The Fond du Lac Planning Division provides financial and administrative support to economic development projects on the Reservation. Many Fond du Lac projects have grant funds tied to them for their development and construction. Below is a list of current and past projects with a brief description of each.
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20 Year Long Range Transportation Plan - The Planning Division has recently sent out a Request for Proposals to planning and engineering firms to begin the update to the Band 20 Year Long Range Transportation Plan. The purpose of the Fond du Lac Reservation Long-Range Transportation Plan is to develop a guide for transportation improvements over a 20-year period by looking at all modes of transportation affecting the Reservation. This study looks at the entire Fond du Lac transportation network in order to develop a plan that links all modes into an interconnected and efficient system. The study also addresses other nearby jurisdictions’ projects and how those plans affect the Reservation’s transportation system. The plan update is anticipated to be complete by December 2021.
Safety Transportation Plan – The Planning Division has recently sent out a Request for Proposals to planning and engineering firms to begin an update to the Band’s Safety Transportation Plan. In 2016 the FDL Band undertook efforts to develop a Tribal Transportation Safety Plan that would identify existing safety efforts, transportation safety issues and then identify strategies for implementation that would address these issues. The plan update is anticipated to be complete by December 2021.
Economic Impact Study - The objective of this project is to assess the employment and economic impacts of operations and construction of the Fond du Lac Band. There was a previous analysis done in 2011and this project looks to revisit both short-term and long term impacts of Band operations in 2021 and the impact of construction projects. The impact is anticipated to be finished September 2021.
Food Sovereignty Initiative - The Fond du Lac Band's Food Sovereignty Initiative committee meets weekly to discuss and collaborate on a variety of local food efforts, which include gardening, harvesting, food processing and preservation, cooking and nutrition education, higher education opportunities, grant writing, program development, and food policy work. The group consists of members from Resource Management, Human Services, Education, Planning, Operations, Tribal Council, Legal, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Environmental Institute and Community Experts/Mentors. Some of the main programs represented are 13 Moons, Gitigaan, Bimaaji'idiwin Producer Training Program, Farm to School, Ojibwe School Youth Gardening Program, SNAP, and SHIP.
Aaniin/Fond du Lac Communications – Fiber to the Home – This is an initiative with financial assistance from the United State Department of Agriculture, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to construct a fiber to the home network to up to 1,500 homes on the Fond du Lac Reservation. The project is moving forward with bidding and ordering fiber cable, central offices, and distribution equipment. Presently, Fond du Lac Communications was created and has become an ETC (Eligible Telecommunications Carrier) with Aaniin as the face of the broadband company. Services for this project were turned on Fall 2019. View service offerings here (www.aaniin.net). Currently, build out is still occurring in the Brookston Area, along Big Lake Road and a residential area on the eastern boundary of Fond du Lac.
Gitigaan – Fond du Lac’s Gitigaan Program consists of 12 weeks of gardening education, provides 140 Fond du Lac households with over 40 varieties of seeds and vegetable plants, has tilling service available and ends the season with a fall feast celebration (the 2020 Fall Fest was cancelled due to COVID-19). In 2019, the Gitigaan program began growing on a 1/4 plot at FDL's Gitigaaning Farm to demonstrate growing practices and record what can be harvested from the plants and seeds provided to each household. Over 1,000 pounds of produce from the Gitigaan plot went to community programs, like the Ojibwe School’s lunch program, Elderly Nutrition Program and to community members. Come back to this site for more information on the 2021 season or visit us at Facebook or Instagram.
Dual Language Signs - The Fond du Lac Reservation has developed agreement with Carlton and St. Louis Counties to develop Ojibwe and English road signs. These signs have been installed in various parts of the Reservation. Most recently, the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Federal Administration has adopted guidance to allow dual language signs on state highways within Tribal boundaries.
Gitigaaning (The Place of the Gardens) - Gitigaaning is Fond du Lac’s newly developed 36 acre farm. Gitigaaning is just a piece of Fond du Lac’s Food Sovereignty efforts. The property consists of berry patches, an expanding orchard and 4 acres of tilled agricultural land where the Bimaaji'idiwin Producer Training Program and Gitigaan plots are located. A 1,300 sq.ft. Growing Dome has been assembled for season extension, supported through an Administrations for Native Americans Social and Economic Development Strategy Grant (ANA SEDS). Infrastructure improvements to provide well water at the farm were supported through a Minnesota Department of Agriculture grant and a mini-irrigation system will be installed through a NRCS EQIP grant. Through CARES Act funding, a community cannery, kitchen and root cellar are being built and will be completed by December 2020.
