Growing Community Assets

Community leaders in Gary, Minnesota envisioned a neglected recreational area called Gary Pines could be transformed into a healthy, sustainable forest—one that would attract a variety of animals and birds, as well as visitors of the human kind.

Working from a plan developed by the Northwest Regional Development Commission and with funding from the University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs and Northwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships, College of Design graduate student Maxwell Dickson partnered with community members to develop a master plan, budget and responsibility matrix that included transforming old logging routes into a lush network of paths and trails and creating an all-season recreational area with natural play spaces and outdoor classrooms.

As a result, Gary Pines is on its way to becoming a community-inspired environmental showcase—and a regional magnet for tourists, new residents, and Minnesota wildlife.