Land Use Training and Education Program

Plans That Fit: How Your Small Town Can Build a Comprehensive Plan that is Purposeful, Cost-Effective, and Relevant

When and Where:

  • Wednesday, November 15 - Thursday, November 16 - St. Cloud, Atwood Memorial Center, Glacier Room North, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota

Time: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Fee: $250

Registration Deadline: Thursday, November 9

Who should attend: Administrators, elected officials, planning commissioners, other appointed commission members - everyone who needs to be involved in planning for the future of your community!

Description: Small towns and rural communities are facing unique challenges and are looking for ways to strengthen their economies, provide better quality of life, and build on local assets. A Comprehensive Plan is a great tool that has been used by larger cities to address current and future challenges, but many smaller communities have been left out of comprehensive planning - until now!

GTS Educational Events is pleased to introduce a unique, two-day intensive training on comprehensive planning designed specifically for small towns and rural communities. Sponsored by the Regional Development Commissions and NAC Planning, this training will give you the tools to create a streamlined, cost-effective Comprehensive Plan that is relevant to your community's needs. Through examination of issues specific to small and rural communities, case studies, interactive discussions and hands-on planning exercises, you'll be ready to help launch a Comprehensive Plan without breaking backs or the bank!


  1. Understand the reasons - and the value - that a Comprehensive Plan can bring to your small town; make better decisions for residents, businesses, and institutions, short and long term.
  2. Discover methods, both new and tried-and-true, that can help launch a relevant Comprehensive Plan without breaking the fiscal bank.
  3. Re-imagine the Comprehensive Plan in your town - build a decision-making process that addresses your town's needs and issues, and purge those assumptions about big-city plans.
  4. Participate in hands-on planning exercises that can help generate enthusiasm for the planning process.
  5. Examine issues specific to smaller and rural communities through case-study and interactive discussion, including Energy, Broadband, Health, Infrastructure, and Others.



Stephen Grittman, JD, NAC Principal. Mr. Grittman has been with NAC since 1983, and currently serves as the consulting City Planner for the cities of Little Canada, Buffalo, and Monticello. He has participated in planning projects throughout Minnesota and northern Iowa. Project clients have included small towns, counties, and townships. His education includes degrees in Urban Planning, Business, and Law.

Alan Brixius, AICP, NAC Principal. Mr. Brixius has been with NAC since 1980, and serves as the consulting City Planner for the cities of Delano, Albertville, Spring Park, and New Hope. Mr. Brixius has led successful Comprehensive Plans in scores of communities, large and small, around Minnesota. Alan holds a degree in Community Development from St. Cloud State.

Bob Kirmis, AICP, NAC Senior Planner. Mr. Kirmis currently serves as the consulting planner for Elko New Market, Afton and Loretto. Mr. Kirmis directed and completed 2030 Comprehensive Plan projects in Loretto and Credit River Township. He holds degrees in planning and architecture, and has served with NAC for more than 25 years. Prior experience includes the planning departments of the City of Eagan and the City of Fargo.

Nate Sparks, NAC Senior Planner. Nate's projects have included Comprehensive Planning, zoning review, ordinance writing, Parks system planning, and economic development project assistance, always with the community's goals and objectives at the forefront. Nate currently serves May Township, Dellwood, Le Sueur, and St. Paul Park, as well as other area communities. He holds degrees from Macalester College and a Masters in Planning from Minnesota State Mankato.

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