State of Cottage Grove: Positioned for growth
Mayor Myron Bailey highlighted fiscal responsibility, commercial and residential growth in his first-ever State of the City address March 15.
Bailey looked into the past and future with the strategic plan the council outlined in 2016.
"When we put a plan in place, we follow it," Bailey said.
The four parts of the strategic plan — positioning for growth, reforming organizational culture, making the city a recreation destination and engaging the community to form a vision — also served as an outline for Bailey's address.
The city is positioned for growth, Bailey said, with construction on various housing types underway, including in-demand senior living spaces.
"Our seniors work hard their entire lives, and as they enter retirement, they want to be able to stay in the community, the community they call home.... They will now have multiple housing," he said.
Bailey said the Legends of Cottage Grove facility near 80th Street and Highway 61 already has 88 people on its waiting list, and construction for more senior living units is underway at Norris Square.
For businesses looking at coming to the city, shovel-ready parcels are available in the business park to speed up the development process.
"We're cutting red tape to speed up the process for new businesses that want to relocate in Cottage Grove," Bailey said.
As far as becoming a recreational destination, Bailey announced construction on the long-awaited inclusive playground in Woodridge Park this summer that will be "the largest of its kind in the state of Minnesota."
"The playground will be an amazing place where everyone can participate and lasting memories will be made," he said.
Construction will also start this this summer on the new central fire station on 80th Street. Since the fire department structure has changed from volunteer on-call to city employees over the years, Bailey said the current station "no longer supports the service model we provide to our citizens."
The goal is also to prepare for the new firefighter paramedic model the department is moving toward, he said.
As part of community engagement and visioning, the city commissioned the MyFuture Cottage Grove project through NextGen Consulting. The full report is expected in April, but NextGen staff shared one theme they've seen, which is Cottage Grove's potential.
Bailey also used the address as an opportunity to acknowledge some recognition the city has been getting.
"Rated Minnesota's most fiscally responsible city by United States Common Sense and WalletHub — a leading financial outlet — named Cottage Grove the 46th best small city in America," he said. "And frankly I want to go for No. 1."