After the completion of the 2020 U.S. census the city of Otsego’s population is now at 19,966, which is a 47.1% increase from the 2010 census, the 14th fastest growing city in the state, and now the largest city in Wright County. The 2020 population numbers do not include the home permits issued within 2021, which totaled 435, which was an 8% increase over the previous year. With the 2020 census, new changes are pending for the city regarding voter changes, including congressional district boundaries, voting precincts and polling locations. The city will be sharing this information when it becomes available to the public. County commissioner district boundaries will not be changing for the first time in 50 years, which keeps Otsego within Wright County District 3, with Mark Daleiden in the seat currently.

The city continues to focus efforts on expanding commercial and industrial developments, as they provide employment opportunities, provide service options to the community and diversify the city’s tax base. Commercial growth in the coming year will be most visible with the construction of new businesses including a Dunkin’ location and a new dentist office. Other commercial growth anticipated for the coming year includes RL Carriers, a freight shipping and logistics company, and the expansion of the Room & Board warehouse and distribution facility. A number of industrial projects are in the planning and environmental review phase, with city staff expecting projects for City Council review later in the year.

The city is currently evaluating our own facilities, and looks to develop a plan for the future. The city hopes to present information to the public in 2022 that will share proposed future plans for municipal buildings and the city campus. During this time the city is also exploring ideas for emergency management services to provide the best service possible to the Otsego community. Watch our website and social media for updates as they arise.

Comprehensive plan update

The city of Otsego will update their comprehensive plan in 2022; this is typically updated every 10 years to reflect changing conditions. The most recent update to the comprehensive plan was in 2012. A comprehensive plan is most effective as a tool to guide future growth when the community defines the opportunities and issues that will influence the growth that will occur.

The process of identifying topics to be addressed as part of the 2022 Otsego Comprehensive Plan will rely on community engagement and involvement that includes making information widely available through the city website, social media and Otsego View, creation of an interactive website map tool for public input, meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission, and other advisory committees, and several open houses at various locations in Otsego.

Water and sewer projects

In 2021 the city initiated construction for Water Tower 4, located off of 70th Street and McAllister Avenue. The tower is anticipated to be fully painted and to be completed in the fall of 2022; after the interior of the tank is completed. Check out our website for a video of the bowl being lifted up this past fall! Another project in 2022 will be the West Wastewater Treatment Facility update and expansion, this project will be designed at the limits of current technology to increase discharge quality and to match the demand of future growth.

The city of Otsego recently substantially completed the Wastewater Biosolids Facility, and now the city is able to recycle waste material and help local farmers by donating the recycled material. More information to be shared soon on how the process works, and the benefits of this new process.

Parks and Recreation

The Parks and Recreation Department received a grant in 2021 to help fund wayfinding for city parks and trails. Wayfinding, which is just a fancy name for park and trail signs, and will help residents find the different facilities within the city. In 2022 the city is focusing planning efforts on an additional river access developed in the parks system. We look forward to highlighting our amenities. We have a map of all the Parks and Trails within Otsego on our website under the Parks & Recreation section.

In 2021 the city completed a community survey that highlighted the most requested features for parks to be more trails and amenities for parks. The department plans to use this data to guide projects in the coming years. As for the rating of the quality of park and recreation facilities, 49% rated them “excellent” and 38% “good.” To guide our communication materials, the most requested information was events happening within the city.

Using the community survey and community engagement, in 2022 the city will be completing the Prairie Park Master Plan. This will look out on how Prairie Park will develop through time; keep an eye on our website and social media for updates and to get involved in this project.

In closing

Otsego is lucky to have an outstanding staff that works to keep this city moving forward and improving. City staff and City Council will be involved in reviewing and updating the strategic plan, which is used to help the city maintain a central vision to guide city goals and policy.

In 2022 we will see the completion and opening of the Prairie View Middle School, the new addition to ISD 728. This is located right next to Prairie View Elementary School. The city is thankful for all of the great working relationships with the county, the school district and our neighboring cities, and we look forward to exploring new partnership opportunities to continually better our communities.

Looking for ways to connect with the city? Be sure to check out the city website, the quarterly Otsego View newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and the city of Otsego mobile app. Everyone at the city is looking forward to another busy year! — Otsego Administration, Adam Flaherty and Sabrina Hille (Editor’s note: Flaherty is the city administrator, and Hille is the assistant city administrator also in charge of human resources.)

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