The mayor's updates on several topics.

Event Center: This past week saw the first gala wedding at the new Sleepy Eye Event Center. And by the time this column reaches you, a second will have been held. Although construction folks have been working feverishly on the outside of the building, the inside is essentially complete.

As with all construction, of course, there were some challenges. Tables ordered six weeks earlier were promised to be there for the first event. You can guess what happened, but the supplier provided rented tables at his expense for the event. The new tables have now arrived. Some dishes also were not here as promised but rental plates were available, so the problem was quickly averted. The new plates have also now arrived.

The city staff and volunteers did an excellent job cleaning and preparing the center for the first event. City staff worked until 10 p.m. several nights before the event to get the facility ready.

Just wait until you see it. Likely, people will be impressed and proud that this is “Sleepy Eye’s Event Center.” An open house is in the planning stages to show off the facility to all Sleepy Eye residents.

There is one more important matter to share with you regarding the Event Center. The building was built without incurring any debt. IT IS PAID FOR! We have the careful use of the dollars of several city departments, and their boards and commissions, along with good leadership in the past, to thank for that.

Training: The City Council and Mayor recently attended a training session led by Susan Herriod, of Sand Creek Workplace Wellness, in the area of human relations. It was a good opportunity to work through some of the difficulties that have existed.

Surveys: City surveys have been returned in good fashion and the city’s staff will begin to tabulate them shortly. Out of slightly over 500 surveys mailed out, 187 were returned. As surveying goes, that is a pretty good return. We’re anxious to see the results to learn what you, the citizens, had to say. Results will be shared with you once the surveys are tabulated.

Blight: The City Council has been hearing a good amount about blight in the community. It is obvious there are a fair number of unsightly situations that need to be cleaned up. City ordinances may have to be beefed up to deal with these locations, but there seems to be good resolve to do just that.

Safety: Included in the 2018 highway project will be the installation of pedestrian flashers at St. Mary’s Street and Highway 4 North. It is hoped this will make that intersection safer for pedestrians crossing Highway 4 to get on the trail. Strong citizen input led to this action.

Budget: Lastly, it is budget time for the city. It is likely that a preliminary budget, reflecting a 3.5 percent increase, will be proposed at the Sept. 12 City Council meeting.