Gilly's Prime Time Bar & Grill in Elbow Lake isn't usually open at 7 a.m., but on this Wednesday morning it welcomed participants of WCI's community breakfast with a tasty buffet. Business leaders, city and school officials, nonprofit representatives and others came to share their thoughts, concerns--and pride--about Elbow Lake with West Central Initiative. It's something WCI likes to do with each west central Minnesota community.
"What are the best things about living in Elbow Lake?" WCI staff asked. The list was long: It's the ideal place for young families and older adults; it's clean and quiet; it has good school and healthcare systems; it does a good job maintaining main street.
"What pulls the community together?" There were lots of answers for this, too, including, the library, the schools, and the new volunteer-run thrift shop that benefits the hospital.
"What are the challenges?" Not enough industry, the need for skilled workers, finding businesses for the vacant storefronts, the cost of commuting.
"How is Elbow Lake working with surrounding communities?" The school system is a great example of small town collaboration, many noted. The Elbow Lake Revolving Loan Fund is open to helping businesses in nearby communities. The Grant County Child & Youth Council is a wonderful organization that pulls together families, schools and communities from throughout the county. Case in point, the upcoming Traveling F.U.N. Fest, which will be held in Ashby this year.