Bright things are happening in Spring Grove! In January, more than 30 people came together at the Bright Ideas Workshop to brainstorm and examine all of the talents and resources that the people and area of Spring Grove have to offer.

At this workshop, five projects were formulated that use the resources and talents of people in the area as well as fill various needs.

These projects then had the potential of being awarded Community Growth Initiative (CGI) grant money from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).

From these five projects, three continued to develop and secure project plans. These projects were recently presented to the CGI leadership committee for consideration for grant money.

After reviewing the projects' plans, the committee awarded money as follows: Birding Trail System (Ornitologi Stier): $9,500, Entrepreneur Institute: $6,000 and the Grant Writing Co-op (SAGE- Spring Grove Area Grant Endeavor): $4,500.

A part of the requirement for receiving the grant money is that the projects also secure matching funds and in-kind donations.

These groups have already begun this process as well as laying the groundwork for their projects because they do have a deadline for completion - UffDa Fest.

On UffDa Fest weekend, SMIF will host a community celebration of the completion of these projects. This celebration has been integrated into the UffDa Fest schedule.

"What a better way to recognize and appreciate the contributions of these people [project members and leadership team] and their dedication to the well-being and thriving vibrancy of our community," remarked Rachel Storlie, SMIF's coordinator for the CGI process in Spring Grove.

"This is also each group's opportunity to educate the public about the services that their proposals come reality will provide."

Each group is working around a core leadership team which meets regularly to keep the project moving along. However, these projects also have needs for labor, connections, helpful hands, in-kind donations and more.

Anyone that is interested in assisting with these projects can contact, Saundy Solum, (507) 498- 5882 for the Birding Trail System; Mary Deters, 498-3993 for the Grant Writing Co-op; and Steve Harmon, 498-5301 for the Entrepreneur Institute.

"The volunteers who served on the Community Growth Initiative leadership committee have done an excellent job in fulfilling their duties to our community," Storlie added with a smile.

"Everybody has been very professional, engaging, open-minded and helpful. SMIF chose a fabulous team and is delighted by the outcome of our Bright Ideas Workshop and the results of the proposals meeting and award funding."