Grant allows Grand Forks Region EDC to create videos, photography and drone footage of area towns

The total cost of the project is $37,500, with $30,000 coming from the state’s Regional Workforce Impact Program and $7,500 coming from Grand Forks Region EDC.

Northwood water tower.jpg
Clouds gather behind the water tower in Northwood, N.D. (Grand Forks Herald)

GRAND FORKS — To the untrained eye, do you know about a nearly $10,000 incentive in Northwood, North Dakota, to build a new home. Do you know Gilby has held geocaching events? Do you know Gilby holds mystery murder events at its revamped community center?

A project through the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Association is uncovering some gems at six Grand Forks communities.

The EDC is producing videos, drone footage and pictures of the six towns after receiving a grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce. There is no cost to the communities, except for some in-person hours to help with a video script.

It’s all part of the “Way Cooler Than You Think” campaign that started a few years ago.

“We received a grant from the state that matched with EDC funding to make this happen. The goal is to highlight life in rural Grand Forks,” said Becca Cruger, director of workplace development for EDC.


The total cost of the project is $37,500, with $30,000 coming from the state’s Regional Workforce Impact Program and $7,500 coming from Grand Forks Region EDC.

Highlighted in the videos will be schools, housing, quality of life and arts and entertainment in the communities.

In addition to Northwood and Gilby, others to be profiled with be Thompson, Reynolds, Emerado and Larimore. The project, headed by Cruger, already has produced the Emerado video.

Meetings have been scheduled with Gilby and Northwood volunteers and city and school leadership.

For those in Thompson, Reynolds and Larimore, “We’re coming,” Cruger said. “If you haven’t heard about it yet, don’t worry, it will be in your inbox.”

The project allows for free marketing and promotion of the communities. The object is to fill jobs in the Grand Forks area and to entice people to buy homes and rent apartments in the communities.

“We all know we need people to fill the open jobs in Grand Forks,” Cruger said. “Some of them have houses available and for some it would spur new development. Gilby doesn’t have a ton available on the market, but when we talked, they mentioned the open lots that they have.”

Cruger called the initiative a pilot project. She’s hopeful more grants will be available in the future for local communities that do innovative things in the area of workforce development.


The initiative is paired with an advertising campaign featuring open jobs in Grand Forks County.

These videos won’t be thrown in a drawer somewhere. The EDC will give each community copies to place on their websites.

“This is a real concentrated effort to get out to those communities and capture footage and create real selling points that communities can use as well as they are recruiting people,” Cruger said.

The project will be finished by the end of May.

“What’s good for rural communities is also good for the city of Grand Forks,” Cruger said.

Kevin Fee is a freelance reporter for the Herald.
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