One of City Engineer Reid Wronski's first meetings, when he started working for the city of River Falls in 1999 involved planning for Town 'N Country Day.

"They were describing something to the effect of 'cow patty bingo,'" Wronski recalled. Basically, he said, bets were taken on where a cow was going to leave a "cow patty."

"And I thought, what kind of town have I moved into here?" Wronski said.

Twenty years later, Wronski is still here. That's because, he said, River Falls has been a wonderful place to live and work.

"Everything's exceeded my expectations," he said. "It's been a great place to raise a family."

That family was what lead Wronski to apply for the engineer job. He was looking for a good place to raise his family. But Wronski said he didn't originally expect to stay at the job for 20 years.

"What I thought might last three to five years has turned into a great 20-year ride," he said.

But now, Wronski said, it's time to retire.

"It's something I thought about for a considerable amount of time," he said.

"Everything's good. I know I'm lucky from that standpoint, and I'm healthy," he addded "I can go backpacking, I can go to the boundary waters, I can climb, I can bike, I can do all sorts of things, and I want to seize the moment while I'm able to have some fun."

Not that work hasn't been fun.

"I've almost always enjoyed my work," Wronski said.

One of the highlights of his career is the Cascade Avenue project, which he called a "lifetime project."

"You don't get those type of things coming along that often," he said. "It was a huge amount of teamwork."

Wronski said it's fun to walk around town and reflect on the things that he's helped change in the 20 years as city engineer.

One of his first projects was closing the old Veterans Park bridge, which was "dangerous and decrepit," he said, and working through the process of replacing the bridge.

Wronski said other notable projects he's worked on include City Hall, the Maple Street Bridge, Wasson Lane and the Radio Road interchange.

Wrosnki said he'll missing helping residents, but noted that not all interactions over the years have been positive. Those residents who call the city are usually looking for a change, he said.

"Sometimes there's easy ways to accommodate what they want," he said, "but many times it's not that easy."

Wronski said he enjoys sitting down and talking with people to help them understand all the different aspects of a city decision.

"They don't necessarily walk away happy, but they walk away informed of a broader perspective on things, and that's a benefit to us all."

The Red Wing native has a degree in civil engineering and has also worked for General Dynamics Space Systems division in California.

Wronski credits his wife, Liz, for helping him through the difficult times in his career.

The couple raised three children, Sam, DeAnna (Larson) and Nate.

After retirement, Wronski said he and his wife plan to simplify and downsize, and open a new chapter in their lives. He said they plan to move up to their lake home and travel the country, likely in a small RV.

But what he said he's most looking forward to is having more unstructured time.

"Being able to do things more freely, as far as going somewhere, or grabbing the bikes and go out on a daylong trek, or bumming around the country going skiing," he said.