What will Redwood Falls look like in 2035?

If the past two decades are any indication, then one can be sure plenty of changes are in store.

How does a city prepare itself for what is to come understanding that no one knows for sure what could happen?

The answer is in a document the city recently developed known as the 2035 Redwood Falls comprehensive plan. Over the past nine months the city worked with ISG and Tangible Consulting, which were hired to put together the plan with input from city leaders as well as the community’s business owners residents.

As a result a 194-page document was presented to the city council at its July 18 meeting. 

According to Jim Doering, city public works project coordinator, the comprehensive plan was first presented to the planning commission in June, and that group unanimously approved its recommendation to the city council.

Amanda Prosser and Chris Larson, who served as project managers, presented the comprehensive plan to the council and offered a brief summary of its contents. The document states that at its core, the comprehensive plan is a “blueprint to guide public and private investment in the physical development of the city, defining and upholding its brand and character.”

While intended to be comprehensive in nature, the plan does create a vision that helps to direct present and future leaders in specific areas. The vision statement of the plan is “to build upon the strong heritage and natural beauty of Redwood Falls while offering progressive opportunities that embrace and engage a diverse community that allows the city to thrive for years to come.”

The plan is broken down into several areas, with each area having its own set of principles and goals. The areas include land use, infrastructure, transportation, economic development, housing, community facilities and the downtown district, environmental resources and parks and recreation.

According to Larson, one of the future areas of focus within the plan in terms of land use would be to look for areas of expansion, and it is suggested in the plan that moving to the east is a good option. He added the vision to make CSAH 1 a major artery would help to create additional opportunities for growth in the community.

In the comprehensive plans it is suggested that making the downtown area part of the community identity once again is an important step for the future. Communities with a strong downtown continue to thrive, he said.

Over the past two decades, the City of Redwood Falls has been able to do what other surrounding communities have not – see population increase. While that increase has been minimal, it shows the city is still in growth mode, said Prosser.

Maintaining the parks and trails system that exists and seeing that enhanced is another aspect of the plan that is offered as a way to ensure the vitality of the community. In the end, Prosser said in talking with the retirement folks and young families in the community it seems, on a broad level, they both want some of the same things, and one of those areas of shared interest is living in the community that has things for them to do outdoors. Finding ways to improve housing needs and maintaining the current path when it comes to infrastructure improvements are also priority areas outlined in the plan.

Recognizing any planned growth and even maintenance requires funding the comprehensive plans also offers some sources of dollars to help the city as it moves toward 2035. Hard copies of the comprehensive plan are available at city hall, and one may also access a digital copy of the plan on the City of Redwood Falls Web site.

While the plan is approved, the council recognizes this is a fluid document, and what has been outlined in 2017 will likely change several times during the next 18 years.

In other action during its meeting the council:

• Approved a downtown commercial loan for Brad and Jennifer Franklin to help cover the costs of a $31,965 renovation of their commercial building at 110 South Washington Street. The agreement offers one third of the project as a loan, one third as a forgivable loan and one third as a commitment from the owners of the location.

• Approved the final payment to Brey Tiling, LLC in the amount of $32,470 for the obstruction removal work done on runways at the city airport.