COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. — New homes, road projects and public safety programs were some of the things Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey touched upon in his annual State of the City address.

Bailey spoke Feb. 5, prior to the City Council meeting.

“Even though I’ve been a lifelong resident of Cottage Grove, I’ve grown to love our city and all it has to offer more so with each passing year,” he said.

Quick response

The city’s first responders posted some of the fastest response times in the state, Bailey said.

Last year, fire personnel and EMS had an average response time of under seven minutes and six-and-a-half minutes per call, respectively.

Cottage Grove police also were kept busy.

“They responded to over 18,000 calls for service last year and did so with compassion, professionalism and a strong desire to serve our citizens,” Bailey said.

The police department is working on integrating the city’s records management system with Washington County which will include crime mapping and reporting. Officers will begin wearing body cameras this year.

They also will be launching a proactive case management program to help identify and prevent potential incidents of violence, Bailey said.

The fire department has extended its vertical reach with a new 105-foot aerial truck.

“This crucial piece of equipment will greatly increase our ability to fight fires and save people who may trapped one upper floor of any building that’s in Cottage Grove,” Bailey said.

Public works and water

Last year, city crews plowed 77 inches of snow and applied 3,400 tons of salt covering 42,000 miles of road. They will add a 13th plow route to clear the streets more quickly, Bailey said.

Street teams put down more than 3,700 tons of asphalt, while weather permitting, they hope to repair all potholes by June 1, Bailey said. This year, they will also reconstruct 80th Street between Keats and Jamaica Avenue and West Point Douglas Road between Belden and Jamaica avenues.

Plans also call for the installation of a lightning detection system at Kingston Park.

The city will use 3M settlement money to extend water mains to River Acres and the Granada-area neighborhood, to provide safe city water to residents whose wells were contaminated with PFCs from 3M.

The city will also build a temporary water treatment plant for wells 7 and 8.

“In the coming months, we’ll have a long-term water supply and treatment plan that will serve the entire east metro” Bailey said. “It won’t cost our city a dime. We are 100 percent committed to not having another water ban in the future.”

Housing and economic development

“We’re experienced unprecedented yet measured growth,” Bailey said, citing 248 new home starts last year.

“One of our goals is diversifying the city’s housing stock, ensuring we’re an inclusive community, with a full spectrum of housing for everyone,” Bailey said. “New housing opportunities will continue to be developed in Cottage Grove from various price points that include single-family town homes, twin homes row homes and apartments.”

The city has expanded its senior housing options, Bailey said. They also partnered with DART to add a weekly bus loop for seniors and other residents.

One of the state’s largest Pizza Ranch locations will open next to the Muddy Cow off Hardwood Avenue, Harkness Avenue and Oakwood Park Drive this spring. The 8,056-square-foot restaurant will feature a fun zone and five party rooms.

At least 300 new jobs will be added, thanks to expansions by Renewal by Andresen, Air Gas and Up North Plastics, Bailey said.

“2020 is going to be an exciting year, with additional retail and restaurant options opening in our city,” Bailey said.

Recreation

The city increased park facility rentals by 29% last year, Bailey said. Revenues at the city-owned River Oaks Golf Course increased 13%.

The city has drawn “rave reviews” for its $2.7 million renovation of the Cottage Grove Ice Arena, which included a new refrigeration system, mural, scoreboard, boards and benches.

On the to-do list this year: expand parks trails and open space, including “significant improvements” to Hamlet and Oakwood parks and improvements to the River Oaks Events Center.

“As I enter my 12th year as mayor, I’m more excited now than ever,” Bailey said. “I firmly believe we have the right team in place at the right time. We have a strategic plan and a vision to make Cottage Grove even a better place to live, work and play in 2020.”