Sitting at the heart of Braham is the center of city operations, and sitting at the hub of operations is the newly hired city administrator, Angie Grafstrom.
Grafstrom comes with a wealth of experience in growing small towns. She started as a city administrator in Hallock and later accepted a position in Warroad. Being a part of these communities has given her a great appreciation and a sense of support for small-town development and growth. Owning a bookstore in Warroad helped her refine her passion for local shops.
“Operating a small business in a small town is hard, and that’s why I’m all about doing as much locally as you can,” she said. “Those businesses aren’t going to be there if you don’t support them.”
Her work in these two northern Minnesota cites and her entrepreneurship has given her a passion for Braham’s downtown storefronts.
Grafstrom enjoys what she does. All the accomplishments and potential that Braham has to offer gives her hope and excitement for the future, she said.
Managing services and utilities plays a large role in her day-to-day governance, but so does writing new grant proposals.
Grafstrom said that one of her favorite parts of the job is writing new proposals and finding the grant money to support new initiatives.
“I like working on economic development,” she said, “which I feel is a very important part of being a city administrator. Cities grow with economic development, and growth means more tax dollars for the city.”
You don’t see it on her desk, but Grafstrom has an invisible crystal ball in front of her at all times. The future of the town’s infrastructure and finances need to grow and become solid, and the challenge is in anticipating the future of Braham. She said she is excited to work with other communities and share ideas to solve the challenges that exist in small towns.
“We live in kind of a swamp,” Grafstrom said, “and that has created a sort of sprawl to our town. I like the idea of keeping ideas on the table. They may never pan out, but you still have to think about them. You hear new ideas and you say to yourself, ‘You never know, maybe that would work.’”
Grafstrom said the future of Braham looks promising.
“I think it’s good now,” she said, “but it’s going to be great.”
Since taking the office in the first part of September, she has spent time talking to community members and has listened to ideas regarding the development of infrastructure, tourism and economic development.
In her spare time, Grafstrom likes to repurpose items, garden and cook. She enjoys shopping at thrift stores and spending time with her family.
Grafstrom stressed she is accessible to the community and supports an open-door policy that continues to keep Braham transparent to its citizens.
“If you need to talk to me,” she said, “just talk to me.”
The job is big, but Grafsrom is excited to keep the growth going and the community strong.
Angie Grafstrom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 320-496-8709.