Community Development

The primary goal of the Community Development program is to help local customers develop and implement strategies designed to create the kinds of places where people want to live and work. Community development activities include housing efforts, downtown and neighborhood improvements, growth management, park and recreation planning, transportation improvements and other activities designed to create livable communities.

If you ask any citizen of our Region what the most important attribute of our area is, one of the first things they’ll talk about is the natural environment. Not only do the lakes and forests of the Headwaters Region substantially contribute to our quality of life, they also are one of our chief competitive advantages.

The challenge is to wisely use these resources while conserving them for future generations. Sustained population growth and related development pressures make this challenge increasingly important.

The HRDC has positioned itself as both resource planner and broker for some natural resource disputes. As in the case of our water planning activities, we have helped counties chart a path to protect and enhance the quality of their water resources. In the case of our local wetland planning activity, we help find mutual gain positions between competing interests. And in yet another capacity, we have helped counties and cities enhance trail and park systems.

Statewide Health Improvement Partnership

What is SHIP?

North Country Health Alliance (NCHA) is a collaborative that works together with local public health departments in Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard and Lake of the Woods counties. NCHA implements the Minnesota Department of Health’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) in the North Country. NCHA is working to change policies, systems and environments so healthy choices are possible where our residents live, work, learn and play.

NCHA and SHIP work in our region to create partnerships that lead to increased access to healthy foods and active living while decreasing commercial tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. These efforts have led to more workplace, school and community settings having fresh fruits and vegetables available to their employees and students as well as increased opportunities for physical activity. There are safer pathways for walking and biking and more environments that have become smoke-free.

This is North Country Health Alliance's (NCHA) 11th year as a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grantee. This past year, NCHA worked with 32 partner sites in Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard and Lake of the Woods counties. These partners helped make active living, healthy eating and tobacco-free living easier and more accessible for all residents. If you are interested in knowing more about SHIP, please click the link to access the SHIP Annual Report.

Be sure to check our 2020 SHIP annual report at

For more information on community development activities, please contact any of the following HRDC staff members:

Tim Flathers executive director of HRDC and community development

Tim Flathers

Executive Director