WAITE PARK -- Even as we are early into 2019, Waite Park officials are looking ahead at another great year.

The annual Waite Park State of the City Address was held Wednesday at the Waite Park American Legion.

Mayor Rick Miller says the things they achieved over the last year, like getting funding for the amphitheater, really put Waite Park on the map.

I think we did a very good job going down to our state legislators and telling them there is a Waite Park in Minnesota. I think in years to come we're going to see a big influx of people.

Some of the key projects highlighting 2018 include the Lake Wobegon Trail extension, one of two hotels opening on the Silver Leaf Hotel project (second hotel to open in 2019), the first outdoor fitness court and improvements to River's Edge Park.

Miller says there are a few larger developments they are hoping to fill over the next year.

We need to get somebody in the Gander Mountain building, I'd like to see that get filled up. I know there is someone looking at the Anderson Trucking property out by Highway 23 so if we can get that developed that would be nice.

Other high points presented at the State of the City Address included the achievements of the police department. Chief Dave Bentrud says they've made great strides in sex trafficking resources. With the addition of two full-time investigators he says they were able to arrest 14 traffickers (which is as much as the last four years) within the last nine months. Looking ahead Bentrud says they plan to create a reserve officer program.

Fire Chief Jim Alshire says in 2018 they responded to 195 total calls. Looking ahead he says they want to do a better job in pre-planning fire calls through the help of a computer system which will better locate addresses, hydrants and other needs. Alshire says they also continue to need volunteers to join their department.

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