Partnerships & Local Coordination

Most of the non-agricultural economic development will occur in the County’s urban areas. The Comprehensive Plan’s public engagement efforts (e.g., participation by local Chambers of Commerce) also determined that cities have a variety of needs to meet their economic development goals. These needs ranged from filling industrial parks, attracting new residents, creating development to help pay for recent infrastructure improvements, and new approaches to land use and natural resource conflicts.

Development opportunities can be difficult to balance in an effort to not over burden infrastructure or natural resource and not conflict with the agricultural base. Particularly as one moves out of the metropolitan region, diversifying the local economic base may require substantial investments in infrastructure (e.g., telecommunications, transportation, water and wastewater). Some of these investments are described in local comprehensive plans, while larger regional initiatives or infrastructure needs are described in their respective plans.


  1. Strengthen economic connections between the metropolitan area and other Stearns County cities and townships.
  2. Promote alignment of economic and workforce development goals, including encouraging post-secondary education and skills training to support high-growth and high-wage jobs.
  3. Develop and promote a regional marketing strategy
  4. Develop and ensure consistent regional branding efforts that promote local businesses and locally made and/or designed products.
  5. Campaign for competitively-priced, high-speed broadband infrastructure throughout the region
  6. Encourage industrial development within existing communities, including redevelopment of existing sites and filling of industrial and business parks.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strageties: In 2017 Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, and Wright Counties drafted a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) planning document with a multi-jurisdictional task force comprised of representatives of local governments throughout the four counties. The CEDS focuses on four cornerstones to build a strong region. These cornerstones include:

  • Human Capital: Developing, retaining, and attracting local talent
  • Economic Competitiveness: Making Central Minnesota an attractive environment for business
  • Community Resources: Maintaining rural values and the heritage of the region
  • Foundational Assets: Collaborative approaches and strategies for cost-effective infrastructure

This document can be used as a resource to learn more about the region's economic profile, such as demographics, labor force, income, wages, and occupations

Regional Infrastructure Plans

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