Waite Park Building on Momentum of 2021 As They Navigate 2022
WAITE PARK -- With the successful opening of The Ledge Amphitheater last year, Waite Park officials are looking to continue that momentum heading into this year.
The annual State of the City Address was held at The Ledge Wednesday afternoon.
Mayor Rick Miller says now that the facility is open, they are looking to complete phase two of the project with the hopes of securing some state funding.
The bonding money is really important to us just to be able to finish a really great project for our region.
This phase includes more concessions and restroom facilities and to make some additional site amenities that will make the facility more usable year-round.
Miller says the money would also help in securing land next to the facility for additional parking and possibly a future public safety building.
When city hall was built, with the police and fire station housed in it, we had maybe six officers, we now have 22 police officers. We've really maxed that department out and they have done great working in it, but we really need the space right now.
As for the police department, Chief Dave Bentrud says in addition to adding two more officers, they also restarted their K9 program and are looking to create a community engagement division and community outpost.
Miller says other projects they are looking to regain some steam on from last year, includes bringing a half-cent sales tax before the voters.
That will be on the ballot in November. The three projects that the tax would help fund are the public safety building, the Wobegon Trail connection to the Glacial Lakes State Trail system, and the third would be for the development of 10th Avenue South.
Miller says because 80% of sales tax collected in Waite Park comes from residents outside of the community, a new half-cent sales tax would allow them to collect revenue from those visitors and not put the entire burden on the property owners.
As far as development within the city, Community Development Director Jon Noerenberg says there is a growing interest in industrial developments with two being planned on the west side of the city. He adds they are also working on finding new tenants for the two vacant Super America gas stations and the Davanni's building.
The Ledge will hold it's first concert of the season on May 28th featuring Aaron Lewis.