Why is Bemidji best? Courageous conversations, Broadband and Art

Minnesota Monthly voted Bemidji their Best City. The article is an interesting look at all sides of Bemidji – and includes broadband…

As charming as Bemidji is, it has grown a lot in the past decade, as per a plan set by a coalition of businesspeople and civic leaders, including Treuer, called Bemidji Leads. They saw Bemidji as more than a small town with a flagging timber industry. Funding since then has gone into a new civic center, heart and cancer centers at Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota, and broadband for all residents—among the most progressive internet services in the country’s rural areas, set up to attract entrepreneurs.

Bemidji is pretty awesome. (I won’t be picking a MN Best – I travel too much for that!) I had the opportunity to check it out and talk all about broadband last summer when we were on our case studies measuring impact of broadband in a community. Bemidji was one of the five towns we investigated. What I found was that active community leadership (who plan from the future) keeps the community eye are focusing on what they want to be 10-20 years from how. Also, they are lucky enough to have an engaged local broadband cooperative Paul Bunyan that has focused on community needs as much as company profit understanding that long terms community prosperity also means long terms company prosperity.

I’m sure I’ve posted it before – but seems like a good time for a reminder from Paul Bunyan on their view of rural broadband…

This entry was posted in Broadband Applications, economic development, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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