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Hicks delivers State of the City address

Mayor Paul Hicks delivered a State of the City Address Feb. 1 at the Onion Grille in Hastings. Michelle Wirth / RiverTown Multimedia

Mayor Paul Hicks delivered a State of the City address Feb. 1 at the Onion Grille. There were about 65 people in attendance of the luncheon. The theme of the speech depicted something that Hicks said many residents may already know.

"There's never been a better time to live in Hastings," he said.

In the most recent community survey, Hicks said there were more than 90 percent of residents who rated the quality of life in Hastings to be excellent or good. Several million-dollar investments have been or will be made in the city including the YMCA expansion, the new Allina clinic, Artspace and the future of the Great River Landing project.

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Hastings was not immune to adversity in 2017. There were some difficult issues for the city including decisions with the budget, a sex offender ordinance, Target announcing its closure and personnel issues. However, Hicks said, it is with collaboration and teamwork that the city will succeed.

Despite all those difficult issues, Hicks said there has still never been a better time to live in Hastings.

"The state of our great city continues to be strong," he said.

The city has played a role in growing the local economy. There have been small business start ups, business expansions and more partnerships that will help the city be more proactive in economic strategies.

Seven new businesses opened on Vermillion Street in the last year and there have been updates to the Midtown Shopping Center.

In addition, downtown Hastings has seen improved changes. Investment in Second Street is apparent with the expansion of Eye Candy, the opening of Fireside Social House, renovations in the Meyer Building and a new brewery. Artspace opened in 2017 and there will be work on the other side of Second Street with the investment of the Great River Landing project.

The city is looking at how it can continue to improve with work on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the Vermillion Street Corridor study. It has also joined together with key officials and community members with an initiative to begin a dialogue around diversity, equity and inclusion.

The mayor concluded with the help of the audience. Everyone in the room helped Hicks complete his speech with the theme of the address: "There's never been a better time to live in Hastings."

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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