Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of stories about the annual Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce award winners.
Education and the arts are big business in Red Wing, as demonstrated during the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. Red Wing School District was named the Speciality Business of the Year, and the Sheldon Theatre has won the award for Arts & Entertainment, Lodging, Recreation & Tourism Business of the Year.
The school district is a chamber member through Red Wing Community Education & Recreation. While the district as a whole had a big year in 2018 - seeing voters pass a $1,200 per pupil operating levy for five years, plus an additional $450 per student - Community Ed had a big year, too, serving approximately 96,000 people in a variety of programs.
"Our department includes school-age care and Colvill Family Center; driver's education and youth sports; enrichment and education programs as well as basic education for adults, adults with disabilities and seniors; and in addition, we have a joint powers agreement with the city of Red Wing and we manage the Red Wing Water Park, the outdoor skating rinks and the Park Naturalist program as well as Live Healthy Red Wing," Community Education Dawn Wettern said.
The district as a whole employees more than 150 full-time and part-time employees, operating for 183 years. Red wing Community Education has been around since 1971.
Community Education offers a variety of classes at reasonable prices. In its winter/spring catalog, the department had offerings for food and entertainment, health and wellness to name a few.
Superintendent Karsten Anderson said on accepting the award, "We appreciate the designation as Specialty Service Business of the Year for Red Wing. There are so many deserving businesses in Red Wing of the award. Undoubtedly, the school district's greatest strength is the community we serve, and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with community."
This is the third year in a row that the Sheldon Theatre has won the arts award.
"We are humbled to be part of such a vibrant, diverse business ecosystem here in Red Wing; and particularly to be among such great peers serving the arts, entertainment and tourism needs in the region," said Bonnie Schock, the executive director of the Sheldon. "We strive every day to provide cherished new memories for all, and are grateful for this recognition from our partners in the Red Wing business community! It's possible because of many supporters and fans. The Sheldon is renewed, refreshed, and revitalized with the energy of our entire community!"