What is the CIRI?

What is the Central Iron Range Initiative or CIRI?

The region of the central Iron Range has a rich history of community autonomy. To support that perspective, state funding policies promote benefits to individual communities without offering many incentives for regional planning efforts. While community self-sufficiency is admirable, the goal of self-preservation at all costs is not. Historically, Hibbing, Chisholm, Buhl, Kinney and/or Balkan and Great Scott Townships would compete, each staking out their position and grasping on to it, even though it lead to economic losses for the region. Continued adversarial positioning and competition among communities were allowing regional opportunities in the central Iron Range to slip away without adequate progress.

A pervasive shift in the area 's economic climate brought about a sense of urgency to see problems of individual communities as a regional concern. In the fall of 1999, a group of business leaders from across the central Iron Range met to explore the question, "How can we help shape the economic future of the central Iron Range?" To step into the future, the group had to shift its weight to the opposite foot and look at things from a new perspective. This new perspective has become in what is now called the Central Iron Range Initiative (CIRI).