Ask the Mayor!

Please Email your questions to Mayor Dan Toland and he will answer them.

Aug 08

What different development projects are happening around the City?

Posted on August 8, 2016 at 10:07 AM by Keri Schreiner

That is a great question. As usual we have lots of development going on. I think the first place to start would be in the new Sterling Ponds Corporate Park.

You might know that our first park resident, TurnKey Corrections/Three Square Market, broke ground in May. The companies use advanced technologies to manufacture kiosk and software solutions for correctional institutions and micro market locations -- convenience store in the workplace. These companies should bring plenty of employment opportunities to River Falls.

On July 26, the City Council approved developers’ agreements for WinField Solutions’ development projects in Sterling Ponds Corporate Park and the Mann Valley area. WinField Solutions is a research and development subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc. Construction will begin this summer and be completed by the end of next year.

Another tenant in Sterling Ponds Corporate Park will be the St. Croix Valley Business Incubator (SCVBI), which is a collaborative partnership between the City of River Falls, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Chippewa Valley Technical College, and the regional economic development community. Once established, the SCVBI will serve as a one-stop location for the coordinated delivery of business development services in the region.

Chapman Drive from Casey Street to Huppert Street is also being reconstructed this summer. The Council awarded the bid to Total Excavating. The project includes widening the road and creating a paved trail next to the road. This project will be completed by the fall of 2016.

There is also significant development going on outside the park. Allina Heath has approved plans to construct a 13,500 square foot medical clinic northwest of the River Falls Area Hospital. Construction will begin this summer and the clinic is expected to be open to patients by the early summer 2017.

These are just a few of the many different development projects going on in your city now. City staff is always working with groups, organizations, companies, and developers on different projects to see if they will be a good fit for our community.

Mayor Dan Toland

Feb 01

What grants has the City received recently?

Posted on February 1, 2016 at 8:44 AM by Keri Schreiner

As a City, we are constantly on the lookout for grant money from state and federal agencies that will assist with projects that we are working on. While there are not many grants that will pay for the entire project, most grants are either matching or a percentage of the cost of the project.

The City has received two grants recently.  The first grant was awarded to the local partnership of the City of River Falls, the River Falls Economic Development Corporation, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and the Chippewa Valley Technical College. The partners were awarded a $1.42 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration Investments for Public Works and Economic Development Facilities. This matching grant will help fund the creation and construction of the St. Croix Valley Business Incubator in the Sterling Ponds Corporate Park. The St. Croix Valley Business Incubator will have approximately 13,000 square feet dedicated to general manufacturing and approximately 18,000 square feet occupied by offices and common areas. The incubator is set to open in the fall of 2016. Please see the Press Release for more information! 

The second grant the City has received is for the Heritage Park to West Division Street Trail. This grant is a matching grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources totaling $239,000. The purpose of this project is to complete an important link in the City's trail system. The trail is located adjacent to our downtown and will be an integral part of the City's continuing efforts to promote River Falls as a regional destination for tourism and economic activity. The goal of the project is to continue our long term planning efforts to complete a trail system that will ultimately connect our system to adjacent communities and other regional destinations.

The pathway extension will link to the existing Kinnickinnic Pathway and connects to the Veterans Park Pedestrian Bridge over the Kinnickinnic River. The pathway then follows the Kinnickinnic River under the Maple Street Bridge and past City Hall. The pathway ends by connecting to a sidewalk on West Division Street. The trail will be usable for walking, biking and access to the river for fishing, nature study and birding as well as a prime site for community festivals and events.

We are very lucky here at the City to have some great grant writers, especially City Planner/Urban Forester Tony Steiner. Without them we would never be able to complete so many projects and to keep this City as beautiful and vibrant as it is. So get out and enjoy your City and what the grants have been able to help us provide!

Mayor Dan Toland

Sep 02

What is the City's process for hiring a new Chief of Police?

Posted on September 2, 2015 at 9:46 AM by Keri Schreiner

After being with the City of River Falls for 37 years and serving as Chief of Police for 24 years, Chief of Police Roger Leque is retiring on October 9th. The City and the Police and Fire Commission are currently in the process of hiring a new Chief of Police. 

The first step of the hiring process for a new Chief of Police was for the City’s Human Resources Director, Karen Bergstrom, to present the executive recruitment firms that would be helping with the search for the new Chief of Police to the Police and Fire Commission. The Police and Fire Commission have the final hiring authority for the new Chief of Police. The Commission narrowed down the executive recruitment firm selections and interviewed two separate firms. GovHR USA is the consulting firm that was selected to help the City and Commission through the hiring process. 

After the executive recruitment firm was selected, the next step was for the Police and Fire Commission to create a stakeholder group including both internal City staff members and external members from the community. Internal staff members include the City Administrator, the Mayor, and Police Sergeants while some of the external members include representatives from the St. Croix and Pierce County Sherriff’s department, the University of Wisconsin – River Falls, the River Falls School District, the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and more. GovHR USA interviewed the stakeholder group once it was established. During these interviews, the consultants asked questions such as what the community is looking for in a new Chief of Police and what skills, abilities, and experience the new Chief needs. 

An announcement for the Chief of Police position was released to local newspapers and was placed on online employment sites. After the application deadline expired, GovHR USA narrowed the field down to 12 applicants based on the needs and wants of our community. The Chief of Police search committee is currently discussing the 12 applicants and are narrowing down the field even more for in person interviews. The in person interviews, which will take place in late September, will include questioning from panels. The pre-selected panels will include both internal staff members and external community members. 

The City of River Falls will have a new Chief of Police sometime in October and I am confident that the Police and Fire Commission will decide on a truly great and competent person to serve as the next River Falls Chief of Police.

Mayor Dan Toland