What has ten parts, covers Minnesota, and ruins everybody’s fun? Give up? It’s MADO! What is MADO, you ask? It’s the Minnesota Association of Development Organizations! Now I know you’re all excited. You heard about the Northwest Regional Development Commission (NWRDC) in my last blog post. Well, that’s only one of ten regional planning organizations in this group. You can’t run, and you can’t hide. This organization covers all of Minnesota, except for a narrow strip from about St. Cloud to the southeastern corner of the state. A big chunk of that area is Met Council territory. You heard me right; the Met Council isn’t even included in these ten regional planning organizations.
Other than the aforementioned NWRDC, there are nine other groups, that combined, control the majority of Minnesota’s landscape. Just to the east of the NWRDC is the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) based out of Bemidji, and then the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission (ARDC) is to the east of that, based out of Duluth. To the south of the NWRDC is the West Central Initiative (WCI) out of Fergus Falls. To the east of the WCI is the Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) based out of Staples, and to the east of that is the East Central Development Commission (ECRDC) based out of Mora. South of the WCI is the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) based out of Appleton, and to the east of that is the Mid-Minnesots Development Commission (MMDC) based out of Willmar. South of the UMVRDC is the Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) based out of Slayton, and lastly, to the east is the Region Nine Develpment Commission (R9DC) based out of Mankato. Is your head swimming? Good, because it should be! In fact, the map looks like this:
So, ten regional planning organizations all under one umbrella, being centrally planned. What can go wrong? I hope to look into and explore each of these organizations in the future, but first, let’s look into MADO. What is it? What does it do?
MADO’s purpose is to create economic development in greater Minnesota. It is a network of Regional Development Organizations (RDO’s), state and federal agencies, and communities. The various RDO’s are governed by a board of directors of elected officials and special interest groups. RDO’s were authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in 1969 (thanks, guys), and are designated by the United States Department of Commerce. There are federal funds in the form of grants at the very least. Some of the services they provide are: community development, comprehensive planning, grant writing, transportation planning, housing planning, emergency planning, and environmental planning.
MADO has constructed the Develop MN 2016 Plan (Comprehensive Development Strategy for Greater Minnesota). We will tear this plan apart in another blog article, but here’s what you need to know right now. MADO put this plan together to align greater MN under four priorities: Human Capital, Economic Competitiveness, Community Resources, and Foundational Assets. These are all designed to foster shared prosperity among the communities of greater Minnesota. They also talk about the need to have a strong and credible, collective voice. Collective? Shared? Those aren’t accidental words, and most hard-working folks in greater Minnesota would never anticipate their true origin. This is, however, all about an equalizing economic agenda. My friends, regional planning has run amok in Minnesota. It matters not where you go. You can not escape it. We will have more on this. You can be sure of that.
Jason Bradley is an entrepreneur in the music industry (Jason Bradley Live and Paper Lanterns Intl) and owns a consulting/advocacy/education firm that specializes in non-partisan politics (Community Solutions MN). Jason Bradley helps others to reach their goals in music and reduce the size and influence of government.