With the help of a new grant, the city of Kasota is looking develop activities for both kids and adults to enjoy.
On Oct. 14, the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation approved six grants totaling $48,800 for small towns in the region to develop community programs. Among the recipients was the city of Kasota, which received $10,000 to put together the Grow Better Together campaign, a strategic plan outlining goals for future community events and activities.
“SMIF’s Small Town Grant Program is intended to breathe life into ideas that support important community initiatives,” said SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “In its third year, this program continues to be an important tool for small towns in our region to support community vitality efforts.”
Kasota’s Parks and Recreation Director April Slager was driven to apply for the grant when she felt city events hadn’t done enough to include people of all ages.
“Kasota Parks and Rec has been around for 20 years, closer to 30, and has always done things for children of the community,” said Slager. “Last year, we switched up how we did the holiday celebration so we could involve the entire community. We saw there was a need to create a bigger dynamic in parks and rec activities.”
However, developing new community activities in a small town like Kasota would be a difficult task alone.
“SMIF recognizes that its not easy for small towns to put together new, dynamic events from the start,” said Slager. “The grant fuels these initiatives and get things started. You can’t rely on donations in a small town.”
While the Parks and Recreation Department has thrown around general ideas of events they would like to see in Kasota, specific planning has yet to start. Instead, the department is looking for community feedback to create a strategic plan.
The city is arranging to have monthly meetings at the Community Center where food will be served and visitors can offer their ideas. These meetings currently haven’t been scheduled, but Slager is hoping that the city will begin working on the strategic plan early next year.
The Parks and Recreation Department is also aiming to use grant funding to make it easier for residents to use the city website and learn more about community programs. Currently, the Parks and Recreation page on the website is limited to information on hours and a list of activities put on annually by the department.
“What we want to do moving forward is look at developing or accomplishing some factors we create as a unit,” said Slager. “We want to look at a shared mission and shared goal together so that we are growing better together as a community.”