Departing city planner looks back, forward

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by Dennis Dalman

For Anita Archambeau, the best aspect of her 20-year job as planner/developer for Sartell was watching other people enjoying life in the city.

Archambeau said she is pleased she helped people find their dream home within their dream city. She’s proud she helped bring businesses to the city that now employ up to hundreds of people.

She can get emotional when she sees children reading books in the city’s community center or seeing kids riding bikes along the Pinecone Road trails or adults enjoying a round of golf or relaxing at a “happy hour” at one of the city’s restaurants.

“It is just so rewarding when you see people taking in and experiencing all the opportunities that Sartell has to offer as it continues to grow,” she said.

Past challenges

The “most challenging” part of Archambeau’s job?

“Convincing people that roundabouts are fantastic,” she said.

People, she noted, usually “come around” and start to like roundabouts. Some of the most vocal critics did change their minds and would confide in Archambeau that roundabouts work “pretty well,” and one parent even sent a photo of a child who set up a “roundabout” inside the family garage, using mini-cones.

Another challenge has been hearing from people who are upset about something going on in Sartell when the reason for their upset was based on misinformation or erroneous facts. But thankfully, that is improving, she said, because of such things as land-use signs and other ways to inform the public, such as videos, announcements and explanations on the city’s website and social media.

“A lot of fun new things (as far as good communications) are on the horizon,” she said.

City’s strength

Archambeau said Sartell’s greatest strength can be summarized in one word: People.

“People who live here, work here, invest here, volunteer their time here, visit here,” she said. “No one person can take credit for any one project or great thing that has happened in Sartell.

Everything people currently enjoy in the city was made possible by teamwork from people: great neighborhoods platted and approved, amazing businesses constructed and the creation of amenities such as parks, ballfields and a community center.

“Great communities and the people within them make great things happen,” she said. “The Sartell community is an unbeatable place and is its own greatest strength for that reason.”

City’s future

As with any growing city, Archambeau said, Sartell has to do a balancing act of growth with expectations of current and future residents.

“Sartell has had to balance that for a couple of decades and is pretty good at it!” she said.

Sartell staff and residents have always supported growth when it’s accomplished in a positive way, Archambeau noted. Examples of that are long-term planning, stimulating jobs, economic developing and creating diverse – yet balanced – housing choices. Another positive factor, she added, is identifying future land uses and utility needs for “smart growth.”

Archambeau said she is confident Sartell will continue to attract new residents – businesses, families, single people who will be happy to call it their home.

“Sartell is well equipped to handle future growth,” she said. “I do not doubt that each time I visit Sartell, the number on the population sign will continue to rise and new businesses will continue to be built.”

contributed photo
Anita Archambeau






Author: Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.

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