BLUE EARTH, MINN - A nonprofit group called the Rural Renaissance Project is in the final stages of acquiring three neighboring buildings in Blue Earth. Locally known as the "Three Sisters."

Blue Earth will be the pilot project for the nonprofit, who says its goal is to "spark economic, cultural and entrepreneurial investment in rural communities."

The group is nationally–based but its roots are still in the Blue Earth area, where founder Janie Hanson grew up.
"A few friends of mine, we lived out in New York and one's out in LA. We all come from farming backgrounds so we'd been back and home and seen these buildings here and we're like 'It'd be really cool to do something fun with that space.'" Hanson said.
Each space in the "Three Sisters" building will be based off of the group's "5 Pillars" which focus on Technology, arts and culture, local foods, health and wellness and sustainable infrastructure for Internet, Water and Energy.

The city of Blue Earth says $1 million needs to be raised by the group in 90 days before the city will commit any funds to the estimated $2.5 million development.
"This is ambitious, so figuring out how all these parts work together but we're not re–inventing the wheel here," Hanson said. "It's bringing some things that have worked well in other places and paying attention to the business model, what the needs are in the community and what talent is already here and figuring out how all those fit together."
Hanson says a launch party for the project's fund raising will start at Blue Earth's "Giant Days," on July 13 where the nonprofit hopes to show residents what the renovations mean for the city.
"I think just the power of community and how when people want to band together," Hanson said. "Roll your sleeves up and get stuff done, you can really accomplish some ambitious things."
The group says if all financial benchmarks are hit, construction on the creative spaces project should begin by this Fall with hopes of completion by next year's Giant Days.

----KEYC News 12