2019 Award Winners

City Category

Leading Innovator: City of St. Paul, St. Paul Public Library—Your Library: Now Fine Free
St. Paul Public Library eliminated the traditional practice of administering daily late fines on overdue materials in 2019. This decision unblocked more than 42,000 cards of library users whose borrowing privileges had been suspended, many of whom live in areas of concentrated poverty. This change ensures that all people, regardless of ability to pay, can borrow library materials as long as they bring them back.

Cities of Burnsville, Apple Valley, Farmington, Northfield, and Shakopee—A Multi-city Collaboration: Automating the Election Judge Hiring and Training Process

City of Grand Rapids, Mobility Mania-Accessibility for All, Grand Rapids Rotary Club—Wheelchair-accessible Swing at Crystal Lake Park

City of Shakopee/ Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community—Shakopee Cultural Corridor*

County Category

Leading Innovator: Sibley County, Minnesota State University, US Small Business Administration, and the USDA—BizLink North
BizLink North is an online venue supporting rural communities in the Upper Midwest through linking prospective entrepreneurs with established retiring business owners who lack succession planning. BizLink North acts as a facilitator for the transition of business ownership, enabling rural communities to sustain longtime businesses, their goods, services, jobs, and tax base.

Anoka County—Anoka County Human Services Leadership Mentorship Program

Beltrami Service Area Collaboration (BASC) ++—Students First

Richard Bamattre, principal architect; Hennepin County Housing Stability Area; Hennepin County Information Technology and Records Management; Hennepin County Integrated Planning and Analysis—Eviction Dashboard

School Category

Leading Innovator: Wayzata High School, Wayzata Public Schools—"The Hub" Web-Based Teacher Portal
"The Hub" is a user-friendly, student-focused online tool created for Wayzata High School staff and students. It helps communicate, manage, and collaborate on student intervention time, teachers' school-to-home communication, teacher/student academic referrals, academic resource center scheduling, after-school programming, college/university visits, teacher before/after school availability, digital hall passes, and student volunteer projects.

Northfield Public Schools, Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, City of Northfield, other local nonprofits—Youth on Boards

Bemidji School District #31, Bemidji High School, Lumberjack High School, Bemidji Alternative Learning Center, Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake Nation, White Earth Nation, Greater Bemidji Business & Industry partners and the City of Bemidji—Bemidji Career Academies*

Roseville Public Schools, Hamline University—English Learner in the Mainstream (ELM) Coaching

Wadena-Deer Creek School District, Wadena Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Wadena Development Authority—Community House 2020

Township Category

Leading Innovator: Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board—City of Bemidji-Northern Township Cooperation
In an area punctuated by lakes, the headwaters of the Mississippi River, and the great northern woods, the City of Bemidji and Northern Township cooperate on comprehensive joint planning, zoning, and administration to turn aside natural barriers and competition between municipalities and townships. Results include enhanced economic vitality and protection of natural resources.

Linwood Recycling Center—Local Recycling, Broad Impact

Native Nations Collaboration Category

Leading Innovator: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and the City of Prior Lake—South Area Water Treatment Plant
The City of Prior Lake and the SMSC determined that by collaborating on a joint facility, they could achieve maximum efficiency while also minimizing environmental impacts. The new facility, completed in 2019, coordinates production at two SMSC water plants and one city water plant, thereby minimizing the number of wells and infrastructure needed to meet water demand.

Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' Division of Parks and Trails—Grand Portage Community Wellness Fair