Tuesday’s visioning session brought about 230 adults and 29 children to First Love Fellowship church to talk about Baldwin Township’s assets and challenges, while brainstorming for desired outcomes in the coming months and years.
The turnout for Baldwin’s visioning session will likely be the biggest of any of the four community sessions the Initiative Foundation’s Healthy Communities Partnership is helping orchestrate. Other communities in the partnership include Todd County, Brainerd and Eden Valley.
Residents were not shy about offering up their view of the assets and challenges in Baldwin, one resident going so far as to say there were no assets in Baldwin.
But even among the acrimony at that table, there was politeness while residents worked together, guided by community leaders acting as facilitators to steer the conversation.
Hearty laughter erupted from the crowd when such assets as proximity to Pamida — which was mentioned to illustrate the rural nature of the township — and an “excellent cemetery” were mentioned.
“I love Baldwin Township,” said Initiative Foundation session leader Don Hickman, “and again, you have so many assets, but also some tough choices.”
The desired outcomes from each table intermingled with those from other tables on large pieces of paper, which were then hung along the length of the church. Residents used stickers to show support for their three favorite ideas, systematically and thoughtfully.
In end, the following were Baldwin’s top desired outcomes and vote totals:
A community center with activities for all ages — 45 votes
Complete development of Young Park — 45 votes
A road maintenance plan — 35 votes
Preserve township independence through planning — 33 votes
EMS number signs on driveways — 30 votes
Remain a township — 27 votes
Economic and job development — 22 votes
It’s also important to note that two topics concerning a comprehensive plan received a large amount of votes, with “a comprehensive plan for 5 years” receiving 19 votes and “our own planning and zoning” receiving 21 votes. This makes the total number of votes concerning comprehensive planning 40.
Additionally, 40 residents signed up as volunteers in the areas they felt strongly about.
The core team plans to meet July 8 to begin going over this data.