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Perham residents part of countywide economic development group

Perham residents are among a group of area professionals and lawmakers working together to enhance economic development throughout the county.

The Otter Tail County Economic Development committee was recently established by the county board as a way for communities to share ideas, collaborate on projects and network.

Discussions at the committee meetings are expected to help further such efforts as affordable housing and the promotion of tourism. Group members will sometimes branch out to leaders at the state level to further these efforts.

Committee meetings are held quarterly, and include both governmental and private industry leaders from all around the county.

Most recently, the committee met last Monday, at Lakes Country Service Cooperative in Fergus Falls.

Those who took part included Fred Sailer, KLN Family Brands; Nick Leonard, tourism; County Board Chairman Doug Huebsch, also with Jennie-O; County Board member Lee Rogness, farm equipment; Daryl Larson, Bongards, dairy processing; Dale Tellinghuisen, Lakes Area Cooperative; Anthony Hicks, ethanol; and county board member Wayne Johnson, who spoke about the proposed recreational trail from Pelican Rapids to Perham.

Also attending were people involved in economic development in various areas of the county, including Chuck Johnson, who works for the city of Perham.

“We work with members of the Minnesota State Legislature on various endeavors, including money needed for the Perham to Pelican Rapids trail, with a stop at Maplewood State Park,” said Johnson of what the committee does.

Last week, the committee discussed affordable housing, attracting workers to areas such as Perham, where new jobs have been created, enhancing dairy farming, maintaining roadways in Otter Tail County, making efforts to help young people plan later careers in the county, working with lawmakers to minimize unnecessary regulations, and making economic development a partnership between the private and public sectors.

Tom Hintgen, Otter Tail County Correspondent