Bemidji, Park Rapids, Mahnomen, Bagley, Baudette, Blackduck, Hubbard

HRDC Services

Economic Development

Headwaters RDC staff works cooperatively with economic development and community development partners throughout the region in the creation of new jobs by providing general planning guidance, technical assistance for specific projects and services to local units of government.

There is no single recipe for prosperity, however, for the region’s communities to compete in the global economy it must explicitly address the building blocks of the knowledge-based economy such as; technology, innovation, talent, supporting entrepreneurs, and developing a high quality of life.

The Headwaters RDC provides assistance to our communities in the form of creative thinking, strategy development, and effective approaches to help businesses, communities, and organizations achieve their development goals and prosper in a global economy.

Our services include strategic planning, facilitation, financial packaging, grant writing, loan application preparation, market research, feasibility studies, proposal development, business financing assistance, loan fund administration, organizational development, and more.

For more information on Economic Development activities, contact Ryan Zemek at 218-333-6541.

Community Development

The primary goal of the Community Development program is to help local customers develop and implement strategies designed to create the kinds of places where people want to live and work. Community development activities include housing efforts, downtown and neighborhood improvements, growth management, park and recreation planning, transportation improvements and other activities designed to create livable communities. 

For more information on community development activities, please contact any of the following HRDC staff members:



HRDC Housing Services

The HRDC has long recognized the relationship between livable communities and the need for safe affordable housing and has worked to increase the supply in our Region. The HRDC uses a variety of methods and partnerships to accomplish the goals of better housing for the residents in our Region.

The HRDC assisted several Communities prepare local housing studies and plans to determine the extent of the need and to find realistic solutions that they can employ to address their own critical housing needs.

One of the barriers to housing production is the lack of developers willing to take risks in the smaller communities in our Region and the difficultly in serving the low and moderate income niche. The HRDC is statutorily prohibited from owning development property so in 1998 the HRDC sought legislative action to form a non – profit housing development corporation specifically to deal with an inadequate supply of affordable housing throughout the Region. The Headwaters Housing Development Corporation (HHDC) was formed and has been providing Regionwide services since that time.

In addition the HRDC provides staffing services, under contract, to both the Beltrami County HRA and Hubbard County HRA. These arrangements allow both organizations to secure a staff team of experts in various disciplines at a fraction of the cost of hiring staff directly. This allows them to use their resources to more fully attend to the critical housing needs in their respective Counties.

For almost twenty years the HRDC has assisted Counties in the Region receive an annual allocation of low interest mortgage financing through the Minnesota Housing Financing Agency’s Minnesota Cities Participation Program (MCPP). Loans are made available through participating local lenders.

Finally, HRDC staff accessed gap financing resources from MN Housing Finance Agency and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund and the Wells Fargo Foundation to help moderate income families get into homes that they would otherwise be unable to afford.

To find out more about the housing services the HRDC has to offer, contact:


Housing Rehabilitation

In the spring of 2012, the HRDC entered into an agreement with MN Housing to administer their Rehabilitation Loan Program (RLP) and Emergency Loan Program (ELP). RLP is an ongoing program and we are continually accepting applications for both the regular RLP and the Emergency Loan Program. In addition to the Rehabilitation Loan Program, the Headwaters RDC is now an approved Fix Up Lender. The Fix Up program provides rehabilitation funds to households with a higher income than the Rehabilitation Loan Program serves. There are a variety of loan options available through the Fix-Up Fund that borrowers will have the ability to choose from. In 2014 the Headwaters RDC was also awarded Targeted Home Improvement Pilot (THIP) funds from Minnesota Housing. THIP funds are used to write down the interest rate on Fix Up loans to as low as 1%, based on household income. 

For more information on housing rehabilitation services available to you,click here or contact:

  • Levi Haar, Lending and Accounting Specialist at 218-333-6530.

Home Buyer Education

In 2007, the HRDC became a member of the Minnesota Home Ownership Center to provide Home Buyer Education, Coaching, and Financial Literacy services in the Region. Home Buyer Education is provided through the HomeStretch Program. Many affordable loan products require home buyer education in order to be eligible. Prior to the HRDC providing these services, access for our residents was very limited.

