Vision Statement and Guiding Principles

From all of the various input we’ve collected as a part of this process, a vision for the city’s future has been crafted based off your suggestions, ideas, and creativity.

We seek to provide high-quality, year-round recreation, a strong workforce, and a variety of life experiences with intention to ultimately become a welcoming place to live, work, play, and stay for all.

A vision statement describes a community’s values and aspirations and a shared image of what residents want their community to become over the next 15 years in the future. The statement is an over-arching narrative that filters throughout the plan and informs the goals, policies and action direction

Guiding principles highlight those elements that are important to the community and are key to the achievement of the community’s vision.

  1. Continue enhancing Brainerd’s neighborhoods in ways that encourage safety and a sense of community.
  2. Champion the range of employment opportunities available in the Brainerd Lakes Area (BLA).
  3. Promote the development and redevelopment of housing for a range of densities, types, price points.
  4. Highlight, maintain and enhance the recreational assets/opportunities located within Brainerd.
  5. Celebrate the unique qualities, attributes, and identities of Brainerd’s neighborhoods
  6. Expand and enhance high quality rental opportunities in Brainerd by continuing to encourage best practices and accountability.
  7. Active in downtown revitalization, supporting existing business, new business development, housing, and cultural events all with Brainerd’s historic character.
  8. Maintain and enhance infrastructure, and recreational assets by considering both form and function.

Community Design Session Feedback

On November 14th, the city and steering committee held two open houses to gather feedback from residents on content developed to date, as well as glean input on development considerations for the future of the city. A variety of stations were available that each focused on a certain area. Here’s a general overview of the themes gathered:

What is your ‘big idea’ for Brainerd?

  • Downtown streetscaping; take advantage of the Mississippi River; broadband expansion; work with surrounding entities and stakeholders to become a world-class destination by connecting trails, the river, history, and culture.

What are our core values?

  • Be the hub for cultural events, experiences, public art, and music
  • We recognize the importance of the Mississippi River
  • To be a walkable and bikable community
  • A place with economic opportunity
  • We’re a community where you can live, work, play and stay

We heard:

  • Additional housing options for all different housing types, needs, and income is needed
  • That you love your trail network, but seek to improve walkability within your neighborhoods and to the downtown
  • Improve the trail network and wayfinding
  • You’d like to see the overall community image and attractiveness of town improve
  • Downtown should be transformed into a cultural and social hub
  • We should attract new businesses to the city
  • You’d like to see connectivity; between your neighborhoods, the downtown, and the river

To learn more about the feedback from the event, read the summary report here and review the mapping elements here. The feedback we received at this event will help form the foundations for the goals and policies of the plan. Thank you to all who participated!

Steering Committee to Host Community Design Session on November 14

JOIN US! The City of Brainerd and Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee will be hosting a community design session on November 14, 2018 at 617 Laurel Street in Downtown Brainerd (former Utrinkets store). Two sessions will be held in an effort to accommodate your busy schedule:

Session 1| 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Session 2| 5:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Anyone who has a passion for the future of Brainerd is encouraged to attend one of the sessions. Both sessions will be the same and we welcome you to stop in whenever it works for you. This is an open house-style event where you can come and go as you please.

The feedback gathered from the community design session will help shape the plan’s goals, policies, and action steps. Attendees will learn of feedback gathered from the community survey and your thoughts and comments are needed in these areas:

  • Complete various visioning and mapping exercises
  • Identify a set of values
  • Categorize a set of priorities for the future


Community Survey Responses are IN!

A community survey was available for public participation during the months of August and September. A total of 633 responses were collected. This survey particularly studied two aspects: livability and community character. The complete survey can be viewed here:

Community Survey Responses

Only interested in reading the highlights? We’ve created a summary for you so you can get straight to the findings. Click this link to learn more: Community Survey Memo.

Brainerd Community Survey Open

The City of Brainerd is looking to its residents to help craft a vision for 2035. Anyone with a passion for  Brainerd’s future is encouraged to participate. The following survey will focus on the community character and the livability of the city. The survey will be available until September 16th. Click the link below to start:

IMAGINEbrainerd Community Survey


Survey Promotion Card

Download the Hard Copy. Drop off the completed survey at City Hall by September 16th, 2018.


Welcome to the information hub of the city’s comprehensive plan update project. This will be the place where you can find project updates, timelines, feedback, reports, and photos. This plan with provide a vision for the next 15 years. It will serve as the leading policy document for the city.

This plan will be led by citizen input. We will turn to our residents to point us in the right direction and craft a plan that is uniquely fitted to our (unique) city. Join us as we begin this process.

Let’s IMAGINEBrainerd. Today, tomrorow, together.


What is a comprehensive plan?

In essence, a comprehensive plan is a shared vision for the future, and a strategic road map to reach that vision.

What is this project about?

The city is working with the community to develop a long-range plan into 2035. Your input is important to guiding and implementing this plan. Share with us YOURbrainerd.