Joe Radinovich, former State Representative, District 10B

Ron Kresha, State Representative, District 9B

Dave Brown, State Senator, District 15

John Ward, former State Representative, District 10A

Paul Gazelka, State Seantor, District District 9

Private, Public, Nonprofit, Philanthropic Partners:

120 citizens from Fairview Township

16 citizens of 371 Neighborhood

33 residents of Crow Wing Lake

Andrea Lauer, Mayor, City of Royalton

Anthony V. Mayer, General Manager/CEO,WTCA

Arlene M Jones, Owner and Operator, The Farm at St. Mathias

Bernadine R. Josely, Director, Public Policy & Engagement, Blandin Foundation

Bob Heaton

Brenda Thomes, City Administrator, City of Long Prairie

Brent, Jenny, Claire, and Connor Gunsbury

Bruce and Sandy Narr

Carol Anderson, Community Development Morrison County

Chris Hadfield, Dean of Career and Technical Education and the Staples Campus, Central Lakes College

Christine Maxsom

Corky T. McQuiston, Chief of Police, Brainerd Police Department

Dale Bosch, Executive Director, Mt. Ski Gull

Dan Carter, Faculty Member, Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Darryl and Jamie Stout

Deanna Hemmesch, Executive Director, Central Minnesota Housing Partnership

Don Hickman, Vice President of Community and Economic Development, Intiative Foundation

Dr. Brian T. Briggs

Dr. Chad Coauette, Executive Director/CEO, National Joint Powers Alliance

Dr. Jennifer Mahling-Stadum, Essentia Health, Brainerd Clinic

Dr. Klint Willert, Superintendent, Brainerd Schools

Dr. Larry Lundblad, President, Central Lakes College

Dr. Peggy Kennedy, President, Minnedsota State Community and Technical College

Dr. Timonthy S. Yeh, Brainerd Hematology Oncology, PC

Duane Luithle

Greg Bergman, Regional Director, Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Jacob J. Wert

James Weizenegger, Fairview Township Chair

Janelle R. Riley, President, Syvantis Technologies

Janet Johnson, Faculuty, Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Janie Weston, CEO, Greater Lakes Association of Realtors

Jason Edens, Director, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL)

Jim Sabas, Mayor, City of Pine River

Justin, Sherry and Alex Pape

Kevin Wroolie, Township Supervisor, Fort Ripley

Lynn Hunt, CEO/Founder Hunt Utilities Group

Mark Schmitz, Superintendent, Staples Motley Schools

Marla Yoho, Clerk, Fairview Township

Mary Gottsch, Director, Briedges Workpace Connection, Brainerd Lakes Chamber

Matt Killan, President, Brainerd Lakes Chamber

Maureen Ideker, Rn, BSN, MBA, Director of Telehealth, Essentia Health

Mick Qualer, Nisswa, MN

Pat and Gary Bluth

Philip and Coni Trusty, Owners/Operators, Crow Wing Lake Campground

Randy Lee, Chief, Pillager Area Fire Protection Assn.

Rick Utech, Executive Director, Todd County Development Corporation

Robert L. McLean, Executive Director, Happy Dancing Turtle a member of the Resilient Living Council

Ron Noon, Commissioner, Wadena County

Sheila Haverkamp, Executive Director, Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation

Stephen O. Jones, Superintendent, Little Falls Community Schools

Sue and Larry Friedrichs

Timothy J. Houle, Chair, Resilient Region Champions

Tom Burch, Sheriff, Cass County

Grant Writing and Video Production Support

All the staff at R5DC and CTC (especially Kevin Larson, Steve Gilbert, Jason Atwater, Mark Roach, Andy Isackson, and Daniel Rohr) as well as Anna Gruber, Paul Drange, Scott Wermter, Paul Anderson, and student intern Abbi Hehner at NJPA; Pam Mahling, WTCA; Dr. Stacey Stockdill, EnSearch; and Erik Osberg, Dan Fitzpatrick and Dean Vogtman at Whiskey Creek Media.

Hunger Free MN Grant


Region Five Development Commission has been notified by Hunger Free Minnesota that they have been awarded a $50,000 grant to work with schools and child care programs in Todd & Wadena Counties in partnership with Providers Choice ( The grant will be used to establish a consortium of at least 10 programs that are interested in serving a meal after school.


