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Who will advance in River Falls mayoral primary?

Three candidates for mayor will compete in the primary election Tuesday, Feb. 18. Shown (from left) are Don Richards, Dan Toland and Mike Wharton.

A trio of candidates for mayor will compete in the primary election Tuesday, Feb. 18. A primary will eliminate one so the top two vote getters can move on to the April 1 general election.

The three are Dan Toland, current mayor; Don “DR” Richards, former mayor; and Mike Wharton, who’s run for local public office before.

City residents will cast their primary ballot for one of the three candidates. Feb. 18 voting is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Those 18 and older can vote if they are a U.S. citizen and have lived in the city for at least 28 straight days.

Those who register to vote on election day should provide proof of city residency.

The complete primary election story with candidate profiles can be found in the Feb. 13 print issue of the River Falls Journal.

Here are excerpts from the three candidates:

  • Dan Toland: Why am I running again: Continuance and big picture.

Continuance, as far as continuing to keep the city moving along in the right direction. With the new overpass opening up at the Radio Road/35 intersection we have to make sure we are developing the land around there to create a beautiful entry way into the downtown area, instead of creating a bottleneck where people stop there and never continue into the downtown area.

There are a lot of opportunities with the new business park, which will bring new people and businesses to town. Looking at South Main and how are we going to develop that area out there especially now that the college is starting work on its $75–80 million dollar project. We want that area to stay vibrant and welcoming to new people who come to town.

  • Don “DR” Richards: I want to be mayor for two reasons.

First, because lots of people have told me that I did a good job when I was mayor. My tenure as mayor was a pleasant and productive period.

We built a new City Hall, won the River Falls in Bloom contest, and put up a sign at some entrances to town which says something I believe in: Welcome: We’re building an inclusive community.

Second, I want to be mayor because I believe in public service. Part of a mayor’s job is to be a public servant.

Some results/examples of my efforts: The River Falls Chamber of Commerce named me volunteer of the year in 2006; UWRF gave me its outstanding

service award in 2009; and I’m now volunteering with SCVH4H; Assistance and Resource Center; River Falls Community Education; Renaissance Academy Site Council; River Falls Baseball Council; Meals on Wheels and more

  • Mike Wharton: The main reasons I am running for Mayor are: It’s time to put the City Council back in charge of City Hall; it’s time to invest into Main Street’s BID, and, the long-term of the development decisions on the next council’s agenda.

Hundreds of acres, near our new bridge within our Urban Area Boundary, are available for development discussion.

Years ago, a big box store examined this area and left because we were bridgeless.

What should happen at this site next to significant public investment and who should pay for it?

I would lead public meeting’s specific to issues like this.

Decisions are needed on 325 acres we own outside the municipal limits west of town. A big chunk is set-aside for Industrial TID, without being annexed.

Because of the millions in transportation and utilities needed to make industrial work on those acres, and the seven active TID we already have, I suspect we are over extended in TID.