The mayor looks back and forward!

Happy New Year! 2020 looks to be a most interesting year for the City of Sleepy Eye. Looking ahead at some big happenings this year, two significant events stand out. They are the street and infrastructure renovations throughout the community, and the opening of the 12th Avenue NE railroad crossing planned for this summer. The engineer’s estimate on the street upgrades is a whopping $8 million. This project has been planned for the last couple years and will be financed through bonding. Interestingly, this major project is a part of a seven year cycle in place in the City’s financing plan. As a previous street project is paid off, this new project will be added to our financial responsibility. It is a good thing that those that came before us set up these plans to balance the City‘s financial planning.

The other related major project is the 12th Avenue crossing. The engineering estimate on this project is $3.5 million, with about half of that coming from a grant the City recently received. The 12th Avenue crossing will cross the railroad tracks just north of the Event Center and the street will continue north to the City Cemetery. It will then widen the road running east and west along the cemetery where it will join St. Mary’s Street.

Two important financial matters relate to this project. The first is the bond rating we will receive on the money needed to do these projects. A half percent over these projects’ lives will make a huge difference. Especially now, our City Manager and staff have been working diligently to put our financial house in the best position it can be to improve our bond rating. This work could save the City huge amounts of money. The second financial consideration is how the bids will come in on these projects in the coming weeks. Although we don’t really have much control over how the bidding will come out, we can and are hopeful. We believe we are soliciting bids at the most advantageous time made possible by good planning.

Three years ago, just after being elected mayor, I had the privilege of addressing the Chamber of Commerce at their annual meeting. At that time I challenged those present to continue to help make Sleepy Eye a DESTINATION. I don’t think it was my challenge, but there certainly have been some things happen that have helped make Sleepy Eye just that — a true DESTINATION!

•Opening of the Pix — Wow! What a great addition!

•Event Center Opening — a facility we can be proud of!

•Holiday Lights if Motion Spectacular - it gets better every year!

•Sleepy Eye Lake’s removal from the list of impaired waters.

•Christmas in Sleepy Eye — decorated trees and other events.

All these things bring people to Sleepy Eye and we’re so fortunate to have them and the people who are willing to step forward and make these things happen. Let us continue to work to make Sleepy Eye a true destination.

May your New Year be filled with blessings and peace.