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While signs of the spring season come slowly, a new building on North Main Street has sprung up fast on the site between 703 and 707 N. Main Street. Owner Chad Halvorson said last year he'd planned to construction a 3,600-square-foot addition onto the retail building at 707, which houses a jewelry store and nail salon. However, Halvorson said he wouldn't start construction until he'd signed a contract with at least one tenant.
The City Council approved some spending Tuesday night but drew the line at paying an estimated $7,000-$10,000 to move the Veterans Park sculpture from its current location to City Hall near the flag poles. Council Member Tom Caflisch said as an active member of the Legion, he's aware that most local veterans don't understand the connection between the park and the colorful sculpture. He said had City Hall been built at the time the Richard Taylor sculpture was placed in 2007, it would have been placed there. Caflisch said nobody finds fault with the artwork, just its location.
Kevin Westhuis started March 4 as the new director of the River Falls Municipal Utility and said last week he's excited about the job and about moving back to his native state from Colorado. The 47-year-old father of two moved here early this month with wife Colleen to take the job overseeing operations at RFMU. He brings 15 years of industry expertise, having worked with the Fort Collins, Colo. municipal utility and with Wisconsin Power and Light, which is now Alliant Energy. The couple has been married 24 years and lived in Colorado for most of that time.
Hairy legs and all, eight male contestants step into the spotlight next week to compete for the Mr. RFHS title and, while doing so, help honor students raise money and awareness. Senior girls Danni Filkins, Amanda Grove and Taylor Kittleson said last year's contest -- the first-ever Mr. RFHS competition -- proved so successful, they knew their group must organize the '2nd annual' event. They call last year successful because everyone reported having fun, and the event raised about $2,100.
The bed-racing team from Dick's Hometown Liquor store emerged victorious in the bed races in downtown River Falls March 17 celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Despite a 25-degree day with a biting wind, lots of people came out to see the racing, hunt for the Pot o' Gold medallion and taste some 20 recipes of potato soup in the cook-off event. Tall green hats, shiny beads, huge green sunglasses, kilts, special tattoos and other festive garb decorated the crowd, who filled the median and sidewalks of Main Street between Elm and Maple streets.
After eight years at its current location, 15 years in River Falls and a total of 20 in business, Brickhouse Music, 216 S. Main St., expanded its store, adding about 1,200 square feet of space by converting cold-storage space to usable, indoor space. Jen Burleigh-Bentz, co-owner and operator of the store with husband Tom, showed how the expansion adds a group-lesson room, two 'soundproof' rooms, better lighting, a bigger parent-waiting area with a digital sign board, a spray booth, and a first-ever amenity -- an employee break area.
Nearly 20 years after a study found the facilities substandard, UW-River Falls gained the traction it needs to starts design on a new Falcon Center -- known until recently as the Health and Human Performance (HHP) project. Planning efforts for a new facility began in 1999. A university website established for the project and Campus Planner Dale Braun confirm that the project concepts are approved. For about the next year, engineers and architects will work to produce inches-thick construction plan sheets and specifications the size of a few phone books.
The City Council announced at the end of its Feb. 26 meeting and the closed session that followed: River Falls will agree to guarantee a bank loan not to exceed $300,000 for the River Falls Baseball Council. A group of baseball players, coaches and fans began more than two years ago to rally support for building a baseball field. It partnered with the city to lease land in the eastern portion of Hoffman Park and since then has raised money to build the park.
After having the task on its wish list for years, the City Council Feb. 26 approved a policy to display public art inside City Hall as well as a $2,500 expense for five "secure exhibit-hanging systems." The council passed the item without discussion, but a memorandum from the city's Communications Coordinator Dawn Wills and Management Analyst Caitlin Stene explains the policy evolution and terms.
People usually know when a company starts, moves or expands in River Falls, but they typically do not see or hear from the local group of volunteers who work to bring those businesses here, the RF Economic Development Corporation. The year 2013 marks a few milestones for the RFEDC. It celebrates a 25-year anniversary, having been established in 1988 to replace the city's industrial advisory board.