Gail Birch, CEO of Providers Choice says, “When school is out children need a safe place to be with their friends, with structured activities, supportive adults, and good nutrition. Afterschool programs that participate in CACFP give children and teenagers the nutrition they need, and draw them into constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning. These programs will meet this need in Todd and Wadena Counties.”


The grant from Hunger Free MN supports start-up and planning costs that allow for the 10 sites to purchase equipment to serve after school meals.  Providers Choice will help the sites enroll in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program and receive ongoing reimbursement for the meals and snacks.


For more information, please contact Region Five Development Commission at (218) 894-3233

Local Group Sees Hope for Region-Wide Broadband with New State Initiatives 

Click here to read press release.


University of Minnesota Rural Minnesota Network Analysis



This study shows NCEDA/R5DC as a "robustly connected" organization across the state in policy and practice.  Click here to learn more.


Region Five is part of the Blandin Broadband Community


 Click here to read the the announcement.   


State of Rural Minnesota 2014


Each year, the Center for Rural Policy and Development assembles the latest demographic and economic data to create the State of Rural Minnesota report.  Please click the link below or visit for more information.



North Central Economic Development Association and the USDA

The 501c3 North Central Economic Development Association –based in Staples, MN, received a $99,500 USDA Local Foods Promotion Program (LFPP) grant for the “SPROUT Marketplace”.


In 2013, 600 residents from the region developed the Resilient Region Plan which recommends strong support of local foods. Morrison County and Community Development  along with  SPROUT MN  an existing food hub network of 40+ growers have partnered  together to develop a food processing facility and indoor SPROUT Marketplace in Little Falls, Minnesota as part of the regional local food hub. 


Once fully operational, the SPROUT Marketplace will allow growers to transform their fresh commodities to value-added locally processed (frozen, dried, canned, baked) products that expand the seasonal markets.  It will also allow buyers/consumers to shop indoor year-round at the SPROUT Marketplace during cold winter months when farmers markets are not in operation.


This award offers the opportunity to locate the Marketplace at the Little Falls Manufacturing Development Center, which is a strategic, centrally-located site with access to the trunk highway system. Additionally, the project will engage local artists to create  a Marketplace  that not only encourages healthy eating but also  supports the local arts and  rural cultural experiences.


“Local and regional food systems provide a wealth of opportunities for rural residents,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer. “USDA has found that virtually all revenues generated in a local food system, stay local, and are reinvested into the community – creating a great economic driver for rural America. As new markets develop, jobs are created, healthier foods are more readily available, and rural communities can continue to thrive.”


For more information on the SPROUT Marketplace, please call: 218.822.3281



Resilient Region and Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Project Request


Region Five Development Commission is assembling a list of viable projects that create economic vitality, environmental stewardship and regional quality of life.  A series of questions have been created via a survey with the intent to stimulate identification and creation of a Resilient Region project list.

This comprehensive list will be prioritized by a group of diverse regional leaders from the private, public & non-profit sectors and offered to multiple funding agencies/partners in efforts to encourage these partners to invest in projects that meet our regional targets. Region Five will seek funding for the projects that are ranked as regional "vital projects," however, a submittal of an idea does not guarantee funding of project.

Click Here to fill out the Survey OR Click Here for additional information.


Wealth Works Economic Development Program

“WealthWorks is an important part of any economic development toolbox.  I am pleased to announce that  SPROUT and R5DC were one of only five teams nationally to receive a scholarship to participate in the WealthWorks training program.  This training is focused on practical application of new skills and perspectives on economic vitality, which will lead to increased opportunities for people in rural areas,” said NADO President Peter Gregory, Executive Director of the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission in Woodstock, VT.

To view the full press release Click Here

Resilient Region Web-Site



The Resilient Region website is an excellent source of information pertaining to economic vitality, environmental stewardship and quality of life factors gathered for Private (individuals & businesses) Public (local municipalities & communities) and Non-Profit agencies (social advocates & philanthropic agencies) who choose to explore the sustainability efforts that have been vested in the Central Minnesota five county region.