Feb 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm
WAITE PARK, Minn. (KNSI) - Business is growing, crime is dropping, and Rick Miller says he's looking forward to continued progress for his city in 2013.
The mayor of Waite Park headed off the annual public "State of the City" presentation today during the Waite Park Chamber of Commerce meeting, speaking briefly before presentations given by city administrator Shaunna Johnson, Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud, Finance Director Keith Lindberg and Public Works Director Bill Schluenz.
Johnson shared a few new developments over 2012, including adding to the the city's Capital Investment Fund, development plans for annexed Waite Park city zones 1 and 2 - including Bel Clare Acres - and the hiring of a new police officer.
Johnson also highlighted the city's new mission statement, aiming to organize city priorities in the midst of big projects. She says they hope to work on bringing more services to the annxed zones and complete a citywide property owner survey.
Chief Bentrud also expressed confidence in the city's recent path, sharing statistics showing a drop in "part one crimes," or more serious offenses, throughout the previous three years.
Bentrud says his 15 officer force is continuing to work on preventing theft and property crimes, a growing rate he attributes to the high volume of commercial property in the city. Bentrud says they'll continue to grow the partnerships Waite Park has with neighboring police departments.
Lindberg ran down a lengthy list of business developments in 2012, including renovations of landmark business Sammy's Pizza, addition of Fiesta Taco, Mexican Village Too Express and Parkwood Cinema's Zaffiro's Pizza.
Public Work's Schluenz pointed to a 20 year old city hall, and shared plans to evaluate the building for renovations.
As for mayor Miller, he's confident and focused on a few big goals for Waite Park in 2013.
One is to continue regaining the city's Capital Investment Fund, which has been absent in the past few years. "It's like a savings account," Miller explains. "Without those funds, the city can't invest in things like fire trucks and snow plows."
Miller also hopes to see new companies continuing their Waite Park migration. He hopes the amount of business growth planning to come to the city, including big names Biolife Plasma Services and Rejuv Medical, is another sign of a renewed economy.
"We had a stagnant business situation in the last few years, but it seems like it's really opening up," Miller says. "As many people know, Waite Park has always been a solid business community. It's good to see that growth coming back."