2015: What happened in Wadena?
The Nativity scene was undoubtedly Wadena's top story of 2015. After a Wadena City Council decision to move the Nativity scene from Burlington Northern Park and give it to the Wadena Ministerial Association to display on private property some peo...
The Nativity scene was undoubtedly Wadena's top story of 2015.
After a Wadena City Council decision to move the Nativity scene from Burlington Northern Park and give it to the Wadena Ministerial Association to display on private property some people were upset. Others decided to be positive and start a movement to display Nativity scenes throughout town.
The initiative brought the attention of outsiders from across the state, nation and world.
What else happened in 2015?
A southeast Wadena infrastructure project replaced aging water and sewer lines, along with repaving and pouring new sidewalks in that area. The project made a mess of that area of town but was wrapped up before winter. The project totals $12,660,091 with assessments for Phase 1 totaling $1,079,759. Phase two begins in the spring.
The Maslowski Wellness and Research Center has been open for one year. The facility continues to change up its offerings based on what members are looking for.
Wadena officer Peter J. Resch was remembered with a memorial placed at Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School this spring. The gymnasium was filled with laughter and a few tears as friends retold stories about Resch, who died while on duty May 19, 2005. Resch became the city's first DARE officer when he received his certification in 1991.
This summer was the five-year anniversary of the F-1 tornado that blew through Wadena. The city has come a long way since the tornado and much has been rebuilt.
A strong storm blew through the area later this summer and the England Prairie Pioneer Club grounds was severely damaged. Other areas near Verndale in particular were damaged by the storm.
Also this summer, volunteers stepped up to revitalize the horseshoe pits in southwest Wadena. A league began meeting Monday nights throughout the summer.
Several businesses have expanded or started up in Wadena. Azure Vision Care, Reuter Family Dentist, Sweet Pickins, Everything Under the Sun, BeBloomin and Juiced! are just a sampling of the activity in Wadena.
New construction and remodeling projects have also been keeping the planning and zoning and economic development office in Wadena busy.
A new initiative started a year ago and has become a monthly tradition. Begun in December 2014 with a dinner hosted by St. Ann's Catholic Church, community dinners have consistently been hosted by different churches on the last Tuesday of every month since. Hundreds of people have been served each month.
The long-discussed Highway 10 project could finally happen, MnDOT representatives said. The project has money allocated for construction in 2018. Several public meetings were held in 2015.
A courtroom remodeling project has been underway at the Wadena County Courthouse for much of 2015.
The county is also looking to address space needs for other departments in 2016.
Chad Bormann, Project Manager with BHH Partners, met with Wadena County departments to determine space needs this fall. He then put together preliminary plans for remodeling the existing courthouse and the former Wensman building, which is now being used for maintenance and storage.
A plan was recently presented to the county board and they are awaiting financial figures to determine a next step.
The Wadena County Transfer Station recycling expansion project is on schedule with the majority of the construction to be completed by Jan. 15.
In addition to projects at the city and county level, the Wadena area celebrated with many of its annual festivals and community feeds.
Weather was good for many of this year's events, with many people commenting in particular on the nice weather for the June Jubilee parade. It had been a few years since sunny skies fell on the grand parade.
So far, the winter has been a mild one and some are hoping for a mild January and February. Many are looking forward to some additional snow, though.
Much more happened in 2015 but there is only so much room in this edition. Here's to hoping 2016 will be just as exciting.