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Farmington council starts laying out goals

Sometimes, you just have to get it all out on the table, and that's what the Farmington City Council has been doing this month.

Over the course of two workshops, council members have brought a number of items they see as concerns or areas for improvement as part of a goal-setting process for Farmington's future. The first session was held Feb. 11, the second Feb. 25.

Farmington city administrator David McKnight is taking all of the items identified and compiling them into similar categories. He will present the results to council, and together, the group plans to set up both short-term and long-term goals for the city of Farmington.

One of the goals identified during the first workshop is setting up a plan to meet the city's needs for buying equipment like police cars, fire trucks and garbage trucks. City engineer Kevin Schorzman came up with a proposal, which council members looked at this week.

But there are other needs facing the city of Farmington. Council member Christy Jo Fogarty pointed to the Farmington outdoor pool, which is in need of repair. Past discussions have suggested turning the pool into a splash pad, or doing a complete renovation. Upgrades of any sort cost money, and the city has not been in the financial position to address those needs, but council members and McKnight agreed with Fogarty that the pool needs to become a priority.

"We don't have that many years left on that pool before it closes itself," McKnight said.

Bringing new business to Farmington is a priority for the entire council, and both mayor Todd Larson and council member Doug Bonar cited specific areas they would like addressed as part of the city's attempts to attract new business.

Larson would like to get started on expanding Farmington's industrial park. The land now allotted to the industrial park is built out, so Larson would like to start discussing land acquisition with owners of the surrounding properties.

"Right now we can't (expand) because we have nowhere to go," Larson said.

Another of Larson's goals is to develop the Vermillion River Crossings commercial area south of Co. Rd. 50 and west of Denmark Avenue. He would like to see the council get behind a proposed Business Incentive Plan and Business Attraction Plan being considered by the Farmington Economic Development Authority.

Bonar also suggested looking at staffing at city hall, and making sure the city has the staff to accomplish the tasks council would like to see happen in the future. In particular, Bonar mentioned looking at the staff assigned to economic development. The city of Farmington eliminated its community development director position several years ago, and last year the economic development specialist's position was cut.

"We have to determine what we want to do, and do we have the resources to get us there," Bonar said.

Though council members listed several goals, McKnight noted that very few of them addressed any of the city's financial matters -- though each of the priorities mentioned comes with a price tag. McKnight will work with city staff to flesh out some of those issues and bring a recommendation back to the council at a future workshop, he said. McKnight plans to work through the lists of ideas and goals he's collected from council members, as well, and bring back recommendations for council consideration.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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