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What is the Build the Future (BTF) Initiative?

What is the Build the Future (BTF) Initiative?
Build the Future is an initiative of the St. James Economic Development Authority that involves community stakeholders in working on basic economic development goals.

The broad vision (end goal) of the Build the Future Initiative is to collect data, train stakeholders on the data, and have those stakeholders “at the ready” to talk to potential businesses and convince them to choose St. James. The initiative’s goals also include working on Marketing, Business Retention & Expansion, and Resident Recruitment.

Current Projects

At a stakeholder meeting in 2016, those in attendance were surveyed on what priorities they would like to see us focus on. Those priorities evolved into the following projects:

  • Establishment of a data collection committee, which is now the steering committee.
  • Creation of the “Discover St. James” website –highlighting everything our community has to offer– which will launch this summer. A website committee was established consisting of BTF steering committee members and Chamber Board members. The website will be owned and managed by both the EDA and the Chamber, with additional help from the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
  • Along with the website, new printed marketing materials are being created with the same “Discover St. James” theme. These materials will be used for visitors, resident recruitment and business recruitment.
  • Applying for and receiving the Community Growth Initiative (CGI) Grant program through the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), which is in process. The two projects resulting are a Downtown Artwalk and a Billboard with an electronic reader on Highway 60. A leadership team of 12 individuals was established to help guide this process and two groups of community members are working on the resulting projects.
  • The image on the left below shows a glimpse of what the Artwalk will bring to St. James- painted electrical boxes (these are at the Library in St. James). The image on the right below is an artist rendering of the billboard project (the website will be
  • Stay tuned for another newsletter that will go in depth on the Community Growth Initiative.
St. James Art Walk

Future Projects

The steering committee has approved a three year working plan for the initiative that also includes the following projects:

  • Leading a Business Retention & Expansion effort that will involve 40 community members in interviewing local businesses, and then implementing priority projects based on the businesses feedback about the community.
  • Training stakeholders to be prepared for large business recruitment as opportunities arise.
  • Targeted business and resident recruitment efforts, and special projects as they arise.

Thank You

Economic & Community Development is a team effort and is rarely successful without lots of community involvement. The residents of St. James are uniquely passionate and involved; it is very inspiring! Keep up the great work St. James and thank you for all of your help.

Have a great week!

Jamie Scheffer
EDA Director

Highway 4 Reconstruction

Have you signed up to receive notifications for the Highway 4 reconstruction project? Construction is underway!

VIDEO: Mini Roundabouts and Back-in Angle Parking coming soon to St. James

St James Highway 4 Reconstruction
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