HASTINGS, Minn. — Mayor Mary Fasbender delivered the annual State of the City address Feb. 5 and touted another year of positive developments in the community.
While many things were discussed, here's a few highlights from a video shown to community members at the Hastings Golf Club.
The Confluence and housing
Plans of redeveloping the vacant Hudson Manufacturing building are finally coming to fruition, with preliminary construction on an adjacent park beginning later this month.
In 2019, construction was completed on a parking ramp directly across the street from the manufacturing building to help aid in parking concerns in downtown.
"It will be located between the Hudson building and the Mississippi River," said Community Development Director John Hinzman. "The park included new trail connections and a brand new overlook, which will be open to the public."
According to Hinzman, in 2020 the building will become apartments, a hotel, convention center and a restaurant. Most of which will be completed by the end of the year.
Hastings also saw additions to its housing portfolio in 2019, with the addition of new apartment buildings and apartment construction currently taking place.
"About 90 units in the Voyageur Estates and Glendale Heights, and about 60 units coming online in the Vermilion Shores phase 2 apartment building," Hinzman said.
In addition to new apartments, a project is moving forward behind Schoolhouse Square to build senior apartments, as well as a new annexation on the west side of town.
A new city administrator
Last year saw the naming of Dan Wietecha as the new Hastings city administrator. Wietecha had previously served in similar capacities in Michigan, Wisconsin and in other parts of Minnesota.
"In my first few months here I've been getting to know my staff, the workings of the organization, our city council and meeting with many of the businesses and organizations around town," Wietecha said.
His goal's for 2020 are to start working with the council and city staff on setting priorities.
"We have some very exciting housing and business developments coming, and we'll be doing some partnering on the Vermilion Street corridor improvements," Wietecha said.
Administrative Services Director Julie Flaten previously served as interim city administrator before Wietecha was appointed.
The Hastings Fire Department continued its fire safety outreach efforts last year and reached over 1,800 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
"Our open house again had a large response from the community and gave us the opportunity to continue educating them on safety and fire prevention," said Interim Fire Chief John Townsend.
The EMS ambulance received a facelift last year too, with a new remount being placed on the vehicle giving it an all-red appearance.
"This is the ambulance we'll be moving into the future with," Townsend said.
City officials are also close to naming a new permanent fire chief, with an announcement likely coming in March.
The Hastings Police Department implemented new crisis intervention training also in 2019. All patrol officers and investigative staff were required to receive the training.
"One of our own became a crisis intervention coach, and we implemented less lethal options and coordinated response with our county partners when dealing with those in crisis," said Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer. "... Last year officers completed over 22 hours of professional development training ensuring we are using best practices in today's policing."
The department added six new defibrillators thanks to matching grants from the Mdewakanton Sioux community and Walmart for a total of $8,000. A mobile command center was also acquired from the city of Minneapolis through proceeds from criminal forfeitures.