Weather Forecast


Wadena council members tour city facilities

Wadena City Council Members Gillette Kempf, left, and Brian Hillesland, center, receive a tour of the Wastewater Treatment Plant from Manager Dan Kovar, right. Photo by Zach Kayser, Pioneer Journal

New Wadena City Council Members Gillette Kempf and Brian Hillesland got a firsthand look Jan. 18 at the city they now help govern.

On a day-long tour organized by City Administrator Brad Swenson, Kempf and Hillesland accompanied other members of the city council as they examined each of the city-run facilities in Wadena. Swenson said it was the first such tour during his time as city administrator.

"I thought it just might be a good educational tour to get started off," Swenson said. "A lot of times we talk about different buildings and facilities ... it's always good to have a visual of what you're talking about."

Swenson also said tour spots visited by the council included the police department, the fire hall and the library, as well as the water treatment plant, the wastewater treatment plant, the municipal liquor store and the city airport.

Hillesland said he gained a new appreciation for the behind-the-scenes work essential to running a city.

"We turn on the water, and the water's going to be there ... we turn on the light switch and the lights come on," Hillesland said. "All of those things we all take for granted, but (we're) not really thinking about that there's all those people working all the time to keep those things working for us."

Kempf said she was impressed by the water and wastewater treatment facilities and their environmentally friendly operations, which she said were "state of the art."

"Clean water is my passion among many, and (it's) just amazing. We're at the leading edge for that."

Swenson hopes for a repeat of the tour with future city council members.

"I think it's something that I would do again when we get new people down the road," Swenson said.