Cambridge Mayor Marlys Palmer is optimistic about the future of Cambridge and described several reasons why during the annual state of the city address.
During the state of the city address held March 13 at MinnCo Community Center, hosted by the Cambridge Area Chamber of Commerce, Palmer highlighted the successes of the city the past year.
Palmer noted the city has a solid mix of commercial, industrial and residential tax base, and has maintained its AA-bond rating that allows for reduced borrowing costs.
She said in the past year residential activity increased slightly as 15 single family home permits were issued in 2012 compared to three in 2011.
An overview of the city showed the median value home as $135,000, with a median family income of $50,772. Cambridge’s employment represents 60.2 percent of employment opportunities in Isanti County as 6,123 people are employed in Cambridge by 318 entities.
Palmer highlighted many economic success that included:
• Mills Fleet Farm purchased the Lowe’s building in October 2012. The goal is to be open by 2013.
• Aldi’s preliminary and final plats have been approved and the city hopes to close on the parcel by May 15 with a groundbreaking to happen soon thereafter.
• Autozone completed their building in 2012 and are open for business.
• Cambridge Metal and Plastics built a 34,000 square foot expansion and hired additional employees.
• Park Manufacturing built a 36,000 square foot expansion.
• Arrow Tank is working on a 9,600 square foot expansion.
• Anytime Fitness moved into the former Anderson Drug Store building on Main Street.
“Cambridge is prepared to step together toward the future, and we are happy to see so many chamber members together,” Palmer said. “The city of Cambridge does belong to its citizens. It’s your past and it’s your future, and we promise to make it a great place for your children for generations to come.”
Palmer noted the city will host another Citizens Academy this year. The academy is an eight-week course that covers all the city’s operations.
Palmer noted positive outcomes from the first academy, which involved 25 participants, included three new election judges, one new council member, one new planning commission member and one new police reserve officer.
Upcoming projects for the city in 2013 include relocating the Senior Activity Center on Third Street into City Center Mall.
Palmer explained the city needs to raise $175,000 in renovation funds and is applying for state of Minnesota Community Service-Service Delivery grant. She explained the current senior activity building is in need of many expensive, needed improvements, so an option is to have the program relocate into City Center Mall.
Palmer said the city is also looking on updating its city park. Plan possibilities include an amphitheater for summer concerts, disc golf area, additional parking, additional picnic shelter, a pedestrian bridge over the river to connect to Spirit River Nature trails and a fishing pier. She noted Legacy Grant funding is being considered to help fund some of the projects.
“Cambridge has wonderful mix of commercial, industrial and residential tax base,” Palmer said. “We are working hard on becoming a regional destination center. Every day city staff is working on making Cambridge the best city it can be.”
Palmer said the city does the best it can while trying to be fiscally responsible, and noted prior to 2012, which resulted in a small increase, the city hadn’t raised its levy the past couple of years.
“The council works hard at trying to make improvements the city needs,” Palmer said. “We spend a lot of money on public safety and public works because that is an area our citizens should expect good service from the city.”