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Hicks joins Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative

Mayor Paul Hicks, left, is pictured with Colin Wellenkamp, executive director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative.

Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks recently joined the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. He met with the executive director of MRCTI, Colin Wellenkamp, and discussed Hastings' priorities related to the Mississippi River.

MRCTI is a coalition of mayors from Minnesota to Louisiana who focus on improving the ecology and economy of the river to drive local development and opportunities.

"The coalition of mayors within MRCTI is dedicated to protecting, enhancing and promoting resources that are unique to a river city," Hicks said. "I am glad to be a part of it."

Hicks said that Hastings residents understand the special connection to the Mississippi River. Hastings has a historical, economical and spiritual connection to the river, he said.

The MRCTI facilitates direct investment in member cities by empowering members with tools and support to undertake local initiatives that can attract green jobs, move toward sustainable economies and achieve local environmental protection goals.

MRCTI works to help protect and restore the Mississippi River as a natural system that can support human culture and economies, as well as the river's unique ecosystem and wildlife.

In 2017, the MRCTI organization secured millions of dollars through the Congressional Omnibus Funding Bill for grants and revolving loan funds that will secure the water supply, protect the economy and jobs, improve export competitiveness, and sustain agricultural economy. The organization also recently partnered with CDP, a sustainable project database developer, to link investors and purchases who represent more than $2 trillion in potential investments, with MRCTI member city projects.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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