As we close out another year and look ahead with optimism to 2022, I’m struck by how much we’ve accomplished in the past 12 months. We started the year with a focus on infrastructure and planning and both proved to be worthy headliners. I’m happy to share this small sampling of accomplishments with you.

The city completed street repairs and improvements to more than 6.5 miles of local roads. Working with MnDOT, we started the planning process for improvements to Highway 97 between I-35 and Highway 61. We also worked with the county and began the planning for improvements to Everton Ave (CSAH 33). Both of these projects are still a few years out from construction, but planning for them is well underway.

We also completed much needed maintenance and rehab projects to all of the city’s water treatment plants. Additionally, the city received 1.75 million worth of state bonding money (thank you Representative Dettmer and Senator Housley!) that we used to perform much needed maintenance improvements to the city’s wastewater infrastructure.

It was also a busy year for construction in the City of Forest Lake. In 2021, the city added more than 32 million dollars of new residential and multifamily housing units. Welcome to our newest residents! A number of local businesses also expanded their operations here in the city. To these business owners, thank you for making additional investments in Forest Lake, and we celebrate your continued success!

The EDA has also been hard at work in 2021 working on a new master plan for the city’s downtown. We were blown away by the amount of community input we received for the plan during the initial public comment period. Our planners have developed an initial draft concept plan and I look forward to sharing this with you in January. Feedback will be collected both online and through an in-person feedback session to be held at the Forest Lake City Center. Be sure and keep an eye on the city’s homepage (cityofforestlake.com) for information on both the online and in person session for this exciting next step of the downtown plan.

The goal for the downtown plan is to have it finalized and approved by the Forest Lake City Council in the first quarter of 2022. Once the plan is approved, we will begin work on the executing of the goals and projects contained within the plan. Look for lots of exciting changes to happen to downtown Forest Lake as a result of this planning process.

As we wind down 2021, I wish you and your family the best of the holiday season and a terrific New Year!

Mara Bain is the mayor of Forest Lake. She can be reached at Mara.Bain@ci.forest-lake.mn.us.

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