Clay County’s promising future is happening now 

county commissioners

Karen Newman 

Downtown Moorhead Inc. (DMI), represented by President/CEO Derrick LaPoint and DMI Executive Board Member Lisa Borgen presented a proposal to the Clay County Commission to consider a three-year annual contribution of $25,000 to their non-profit, private/public partnership as part of the 2022 budget.  

Downtown Moorhead business owners formed DMI in 2018 to promote Downtown Moorhead as a destination for business, education and leisure. Borgen said, “We started as Downton-Moorhead-focused and became all-of-Moorhead-focused.”

In a letter presented to the county board at the September 7 meeting, LaPoint wrote:

…our promising future is happening right now, almost four years in, and the sky is truly the limit from here. We are humbled and encouraged by the amount of growth we have seen in such a short time. New buildings are popping up, businesses are starting, and people are living in and embracing Downtown. With the progress we have already made, it is evident that the vision imagined by city leaders, and the resulting DMI board, is on its way to becoming a reality.

As DMI has grown, their contacts and resources expanded to the point that they feel they can expand their mission to outlying areas of the county.  LaPoint’s introductory letter explained:

 DMI has a very strong relationship with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and DEED. These relationships and expertise put us in a position to assist Clay County in establishing business relief grants to help the business community survive through the worst of the pandemic. We want to continue to be a resource and partner to Clay County to advance economic development. DMI would like Clay County to consider an investment of $25,000 per year, for the next three-years, starting in 2022.

Borgen highlighted Clay County’s cooperation with DMI as the Covid-19 pandemic caused major disruptions to Clay County businesses, President LaPoint consulted with county officials through the CARES Act Committee to provide small business relief grants for the small cities and rural areas of outlying Clay County in addition to grants for Moorhead-based businesses.  

Borgen cited LaPoint’s expertise in Minnesota business programs, “Derek is very connected to the Minnesota side of business. We are part of a big community that is pretty dominated by the North Dakota side when it comes to the Chamber (Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce) and the EDC (Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation). We are all members and think they are awesome organizations. Our organization partners with those organizations and there is not a competition between us and the EDC or us and the Chamber. We are all on the same page. Where we think we have a niche that needs to be filled is expertise on the Minnesota side of economic development.”

The commission will include this proposal as they consider requests for funding in the final 2022 budget.

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