CENTERVILLE — “Overall, the city is in a great place due to a lot of hard work from a lot of people,” Centerville Mayor Jeff Paar said during the 2019 State of the City report presented at the April 10 City Council meeting.
The report is an annual update given to citizens on how their city is doing. A report was not given last year as a lot was going on, Paar said.
Before many future reports are presented, Centerville citizens should have a few more neighbors, as residential development is starting to expand.
Eighteen detached townhomes of Bayview Villas will soon be developed on the former Waterworks property, and everything is moving forward, Paar said. The city has received building permit applications from the developers, and construction will begin once the frost is gone. Each townhome is expected to cost around $750,000. Much effort went into making sure the shoreline stays protected and intact, he said.
Roughly 24 townhomes will be constructed as part of Peltier Estates, located at the north end of the Brian Drive cul-de-sac. The city will have to wait a bit longer for the first shovelful of earth to move, not because of frost, but because of necessary paperwork.
The Old Mill Road development on the east side of Old Mill Road is expected to offer 32 single-family homes.
Commercial development in Centerville is now starting to see a revitalization following the recession.
Ruffridge Johnson Equipment Co. Inc. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 12 for its new property on Commerce Drive and 20th Ave. N.
The city and Midwest Best Water formed a purchase agreement at the end of March for the adjoining property on Commerce Drive. Midwest Best Water provides wholesale equipment for grocery store owners to provide consumers the capability to fill their own jugs with drinking water.
Earlier in April, the Planning and Zoning Commission studied market-rate apartments for downtown's Block 7 on an empty lot adjacent to Kelly's Korner. Two proposals and concept plans for that site have been presented to the city.
To assist with economic development, as an active member of the Quad Area Chamber of Commerce the city holds events and open houses to promote existing Centerville businesses and attract newcomers.
The city has formed a rebranding committee to make the most of its new era of economic vitality. The committee is composed of Paar, City Administrator/Engineer Mark Statz, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Nick Twohy and Economic Development Authority Member Jim Weatherhead to freshen up the city's logo and come up with new ideas and taglines. “The present logo is hard to read and see in marketing materials,” Paar said.
Down the road, the city will try to replace entrance signs with monument signs to be more inviting to people coming into town to let them know they are in Centerville. City Hall will be renovated.
The last time the council meeting room was refurbished was in 1992, and the walls were last painted in 2003. Paar said he hoped the updates would bring City Hall to at least the year 2000. Last year, the city formally became a community that supports its veterans. The city will post Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and Purple Heart signs at its entrances to honor its veterans who have served or who have been wounded or killed in action.
The city will continue down the path of improving its pavement. Because street maintenance is extremely expensive, the city has applied for Community Development Block Grants to help pay for for water main installation downtown and ongoing street reconstruction. “The roads are the last puzzle pieces needing to be redone,” Statz said, “The streets are in rough shape.”
Fete des Lacs will be celebrated from July 16-21. Organizers will try to enhance that festival a bit by adding food trucks. Registration for the parade is available at fetedeslacs.org.
On the public safety front: both police and fire departments have completed their annual budget reports for 2018 and both organizations finished under budget. In addition, the annual audits passed muster, the body-worn cameras are regarded as a huge success, and the Insurance Service Office rating for the Centennial Lakes Fire District has been promoted one step from Class 4 to Class 3 (Class 1 is the best). Public safety personnel have been recognized frequently for lifesaving actions; however, the fire department needs more volunteers.
On the topic of communications and transparency, council meetings are streamed live on cable TV through the North Metro Telecommunications Commission and on the city's website (www.centervillemn.com) and are rebroadcast at both locations. Everyone in town with a smartphone can find their city on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, the city is financially sound, with an AA bond rating and a clean audit. The current budget saw a levy reduction of 1.7% and a stabilized financial future. City staff made adjustments in the budget to ensure no jarring ups and downs would be likely in upcoming annual budgets as the city continues to pay down its debt.
“In a nutshell, with all that's going on, we think the city's in a good place,” Paar said.