City of Crystal Falls
State of the City Address
As your Mayor I am required to present an annual state of the city message and the following is a compilation of my thoughts.
On October 1, 2005 the public was invited to attend an open house and to tour the Crystal Falls Hydroelectric power plant upon completion of a $950,000 automation project. This improvement resulted in the efficiency of producing electric energy for area residents and was funded by the sale of revenue bonds that will be paid off over the next 20 years. Electric rate increases will be smaller than what would have been necessary without the reduction in operating costs realized by this automation.
The City and Township of Crystal Falls are nearing the signing of a 40 year
agreement to provide quality water to the residents of both municipalities. Many
hours of discussions between the two units of government have resulted in
bringing us to an acceptable plan for all. The cooperative agreement will result
in quality water not requiring any treatment as well as new water mains,
hydrants, and meters replacing an antiquated system that no longer meets our
Plans are in place for a new "Streetscape" design for Superior Avenue, funded by MDOT in the amount of $1,000,000.00. This exciting project will replace the sidewalks, street lighting, street (with a total rebuild of the roadway), water mains, and sewer separation and, further, will be completed with the installation of pocket parks in various locations along the avenue. Construction will begin in May 2007 with completion by mid-summer.
In regards to recreation, the Crystal View Golf Course will undergo an irrigation project that will provide watered fairways, tees, and greens, making it even more beautiful than it already is. The Runkle Lake Park Complex will continue to be upgraded as grants and funding becomes available. Eurasian Milfoil eradication continues at the lake and the City is hopeful of the outcome. The Crystella Ski Hill remains a wonderful place for our young people to recreate during the long cold winter months. Of course, the snowmobile trail that runs through our City remains a source of winter visitors that may otherwise have not been realized. Not to be forgotten, The Paint River Walkway is a site of great pride as it enhances the picturesque river running through the city.
The Crystal Falls Planning Commission has been meeting monthly for some time and is currently working on the revision of the Crystal Falls Zoning Ordinance. The zoning ordinance was last revised in 1959 and is long overdue for an update.
The DDA also meets monthly and has been instrumental in the "Streetscape" planning and the reuse of the Crystal Manor. With the creation of the TIF District this group hopes to revitalize the downtown area of Crystal Falls.
The Iron County EDC has adopted the Crystal Manor as a project and is working diligently with the City to find a suitable developer for the historic building in keeping with the Downtown Market Study.
The Crystal Theater, Harbour House Museum, and the Contemporary Center continue to serve as attractions for tourist and locals alike. All three have continued to grow and enhance the downtown with much of their success attributed to the operating boards and management.
The Crystal Falls Fire Authority continues to be a successful cooperative effort between the City and Township with financial support shared equally and providing an excellent department for all to be proud of. A recent FEMA grant provided a new pumper truck, and in addition, state grants along with fire department fund raising have also provided for the purchase of accessories.
The City owned cable TV system continues to provide 32 channels at an economical price to the city and select areas of the surrounding township.
The City Council has struggled in the past with the rising cost of providing health care to its employees and retirees and is finally seeing a leveling off of premiums following the implementation of the Health Savings Accounts and a policy with high deductibles while still giving the employees full coverage.
In conclusion, the City continues to provide excellent services to it citizens even with a reduced workforce following the recent "early out" retirements and I commend them all for their efforts. The services are being provided in spite of a reduction in state revenue sharing dollars and the rising cost of doing business.
It has been an honor to serve as your Mayor for the past 2 years and 4 months. I was not elected to this position, but was elected to serve as a councilor for a 4 year term from 1998 to 2002, re-elected as councilor in 2002. In 2004 when the previous mayor resigned, the City Charter mandated that as Deputy Mayor I assume the role of Mayor for the remainder of the un-expired term.
In the past, and again at the present time, the City of Crystal Falls is facing many challenges, and I am extremely proud of the hard work , planning and dedication that all of us have put forth hoping to make Crystal Falls an inviting and prosperous business community again. The year 2007 will certainly be an exciting year with the Superior Avenue new water mains, sewer separation work, and Streetscape project all being worked on at the same time. We also look forward to the quality drinking water project becoming a reality. Hopefully we will have a developer proceeding with renovation of the Crystal Manor building providing housing and commercial service in downtown Crystal Falls. All of these improvements contributing to the revitalization of our Superior Avenue business district in the "City of Community Pride".
Respectfully submitted, the 14th day of August, 2006.
Janet A. Hendrickson, Mayor
City of Crystal Falls.