Statement of Purpose
The purpose of the Meeker County Heritage Tourism Assessment and Planning Grant is to form a partnership to assess heritage tourism sites, activities, and events in Meeker County and develop a strategic plan to coordinate, promote, and improve access to these sites and activities. This plan will assist communities and historic organizations to become more effective at heritage tourism individually and thereby becoming more affective as a group for the county.
Several years ago, the Litchfield Opera House sponsored an event for Meeker County historic organizations. This was in conjunction with the annual summer celebration. Informal discussions with participants led to a desire to have some form of county-wide group to promote historic resources. At that time, the Meeker Development Corporation (MDC) could not assist with this project. In September 2016, four members of the Litchfield City Council, Heritage Preservation Commission, and/or Meeker County Historical Society attended the Annual Minnesota Historical Society Conference, including the session about partnership grants. An informal discussion pointed to the need for heritage tourism development. Later this fall, residents from Litchfield participated in a Blandin Community Leadership Training and this idea surfaced again. The director of MDC was present and agreed he could help if there was a county-wide focus. The three historical societies in Meeker County were contacted and two were interested in partnering.
Partners and their Purpose: Roles of each
MDC (lead agency): This organization has members from every community in Meeker County. An assessment of heritage tourism has not been done in Meeker County. The MDC director feels strongly, and is supported by the Board, that heritage tourism would have a positive impact on the communities of Meeker County. This would fall under the organization’s goal to help downtown revitalization efforts and collaboration among Economic Development Groups/ City/County/Chambers.
Dassel Area Historical Society (DAHS): The DAHS was formed in 1987 and has one property, the Ergot Universal Laboratory, on the National Register of Historic Places. The organization is supported by 100 volunteers with a vision to “Preserve the Past, Enrich the Present and Secure the Future.” The role of DAHS would be to assist in the identification of the area’s historic resources and support networking. The director feels that the more we support each other, the stronger each one of us will be.
Meeker County Historical Society (MCHS): The MCHS adopted articles of incorporation in 1960 with a purpose to educate individuals about the history and heritage of Meeker County by the discovery, presentation, and dissemination of knowledge about the history of Meeker County and the State of Minnesota. In recent years, the MCHS has done education programs, offered bus tours, and started a Civil War Round Table. The activities of this grant relate directly to their stated purpose and the role is also to assist in the identification of the area’s historic resources and support networking.
The roles of the historical societies are very similar. The addition of the MDC puts a strong economic development and marketing focus on the project. The partnering of these organizations will strengthen all three by looking at their individual organization through a different set of “lenses.” MDC does not traditionally network with historic
resources but does have strong connections to each community in Meeker County. The two historical societies, while doing some marketing and promotional activities, generally have not looked at heritage tourism as an economic development tool. All three organizations have informal partnering and networking with other organizations who may be interested in future activities, such as the Chamber of Commerce, other historic groups, media, and/or local units of government.
Scope of Work
The scope of this project is to identify Meeker County historic resources and develop a plan to improve access to them. The geographic area is defined as Meeker County. The strategic plan data will be determined by individual meetings with historic organizations and public meetings. The consultant will meet with the Heritage Tourism Operating Committee. This committee is composed of up to three people from each partnering organization. The committee will meet every four to six weeks during the grant period. The consultant will also conduct a minimum of two, but up to four, public meetings in both museums.
The Heritage Tourism Operating Committee will assist the consultant to identify and connect with various Meeker County historic organizations. In order to form a basis for public input, the consultant will contact the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (MN SHPO) for a current list of inventoried properties within the county and those listed on the National Register.
March 2017: submit grant
June 2017: grant awarded, begin open procurement process, proposal is due July 10, 2017 at noon to Meeker Development Corporation, interviews may/may not be part of this process and will be determined after the Heritage Tourism Operating Committee reviews submitted materials
July 2017: contract for the services of a qualified consultant, initial meeting with consultant and Heritage Tourism Operating Committee
August, September, October 2017: conduct 2 to 4 public meetings in Meeker County, interview at minimum 50% of the historic organizations, meet with possible future partners in Meeker County and Heritage Tourism Operating Committee, submit initial draft of report
November 2017: complete strategic plan, review and revise as needed, meet with Heritage Tourism Operating Committee
December 2017: report to partnering agencies
February 2018: final report to MN Historical Society
The primary outcome of the project will be
· to identify Meeker County’s historic sites and/or organizations, and
· define the organizations based on common patterns and individual needs, and the
· completion of a strategic plan to promote Meeker County’s historic resources under the umbrella of heritage tourism.
This partnership, and subsequent strategic plan, will produce a coordinated heritage tourism effort.
The public and organizational input and for the strategic plan will define a shared vision and collective direction for Meeker County Heritage Tourism. Specific activities for each organization may be identified and included in future grants. The areas of social media, public relations, and promotional activities can be better coordinated with a shared vision. The strategic plan will also explore non-local promotional options such as state-wide and national options for marketing. The end product of a strategic plan will promote a density of heritage tourism sites for tourists. This density is particularly important in rural areas where tourists travel a distance.
A qualified consultant will be hired to meet with historic organizations to
· determine their interest and needs relating to this, and
· identify complementary attractions and events, and
· pinpoint possible negative outcomes, and
· possible means to prevent or mitigate them, and
· network with local units of government and Chambers of Commerce.
The deliverable for this project will be a strategic plan for Meeker County Heritage tourism in both written and electronic format. This strategic plan will be developed after conducting public input meetings, meeting with area historic organizations, possible partners, and the Heritage Tourism Operating Committee. The process is further defined on the scope of work and outcome section of this document.
Terms of Contract
Payment: 50% of salary upon completion and approval of first draft of report, 50% payment upon approval of MN Historical Society final report.
Grant contract is contingent upon the receipt of grant funds.
Requirements for Proposal
Timeline for Project
Proposals will be evaluated by the Heritage Tourism Operating Committee based on the above requirements and ability to work with county-wide projects.
Point of Contact
Organization: Meeker Development Corporation
Street Address: 114 N Holcombe Ave Suite 260 City: Litchfield State: Minnesota Postal Code: 55355 Organization Phone: 320 693 4620
Project Director: David Krueger Project Director Email: David.Krueger@co.meeker.mn.us
Authorized Officer: David Krueger Authorized Officer Email: David.Krueger@co.meeker.mn.us