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Dan Toland column: Charting the course for the future

Mayor Dan Toland

We always want to hear your thoughts at City Hall. There are two opportunities, one underway and one coming up, that I wanted to tell you about and also encourage your participation. Both will provide us with feedback that will help us — as a community — chart our course for the future.

The first is the biennial citizen survey, which the City has conducted since 2013 through a partnership with the National Research Center (NRC). The survey results help the River Falls City Council make decisions about which programs and services best meet residents' needs.

Approximately 1,500 River Falls households were chosen at random to participate in the survey. If your household was selected, please complete the survey and return it in the envelope provided as soon as possible. I want you to know that every single survey is important and will be counted — and is completely anonymous.

Later this month, all residents will be able to take the survey online to supplement the official survey. Keep an eye on the city's website,, and Facebook page,, for the link to the survey.

The survey also takes the "temperature" on how the city is doing in a number of different categories as well as collects your thoughts and feelings about living here. Finally, the NRC compares our data to other cities our size across the country. This lets us know how we're doing on a national level. If the last two surveys were any indication, we stack up pretty nicely!

If you were selected to participate, I want to encourage you to take some time today to make our community a better place. If you've already returned your survey, I thank you!

A second opportunity to participate in planning for the city's future is coming up. I invite you to attend a Glen Park Renovation Project Open House 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, June 14 in the Glen Park event shelter. We will be joined by City staff and ISG, our design consultants, who will present the project's preliminary designs, answer questions and collect your feedback and ideas.

You might recall that two years ago the Council approved the Glen and Hoffman Parks Master Plan. Earlier this year, we approved proceeding with a Glen Park Renovation Project, based on the recommendations made in the master plan. The open house is an opportunity for folks who care about the future of the park to see the designs, provide input and share comments.

There will be a second open house opportunity on Aug. 16. The Council will approve the final plan in Spring 2018, and construction is set to begin next summer. To find out more about the open house and the project, please visit the park planning webpage

Thank you for engaging in activities that are so important for the future of your City.

Enjoy your summer!