The Fond du Lac Band has three community districts. Each district has a high tunnel and two new orchards were planted in our Cloquet and Brookston district this summer (2020). The orchards include apple, plum and cherry trees. This project has multiple partners with the Fond du Lac Resource Management Division – 13 Moons Program, the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Fond du Lac Public Works, and the Food Sovereignty work group.
Comprehensive Plan - The Planning Department completed a comprehensive planning process for the Fond du Lac Band. The process of gathering community feedback for the comprehensive plan was interrupted by COVID-19 and the department used an online survey for community input. Over 130 surveys were collected from the survey on the Fond du Lac Website and the Facebook Page. This plan is meant to understand the wants and needs of our community in relation to housing, environment, economy, safety, transportation, and more in order to create a series of goals for future development on the reservation. Unlike our program-oriented Strategic Plan, the Comprehensive Plan more with what we want to see and where we want to see it in relation to the built environment.
Mahnomen Road Trail – The Mahnomen Road Trail has been in development since Winter-Spring of 2019-2020. The funding for this project has been secured through a grant from the Tribal Transportation Safety Fund Program. Trail construction began in the Summer of 2020 and is now complete.
Language and Culture Building - This is a project with financial assistance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a Language and Culture Learning Center for the Fond du Lac Band. This project now has an architect which is Architectural Resources Incorporated. The three community meetings have been held and Architectural Resources compiled the results of the three meetings and made a presentation to the Reservation Business Committee. Construction of this building began in 2019 and was completed in May of 2020. Language and Culture staff are currently using the facility.
Gikinoo’ Amon - Big Lake Road Trail – The Big Lake Road has been in development for several years. Funding for the project has now been secured and the engineering and right of way acquisition will be continue through the Winter of 2018. Construction of the trail began in the spring of 2019 and was completed by July of 2019.
Journey Garden Social Enterprise - Fond du Lac’s youth gardening program began in 2008 as a summer youth enrichment program. The program started as a summer youth gardening program designed to introduce students to health-related fields of study and teach entrepreneurial, agricultural and cooking skills rooted in Ojibwe language and teachings. The program started a social enterprise farmers/gatherers market selling fresh produce, value added products and farm to table meals. The program has now been absorbed by the Fond du Lac K-12 Ojibwe School, expanded into a year-round program. The market did not operate in 2020 because of COVID-19. To learn more about Youth Gardening see the Babaamaadiziwin Gitigaan Moozhaginamaagewi – Adaawewigamig Facebook page.
To learn more about the Social Enterprise Process check out these links from the Northland Foundation:
Media Coverage: FOX21 News Story
Media Coverage: FOX21 News Story
Blandin Broadband Communities - For the past four years the Fond du Lac Band has been a Blandin Broadband Community. By participating in this program the Band was allowed access to grant funds to help pay for projects such as the App Camp at the Ojibwe School, the installation of 13 wireless hotspots, computer training, internet usage training, and PC’s for People.
Safety Plan - The Fond du Lac Band has completed a new Safety Plan for the Reservation. This plan will provide insight on transportation related safety issues on the Reservation and will provide strategies in resolving these issues. KLJ Engineers was hired to assist with this project.
Transportation Plan - The Fond du Lac Band hired a local agency, the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, to assist the Reservation in the update the existing 20 year long range transportation plan. This plan will provide a strategy for Fond du Lac to develop road and transportation projects in the future.
WGZS Radio - Fond du Lac started a local non-commercial radio station called 89.1 WGZS “The Moon” which has been in operation since 2011.
Supportive Housing - In 2010 the Fond du Lac Band competed construction 24 units of supportive housing to the neediest population of Fond du Lac.
Veterans Housing - In 2012 the Fond du Lac Reservation finished 10 units of veteran’s supportive housing for the Band Veterans who are in need.
Assisted Living - 2010 the Fond du Lac Reservation completed the construction of 10 units of assisted to provide housing and services to the Reservation’s elders.
Cartwright Road - This was a cooperative project with the city of Cloquet that completely reconstructed Cartwright Road. This is an important transportation link for the Fond du Lac Reservation and local community.
Waterline Extension and Airport Road - This was also a cooperative project with the city of Cloquet, where the Band constructed 9,000 feet of water main to improve water quality and fire protection and the City repaved Airport Road and Trettel Lane to complete a large and much needed infrastructure project.