April is upon us, and for our lovely town of Sleepy Eye, this year that means Ron Drake and Flip This Town!

April is upon us, and for our lovely town of Sleepy Eye, this year that means Ron Drake and Flip This Town!

For those of you still unaware of this pretty big deal, his book is available at our Dyckman Library and Schutz Family Foods. He is also accessible on his website, Facebook and through his weekly podcasts. He’s a reputable guy and has spurred some amazing growth and development in communities just like ours.

Ron Drake will be here April 9 through April 11, holding various meetings within the community, targeting multi-faceted groups, including our area youth. When not in meetings, beginning the morning of April 9, Drake, accompanied by EDA Coordinator Kurk Kramer, will be walking the downtown streets of Sleepy Eye and visiting our business establishments. He’s looking for those on the front lines and their downtown perspective and is interested in those business owners’ ideas. He will also want to visit any vacant buildings and second story spaces that are not in use. Please keep in mind he is here to offer a non-judgmental and fresh eyes approach to the possibilities of our downtown and its buildings. Your cooperation in advance is greatly appreciated.

The final night of his visit he will hold a Community Presentation, open to all of Sleepy Eye, occurring at 7 p.m. at the Sleepy Eye Event Center. Here you will hear his findings, his suggestions, his ideas for the various ways we can begin to improve and restore our historic downtown. As part of his task for the redevelopment goals of our downtown, he stresses greatly how it is a “community buy-in” and that no one person or entity is responsible for the progression, inspiration and changes that require growth. This is why we need you.

We have some amazing things taking place in our community and what better way to ensure the continued growth of Sleepy Eye, then by highlighting one of the most visible aspects of it, our downtown. I was recently told by an avid Minnesota traveler, that west of Sleepy Eye, not many cities have the luxury of a major highway running straight through its heart. Most are a few blocks off or have been completely side-stepped for wider roads. We have the fortune of prime real estate, front and center to all who travel the thoroughfare that is Highway 14. If you happen to have read my CVB article last week in the “What’s It Like…” progress edition, you’ll know that we have something here in Sleepy Eye that is desirable, it’s searched out, it’s Googled and it is experienced. So as a community, let’s do our cumulative best to enhance, grow and develop what we have been gifted from those generations before us.

“If you build a place where people want to visit, you’ll build a place where people want to live.

“And, if you build a place where people want to live, you’ll build a place where people have to work.

“If you build a place where people want to work, you’ll build a place where business wants to be.

“And, if you build a place where business wants to be, you’ll have built a place where people want to visit.”

- Maura Gast