Mayor: Waite Park To Embrace Changing Community
WAITE PARK -- Embrace the changing community. That was the message given at Wednesday's Waite Park State of the City Address.
This effort comes as a result of a recent land use study, which shows Waite Park's population to be diverse and senior oriented.
Mayor Rick Miller says they recognize the city's need to adapt and be forward-thinking.
"We do have a very diverse community, we don't need to fight that. We need to embrace those people, they want to belong to our community and we want to be proactive with that," says Miller.
2016 was also a big year for development with ten new businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, Kwik Trip and Dick's Sporting Goods, coming to town. This is seven more than in 2015.
The city is also working on continuing several projects which began in 2016, including construction of the new Public Works facility, the two-hotel and convention center and the hopeful construction of the proposed amphitheater.
"The hotels will be a real change. We will see it go from a trailer park to a four-story building so that's exciting. The Public Works building we should be in there by the end of the year and the amphitheater area should start booming as well," says Miller.
Police Chief Dave Bentrud says they received over 10,000 calls for service in 2016, which is an all time high. However, crime related calls were down seven percent. He says the department is also working on organizing a community outreach program for the youth in the area.
Fire Chief Jim Aleshire says the department responded to 176 calls in 2016, which is nine more than last year. He says a majority of the calls were a result of apartment fires. They are also in need for more volunteer fire fighters, after four retired last year.
Miller says they remain committed to the Waite Park community and look forward to what 2017 will bring.