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Mayor is happy with progress in 2013

Mayor looks forward to continued success in the new year

Michelle Leonard

Staff writer

Going into 2013, Farmington mayor Todd Larson said his top goal for the year was to increase economic development in the city of Farmington.

While there hasn’t as much commercial and industrial growth as he would have liked to see, Larson knows the progress made in 2013 is going to set the community up for future economic development opportunities.

Over the last year, the Farmington city council and economic development authority have done a lot of behind-the-scenes work to set up new incentive programs and complete a marketing study to promote Farmington. Now all that’s left is to start spreading the word about the many great things happening here, he said.

“It’s been great, but not great enough. That’s why I’m excited for the marketing plan,” he said. “It’s going to help us get out there in front of business owners and brokers and basically tell them that Farmington is open and welcome for business.

“It’s the first phase of a long-term plan, but you have to start somewhere.”

Farmington ended its year with 121 single family home permits, which is nearly double the 68 brought in during 2012. Larson likes to see those numbers, because they represent the most significant increase in housing permits in nearly a decade. Moreover, he said, it means more families are moving into Farmington.

During 2013, the city of Farmington was approached by a company interested in building a hotel in the community. A feasibility study has been completed, and Larson is encouraged by the results.

“We have a very favorable feasibility study for bringing a hotel to Farmington. It was very positive,” Larson said.

The possible hotel would include approximately 40 rooms, and would be built on a lot in the Vermillion River Crossings development on Denmark Avenue and County Road 50. Larson hopes to see ground broken on that project sometime in the new year.

There have been other successes in 2013, as well, he said. In January, the Farmington Fire Department received its new fire/rescue rig, Engine 22. It’s the first of many to come, as the city council has set up a capital improvement plan to replace the aging vehicles in the local department.

At the same time, the city council also set up a CIP to set aside funding for street projects now and into the future. The first project will begin in the Akin Park Estates area later in 2014, but the CIP will help pay for road projects for decades to come.

“That was something that was always put on the back burner during the recession,” Larson said. “With this CIP, some of those long-overdue street projects will be started in the next year.”

Larson is especially pleased with the turn-around he’s seen coming out of the city’s two municipal liquor stores. A year ago, the stores were struggling, but new management and better lease agreements have resulted in a significant increase in sales. He hopes to see those numbers continue to rise in 2014.

But most importantly, Larson wanted to stress his appreciation for the city of Farmington’s staff. There have been numerous budget restraints that have affected their jobs over the past year, he said, and he knows it has not been easy.

“We have a great staff. A wonderful staff, that works really, really hard,” he said. “I appreciate them all immensely.”

Looking ahead to 2014, Larson expects to see more good things coming out of city hall.

“We’re making some good progress, some good decisions, and I want to keep doing that,” he said.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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