By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MNHoward Lake city staff and council have been working on improving the city and its resources.
Some of the projects are en route to completion, and some have only been discussed by city staff and council.
There is a list of goals, projects, and priorities the staff and council plan to work on in the upcoming year.
The city staff and council plan to focus on learning, studying, and discussing various issues and relevant topics, to best plan and budget for the future of the community.
“For example, the city has partnered with the school to identify the best use for the middle school site,” City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller stated.
The city will conduct a housing study, in order to attract residential development and learn about housing opportunities, he added.
The city staff and council plan to continue working with community groups to further improve areas of the city, parks, and lakes.
“We’re fortunate that we have active citizen groups and initiatives such as the Howard Lake Watershed Alliance, the Orphans, Howard Lake Thrive, and Howard Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, among numerous others that seek to make Howard Lake a better place to live, work, and play,” Haggenmiller said.
The city staff hopes to work more with the chamber of commerce and the rest of the business community on a retail trade analysis and a possible storefront enhancement program.
In 2014, the city staff and council will strive to:
• engage and inform citizens through PACT 10, Facebook, and other media.
• develop the community with a downtown plan, storefront enhancements, and a retail trade analysis.
• retain and expand businesses by working on an industrial park/economic development plan, including a transit study for large employers.
• continue with residential development plans such as Terning Trails and The Lodge of Howard Lake, along with encouraging a day-care center.
• manage plans for facilities such as the community room/library, middle school, upper level of the former city hall, and the public works garage.
• manage finances through a capital improvement plan, maintaining levy and tax rate, and determining how to reduce existing debt.
• continue to improve the quality of life by promoting efforts of Howard Lake Thrive, supporting the efforts of Howard Lake Watershed Alliance, and updating the park and trail plan.
• continue public safety efforts with the police, fire department, public works, administration, and council through training exercises, and increased interagency cooperation.