N3 asked the Mayors of our local cities to provide us with a bit of a review of the past year as well as a little preview for what might be coming down the pike for 2020.
We start with the town that serves as our gateway city, is home to one of the few wooden water towers in the state and has been traditionally known as the onion capital of the world….Grant
The City of Grant has seen several changes in this past year:
In May of 2019 voters approved the Expanded Community Policing Millage by 73%, the additional revenue helped the Police Department hire a full-time officer to expand coverage hours and help lower turn-over. New hire Sgt. Steve Paulsen is a great fit for Grant and a familiar face which brings knowledge of our community and stability. Sgt. Paulsen will also be undergoing Medical First Responder training in the new year.
Additionally, Chief Bradley Wade has made several great hires and implemented a solid reserve program, the reserve unit now has nine (9) members working alongside certified officers on a volunteer basis. Chief Wade is also working on increasing lighting and surveillance coverage of the City Office parking lot which will provide for a secure area to complete sales started on social media sites as well as child custody exchanges.
For several months beginning in January 2019, the City Commission contemplated allowing for one medical marijuana provisioning retail center after hearing from an impressive group interested in operating such a venture. After much discussion the Commission decided 7-0 to adopt an ordinance and rules for such facilities. The Commission agreed that it is best not to prohibit an alternative form of medicine desired by some in the community. The provisioning center will be located at 262 S Maple St, which is the location of the former Swinehart Furniture Store. This location will be divided into three (3) units, and will also house a new Heating and Cooling Contractor and a therapist that specializes in youth who have experienced traumatic situations.
Furthermore, a local developer is constructing a new residential duplex in town, this will be the first new housing in town since 2015.
The past year was the first full-year for new City Manager, Kasey Jernberg. This year Jernberg helped the City receive $15,000 in grant funding for a new public works vehicle. He also led an initiative to replace 25% of the high-pressure sodium streetlights with less costly LED lights, and worked with our auditors to eliminate a deficit in the sewer fund. Additionally, he worked with our sewer contractor to complete improvements to the waste-water treatment plant polishing pond which will help keep the effluent in compliance with our discharge permit. Jernberg was also appointed to a three-year term on the County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority board.
After the November 2019 election, the City Commission welcomed new Commissioner Mark Dietz to the group. Dietz was a write-in candidate for one of three City Commission positions. Commissioner Kate Block was re-elected as well as Mayor Julie Hallman. Currently the Commission has one vacant seat.
In 2019, the City Commission also allocated funds to pave the parking lot around the Farmer’s Market / Water Tower Park. Engineering work is underway with construction planned this summer. The City envisions this site to be a vibrant market providing local growers with a popular venue to sell their goods and a destination for area residents and travelers to spend time and money in Grant; that will help support the local economy.
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