The Little Falls City Council voted on two agenda items, Monday, bringing changes to the city.
The first item involves a partnership with Lead for America, an organization that creates fellowship programs for young workers to make a difference in a community. City Administrator Jon Radermacher said the partnership would include a two-year commitment from a recent college graduate who will focus on city improvement.
“The fellow will be working on supporting our local community by identifying resources and making connections to help businesses and organizations receive support from the city and our economic development partners,” Radermacher wrote in the proposal.
The fellowship, granted to Emily Reno, who graduated with a master’s degree in urban development, will cost about $42,000 annually.
However, Radermacher said that Sourcewell has committed to a grant of $15,360 per year, AmeriCorps will provide another $15,000 and the Initiative Foundation has $5,000 yet to be approved for the first year, leaving the city with a bill around $6,700 to come from the Economic Development Authority budget.
Part of Reno’s job will be to implement goals targeted in local engagement meetings like local foods, local places and OurTown56345, Radermacher said. She will also focus on supporting business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and providing resources on funding options.
The second item came in response to the end of the legislative session, where it was decided that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local option sales tax projects will be on hold. In that, Radermacher said the city can work on a project with the Little Falls Farmers Market, Sprout and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau to bring an outdoor market to the area.
The idea is to build a pavilion space near the city’s downtown which will not only host markets but also other community gatherings and entertainment events.
The city plans to apply for Sourcewell’s innovation funding which could finance a large portion of the project. Potential locations include a space near the Great River Regional Library or at Le Bourget Park, both spaces are near the city’s downtown.
“Additionally there is a USDA grant program for small and rural communities that also would be a strong candidate for this,” Radermacher said. “This would pair really well if we were successful with the innovation grant to use that as matching dollars.”
Preliminary numbers estimate the city may be able to obtain $500,000 in funding, so the project would be finished within that budget.
“If we weren’t successful in securing either or both of those grants for the project we would probably want to hold off,” Radermacher said.
In other business Monday, the Little Falls City Council:
• Proclaimed May 15 to 24 as a time of appreciation for the Little Falls Community High School Class of 2020;
• Approved a partnership with the University of Minnesota to create way finding signage in the city’s historic downtown and other notable areas;
• Appointed Amanda Hanson as a lead clubhouse attendant at $12.37 an hour and Andrew Poster as a groundskeeper at $11.25 an hour at the Golf Club;
• Hired Landon Johnson and Brett Czajkowski as clubhouse attendants at the golf course;
• Hired Jeffrey Udy, Nick Abbott, Ryan Stuckmayer and Nathan Boser as groundskeepers at the golf course paid $11 per hour;
• Added a part time position in the Police Department and hired Zachariah Gowan to fill the position;
• Appointed Derrick Nagorski as the new police sergeant, replacing Craig Seelen who filled the fire chief position;
• Hired Jillian Robinson, Mitchell Morse and Sam Catlin as new patrol officers;
• Approved an ADA transition plan including updates over five years and a new document after that time; and
• Denied a request from a property owner who is adding a structure to their property and requested that some construction vehicles cross city land to access the building location. The resident offered to cover any damages left from the vehicles.
The next meeting of the Little Falls City Council is Monday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
A work session and public forum will precede the meeting which will be livestreamed via YouTube.