I may sound like a broken record, but each and every time our SWIF Board of Directors meets, we have an incredible day. Last week’s meeting in Pipestone was no exception, thanks to our great group of volunteer board members and the community leaders who spent time with us. SWIF has a long history of successful partnerships in this community. Pipestone was one of the first cities to support building our SWIF General Endowment to create a permanent regional resource and was also one of our first community foundation partners. More recently, they hosted our economic development team’s Business Blitz to connect and support local businesses.
Bob Taubert, managing partner at New Horizon Farms, started our day with an overview of his business—expansions, changes, and future outlook of this hog operation are on his mind daily. From first-class production to research, this southwest Minnesota business is a great example of our region playing a major, leadership role in providing what the entire world needs: food.
Speaking of food, thanks to Lange’s Café – Steve and Peg Lange – for a delicious lunch, including their famous and award-winning sour cream raisin pie. I am STILL trying to walk it off! It was served to us on the stage of the Pipestone Performing Arts Center where we had lunch with community leaders. The Center is an absolutely awesome asset to the Pipestone community and region. And lunch on a stage was a first!
Another highlight of the day was our group discussion about local assets and future opportunities with a group of community leaders over lunch. The agricultural economy and tourism were highlighted by guests as two economic constants in the community. In addition, guests noted the futurist visioning taking place through various projects and provided a long list of things thay are excited to have happening in their community, including:
- Strong agricultural businesses like New Horizon Farms, Ellison Meats, the Pipestone System/Vet Clinic, Bioverse (a former SWIF loan client) and others
- Strong family-owned businesses, including Lange’s Café which has been in Pipestone for more than 50 years
- Chamber’s business retention committee
- Pipestone Active Living, a community collaborative to improve overall community wellness
- Fresh foods, outdoor classroom and use of technology at the school
- Bike trail improvements and paths throughout town – the goal is to connect trails so bikers can go from Sioux Falls to Redwood Falls!
- Harmon Park renovations, made possible by the Pipestone Area Community Foundation, a SWIF partner
- Center for Performing Arts which has more 60 events per year
- Community festivals and new things coming up for the Song of Hiawatha grounds
- Strong county-owned hospital
Just like in other communities in our region, good, committed, hard-working people were also noted as the main reason Pipestone is a vibrant and attractive community. I’m excited to see where Pipestone’s visionary leaders take their community next!