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Minnesota Design Team works to brand city of Frazee

FRAZEE — When the Minnesota Design Team visited Frazee in September, it came up with multiple suggestions that play to the city’s strengths — some easily attainable and others that may need more planning and money.

0 Talk about it

“They brought concepts, ideas, thoughts that Frazee has been working on. This just reaffirms them,” City Administrator Jonathan Smith said.

Now the Becker County community is beginning to put ideas into action.

The city hosted a meeting last week asking people for ideas on implementing the proposals to beautify and develop downtown, and enhance and create parks and recreational opportunities. Smith said groups will continue meeting throughout the winter with the goal of implementing some ideas in the spring.

The design team’s study, which was provided through a grant from West Central Initiative, also touched on housing and industrial development.

Smith said the city has a long-range plan from several years ago that officials have been following. Many of the design team’s ideas mirror those plans.

“We’ll use the document we have and just keep rolling off that,” he said.

The 19-page recommendation from the Minnesota Design Team includes “Trees, Turkeys and Trails,” a possible new motto for the city — or at least assets that should stand out.

Last week, one item of focus was “coming up with a theme or a general concept for downtown and the look of downtown, aesthetically,” Smith said.

Another idea from the meeting was getting a local investment group together to encourage new space for businesses.

Beautification suggestions for downtown included banners on the light posts, greenery, fresh crosswalks, and helping home and business owners rehab their facades.

Block parties in neighborhoods also could bring people together.

“Realistically, in a town our size, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be doing that already,” Smith said.

The design team reported that among concerns for Frazee are main street businesses, housing, employment and blight.

For the downtown, the team suggested outdoor seating and patios at restaurants, more events in blocked-off streets, a community garden and relocating the municipal liquor store there.

A hub for trails

Frazee has multiple trails, and the city would like to continue being the meeting point of trail systems by building more. The biggest project right now is the Heartland Trail section from Frazee to Detroit Lakes.

Eventually, plans include linking the Frazee section of the trail to Park Rapids via Osage and the Wolf Lake areas, but for now, the cities of Frazee and Detroit Lakes have been working to get state funding for the 10-mile section between the two.

One of the larger projects includes trails along the Ottertail River, with a footbridge and interpretive overlook platform in the high school area.

Also among the suggested projects is multifamily housing — townhouses, apartment buildings, duplexes and mixed-use housing.

The city is working with the University of Minnesota Extension Office and the cities of Lake Park and Audubon to develop a housing study. It will help identify the type of housing Frazee and other surrounding bedroom communities should develop.