For more information on Home Buyer Education and Financial Coaching, please contact:

  • Levi Haar, Lending and Accounting Specialist at 218-333-6530.

Environmental Services and Natural Resource Planning

If you ask any citizen of our Region what the most important attribute of our area is, one of the first things they’ll talk about is the natural environment. Not only do the lakes and forests of the Headwaters Region substantially contribute to our quality of life, they also are one of our chief competitive advantages.

The challenge is to wisely use these resources while conserving them for future generations. Sustained population growth and related development pressures make this challenge increasingly important.

The HRDC has positioned itself as both resource planner and broker for some natural resource disputes. As in the case of our water planning activities, we have helped counties chart a path to protect and enhance the quality of their water resources. In the case of our local wetland planning activity, we help find mutual gain positions between competing interests. And in yet another capacity, we have helped counties and cities enhance trail and park systems. 

For more information on natural resource management activities, please contact:

  • Joel Anastasio, Environmental and Development Specialist at 218-333-6538.

Transportation Activities

The HRDC’s role in solving regional transportation issues takes many forms. At our core, we utilize our partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) to work on regionally significant planning or development projects in transportation. We serve as transportation experts for our small town staff, facilitators when communities need problems solving, and planners for a safe and reliable transportation network. We engage local engineers, elected officials, and residents on planning projects aimed at improving our streets, highways, trails, and sidewalks. However you get from A to B, we are working on making it safer and more reliable.

The HRDC plays another role, representing our region in planning and development through partnerships with MNDOT and others.

  • We represent regional interests in the Area Transportation Partnerships organized by MNDOT, which decide how certain Federal funds are allocated within Northwest Minnesota.
  • We also help connect our small towns to the Transportation Alternative Program - funding sources for trails and sidewalks.
  • The HRDC is part of the statewide Safe Routes to School program, helping school districts plan and implement safer walking and biking for our children.

We stay engaged in partnerships relating to bicycling, walking, freight, and safety; so that the needs of our communities are best represented in state transportation planning.

For more information regarding Transportation Activities, contact:

  • Emily Tribby, Transportation and Community Development Specialist, at 218-333-6538. 
  • Bryan McCoy, Development Specialist-Transportation, at 218-333-6545. 

Active Living

HRDC staff plays a role in the development of better active living in our communities, as it relates to transportation. Working with partners such as Safe Routes to School, the Statewide Health Improvement Program, and Nice Ride Minnesota, we strive to develop transportation that is safe and convenient for pedestrians and bicyclists. In addition to this, our agency supports encouragement and engagement programs designed to promote bicycling.

We believe that the foundation of quality communities starts with safety and health. Promoting walking and biking as transportation or as regular activity helps our residents stay healthy and makes our communities thrive.

For more information regarding Active Living activities, contact:

  • For Statewide Health Improvement Program: Joel Anastasio, Environmental and Development Specialist, at 218-333-6538.
  • For Safe Routes to School and Nice Ride Minnesota: Emily Tribby, Transportation and Community Development Specialist, at 218-333-6538. 

Notifying the Public of Rights Under Title VI

Headwaters Regional Development Commission

  • Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC) operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with HRDC.
  • For more information on HRDC civil rights program, and the procedure to file a complaint, contact (218) 333-6532; email:; or visit our administrative office in Bemidji at 403 4th St NW. Suite 310 Bemidji MN, 56601 . Kent Ehrenstrom can be contacted as well at or (218) 755- 6555.
  • The contact information for MnDOT is: Title VI Specialist, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights, Mail Stop 170, 395 John Ireland Blvd., St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-1899,
  • Phone: (651) 366-3322 or Fax: (651) 366-3129
  • A complainant may file a complaint directly with Minnesota Department of Human Rights 190 E. 5th St., Suite 700 Saint Paul, MN 55101, (651)-296-5663
  • Persons with limited English proficiency may contact (218) 755-4096.

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