You probably remember reading or hearing last summer and fall about the Crosslakers project in Crosslake. The Minnesota Design Team (MDT) had chosen to engage in a months-long exercise to determine how the community envisioned its future and what steps could be taken to realize that vision.

It was quite a grassroots process. In a series of public meetings, citizens identified the town's strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. Then they identified key areas of improvement and/or development they would like to see occur in the future.

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After the citizens of Crosslake had weighed in, the MDT reviewed the findings of the town meetings and visited Crosslake for several days where the team members worked with the local volunteers who organized the effort and held two more public meetings, the second of which was an unveiling of potential projects the city might want to consider based on the data mined from the town meetings.

You probably haven't heard much about the project since then. But just because there's been no Crosslakers news to read doesn't mean there hasn't been a great deal of progress made since the MDT went home last fall.

Here's why: All of the work done on this project has been carried out by volunteers. Nobody has been paid a dime. There is no executive director, no paid coordinator and no paid staff member, just a band of very hard-working volunteers with full-time jobs of their own who care a lot about their town.

Just recently, however, some new volunteers with communication experience volunteered, and now you will be seeing and hearing more about this great project in the coming weeks and months.

Part of the new communication push is this column, called Crosslakers Progress Report. It's not a very flashy title, but the words were carefully chosen for a purpose:

"Crosslakers" because we will be writing about the community of Crosslake and all the area it serves and interacts with. "Progress" because there has been significant progress made with more on the way. And "report" because we believe it is the responsibility of the project to transparently report to the public on the project's successes, challenges, progress and needs.

A special thanks to this publication for publishing the column to help keep you informed. To those of you who signed up to volunteer to help with the project last fall, please be patient. We appreciate your willingness to help and we will be contacting you soon.

For everyone else, as you read about the project, if you see an area where you think you can help, please step up and join us. To get involved, email

This column was submitted by the Crosslakers group.