As mayor of the City of Redwood Falls, Tom Quackenbush had a variety of new experiences during 2019.

One can pretty safely say he was photographed more often during the previous 12 months than at any other time in his life, and it is also likely that he had more phone calls from concerned citizens than ever before.

That all comes with the job, and, from his perspective, as he reflects on his first year as mayor for the community, the year was a productive one.

“It has been an enjoyable experience so far,” said Quackenbush.

In many ways, Quackenbush said serving in the role did meet up with what he expected. Yet, he added there have definitely been things that happened for which he was not prepared.

One of the most challenging moments for Quackenbush was during the time frame when a young man from the area named Thunder had gone missing.

“That was so heartbreaking,” Quackenbush said.

Yet, he added, it also became a learning experience for him. 

Quackenbush said most importantly he learned how well this community comes together in challenging times, and he commended local emergency personnel and volunteers for their efforts.

As mayor, Quackenbush admitted he never would have imagined how much the weather impacts what is being done in the community.

Being in the city leadership role, Quackenbush said he was able to take part in some fun events, such as the state pedal pull and the dunk tank fundraiser for the Just For Kix dancers who traveled to Florida to perform at the Outback Bowl.

He also appreciated being in attendance for major events – such as the groundbreaking for the new Carris Health - Redwood medical facility as well as the dedication of the Estebo Career Training and Development Center. Quackenbush expressed his excitement to see the impact they have on the community.

For Quackenbush, addressing the jobs issue in the community was a top priority, as was developing the resources needed, such as housing, to help recruit and retain employees in town.

Quackenbush said he continues to focus on the future of the current hospital building that will be vacated, adding he and other city leaders have had conversations with prospective users of that facility.

“I am hopeful that finding a way to repurpose that building comes to fruition,” he said.

In his first year, Quackenbush said he continues to be amazed at the number of people in the community who step up and take active roles in the city.

Looking forward to 2020, Quackenbush said he wants to continue the work that has been done, adding he is especially looking forward to seeing the next steps toward the reclamation of Lake Redwood. Just knowing that is happening is very exciting, he said.