by Dennis Dalman
Sartell city staff, council members and department heads are hard at work, trying to make the city’s goals for 2014 become a reality.
Five major goals have been assigned to appropriate members, and updates on each goal will be presented to the city council throughout the year.
These are the five major goals for this year:
1. A local-option sales-tax extension is expected to be approved by the Minnesota Legislature for the six cities in the greater St. Cloud area, including Sartell, as long as those cities’ voters decide to approve extension of the tax. About 10 years ago, Sartell and other cities approved the one-half-cent regional sales tax, which has been used for numerous projects throughout the area. In Sartell, revenue from that tax has been used for many projects, including helping build the Bernick’s Arena and the purchase of land and infrastructure at Pinecone Central Park. Half-cent sales-tax revenue has also been set aside for upcoming city projects, such as a community center and developments at Sauk River Regional Park. The Sartell City Council has long been in favor of having the sales tax extended.
2. A “downtown Town Square” project is still on the drawing boards for the city. Several years ago, Sartell residents and the city council agreed Sartell needs a central “downtown” area. After many surveys and research, a research committee, the council and many residents agreed a “town center” should be developed just east of Pinecone Road S. near where the Pine Cone Marketplace mall is located. City staff, the city attorney and council member Steve Hennes have been assigned to work out plans for potential developments in “Town Square.”
3. Pinecone Regional Park will be developed with more truly park-like amenities. One of the plans is to rename the park so people, including visitors from out-of-town, will not confuse it with Pinecone Central Park. Trees and more park amenities are expected to be added to the park, which surrounds Sartell City Hall. The Sartell Park Commission will discuss updates to the “Master Park Plan” in the coming months. The commission will then make its recommendations for development to the council.
4. The city council is determined to move forward with plans for a Sartell Senior Center and a Sartell branch library, which residents time and again noted on surveys as top priorities on their “wish lists.” City staff and council members plan to meet with officials from the St. Cloud-based Great River Regional Library System. Sartell City Administrator Mary Degiovanni will also meet in January with a planning group that has been researching for months the best place on which to site a senior center, possibly within a community-services building.
5. Sartell officials still hope to close on an agreement about two properties for a Sauk River Regional Park in south Sartell. Improvement plans and cost estimates will be brought before the council in early 2014. Meantime, Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) has been working to help obtain state funding for the regional-park property. Bonding funds approved years ago for the proposed regional park will have to be re-approved by the Minnesota Legislature.