I want to thank you, our community, for your patience and understanding during this year of COVID-19. We are a tight knit community that enjoys spending time together. We all know that it has been very difficult this past year. I encourage all of you to hold on to hope for our future and continue to rally for our small businesses. Shop local and order curbside.
Our future is bright, and we have much to be thankful for:
- Our City received $1.24 Million in CARES funding of which $500,000 was set aside for small business grants. Fifty-four businesses in need received these grants.
- In 2020, a financial management model was developed for a 10-year design. It included a wish list for unfunded future dream projects like a community center.
- For the first time ever, Buffalo has a full-time Fire Chief John Harnois.
- Havenwood, a 90-unit senior-living complex downtown, opened in October.
- Alo Apartments, a 60-unit complex also downtown, opened last month, fully occupied upon opening, and has a waiting list.
- City staff is always active with new businesses considering Buffalo: Rice Companies applied for 45,000 square-foot retail facility on a 13-acre site that will be home to a new Coborn’s Grocery.
- New single family home permits exceeded 80 in 2020–the best year since 2006.
- Both Buffalo & Downtown Wine and Spirits have experienced record sales in their history.
- Likewise, Wild Marsh had its best season since acquisition 16 years ago.
- We recently completed the Downtown Visions Study update complete with stakeholders’ input.
- A full utilities rate study was completed for water, water reclamation, and electric. Our fiber rates study is underway with Council to establish fiber roll-out.
Our ongoing goals have been to promote the City of Buffalo both internally and externally. This winter, in February 2021, we will celebrate our 3rd annual Kites on Ice. It is an amazing opportunity for families to enjoy our beautiful Buffalo Lake in its winter glory and we have The Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce to thank for this annual event.
At times, one can take for granted the wonder and awe we experience here in Buffalo. You may have seen the video that was created and shared on our City website as well as Facebook. If you have not seen it, please check it out on YouTube. There has been much discussion and planning put into the downtown redevelopment project. This will create a buzz of service and business opportunities in other available spaces.
I want the community to know that City staff has been working with HRA on the downtown Buffalo Movie Theater. The financial study concluded that it is not in the best interest of the City to purchase the building at this time. Our hope was to bring it to life in a variety of creative venues intertwined with our performance arts groups in Buffalo. The building has gone on the market and we hope that with time a buyer will come along to bring the venue back to life in a capacity that will bring value to the downtown.
- We are excited for the new fire station to be complete. With the higher-density buildings in the downtown area, we need our hundred-foot aerial ladder truck located downtown.
- The Wright County Government Services center will relocate to its new complex on the north side of the City. Their new complex joins both the Law Enforcement Center and Justice Center. City staff have been invited to be part of the conversation as to what this change could bring to the downtown area. My hope is that citizens embrace these opportunities to listen, learn, and consider new possibilities.
- We will begin updating the comprehensive plan for the City. The last update was done in 2007. The update entails many conversations with the public, businesses, City staff and Council and can take up to two years from start to finish.
- We welcome our new council member, Nick O’Rourke, who will be sworn in at our January meeting; and we want to thank Linda Kittock for her last four years of dedication to the City and its residents.
Your Mayor, Teri Lachermeier,