'A banner year': Detroit Lakes’ mayor reflects on the successes of 2018, looks toward future
"Detroit Lakes had a banner year in 2018," said Mayor Matt Brenk during his 'State of the City' address at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.
Brenk added that the city enjoyed "tremendous development, expansion and growth in our private sector," along with several significant civic improvement projects and housing developments that either broke ground or were completed during the past 12 months.
The city issued more than $53 million in building permits during the past year, almost $20 million of which was for construction of new single-family homes and multi-family units.
"On the civic side, Phase I of the new $18 million runway and taxiway expansion project at the Detroit Lakes Becker County Airport was completed in 2018, and Phase II of the project was also begun this past fall," Brenk said. "Construction also began this past year on our new state-of-the art wastewater treatment facility, the largest single municipal project ever funded in the City of Detroit Lakes. Approaching $30 million, this new plant will discharge treated wastewater to some of the highest quality standards in Minnesota and will serve our citizens for many generations."
Brenk also mentioned the new, 30,000 square foot Boys & Girls Club facility that is currently under construction on Richwood Road, noting that the $6.2 million project is a unique partnership between public, private and non-profit entities that is slated for completion in mid-August.
"Financially, we can all be proud that Detroit Lakes continues to remain fiscally sound, and has done so in spite of drastic reductions in our Local Government Aid over the past 18 years," Brenk said. "In 2018 our LGA funding was $700,000, compared to the $1.6 million that the city received back in 2001. LGA reductions represent millions of dollars in lost revenue that the city has had to find ways to make up locally."
Despite these funding reductions, Detroit Lakes has continued to experience "good, steady growth," Brenk added, noting that "Good leadership and planning are the hallmarks of this city, providing us all with a good quality of life and a bright future."
Looking ahead, Brenk said that several projects started this past year will continue in 2019, such as the aforementioned airport expansion, wastewater treatment plant and Boys & Girls Club as well as such private sector projects as the Midtown development and redevelopment of the old Norby's Department Store space. The reconstruction of West Avenue, as well as large portions of Randolph Road and Willow Street, are also slated for 2019, while West Lake Drive from Legion Road to County Road 6 is scheduled for 2020.
Speaking of 2020, that is the year when construction of new facilities for the city's public works and police departments is slated to begin, though the latter will require legislative approval of the local option sales tax that is expected to fund it, after city voters gave the green light to the proposed tax in November.
Mayor Brenk concluded his remarks by stating, "2018 was another exciting and productive year in Detroit lakes, and I want to thank our citizens, businesses and industries for making Detroit Lakes a great city to live, work and visit... I look forward to a great 2019."
Brenk also noted that his remarks would soon be available for review, in full, on the city's website at www.cityofdetroitlakes.com.