A Better Brainerd

Who we are.

We are Brainerd's first Do Tank; a group of people that want to see Brainerd reclaim its former glory as the greatest city in Central Minnesota. We are actively working to make it happen.

What do we mean by a better Brainerd?

Brainerd did not happen by accident. It was founded strategically and grew strong at the crossroads of the Mississippi river and multiple railroad lines. Its strengths lie in its roots as a railroad town and the traditional development pattern that comprises the heart of the city and its neighborhoods.

For the past two generations, Brainerd has run away from these strengths. Historic buildings like the depot, the armory, the post office, the Twin and Paramount theaters and many others were torn down to make way for parking lots and strip shopping. Millions of dollars were invested in retrofitting the walkable neighborhoods for fast automobile travel, driving down property values in the process. The wealth, energy and vision of the city was directed towards expansion on the periphery of town and the race to the bottom required to compete with Baxter's highway 371 development.

These efforts have not paid off. Brainerd routinely tops the state in unemployment. It lags surrounding communities in household income, home value and other measures of prosperity. Families and businesses moving to the area all too frequently choose to locate outside of Brainerd, where the present and the future seem brighter. Taxes are high yet an unsustainable percentage of the city's budget is made up of tenuous grants from the state. Worse, there is no coherent vision -- inside or outside the city government -- for how to make things better except to continue on the same path.

Brainerd has the resources and the tools to overcome these problems and once again be a great city. We can no longer accept simply doing more of the same. We need to work towards a better Brainerd. 

What is a Do Tank?

A Do Tank is much like a Think Tank except, instead of just sitting around and talking about problems and their potential solutions, we are going to take action to inspire and bring about change.

We don't have money. We don't bring a lot of influence to the table. We don't hold public office or desire to. We're not interested in attending endless meetings, participating in focus groups or filling out surveys.

We are going to take the resources we do have -- our vision and a passion for Brainerd -- and make things happen.

How do I get involved?

If you care about Brainerd and want to work to make it better, please join us. Sign up and we'll keep you informed on upcoming events.