The April 21st edition of Eggs & Issues featured the state of the city of Altoona address, given by Altoona Mayor Brendan Pratt and Altoona City Administrator Mike Golat. They discussed Altoona’s collaboration efforts, events, and economic development over the last year. The event closed with Pratt and Golat presenting three awards to outstanding community members and groups for their work over the last year.
Golat started by introducing the proposed mission statement for the City of Altoona, “to provide kick ass service to Altoona citizens while continuously improving their community”. He stated that this is the focus of the city employees who work tirelessly to make Altoona a better place for its residents. He then introduced the “Start with Yes” mindset of the city, in which they try their hardest to find solutions and ways to say yes to ideas for the sake of Altoona citizens.
Building the community in Altoona has been a big focus for Pratt and Golat over the last year. The Affordable Housing Taskforce has been working diligently on this mission to focus on the city’s affordable housing crisis head-on and their partnership with Altoona has been vital in this effort. Solis Circle, a major initiative taken on by Altoona and the Affordable Housing Taskforce, is the first intentional public and private living facility in Altoona and has been a major success. The city’s recent partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley has also been a big push by Pratt and Golat over the last year. They are planning on opening a club in the intermediate schools as well as using facilities around the city of Altoona. There have also been plenty of other collaboration efforts made by the city over the last year, including with the Eagle Scouts, Start up Chippewa Valley, Visit Eau Claire, Eau Claire Area EDC, School District of Altoona, and the Economic Recovery Taskforce.
The city has also taken on various projects to better the community. Altoona was recently granted $1.4 million from the state to invest in the city, for populations disproportionately affected by covid, to reinvigorate downtown, and to create quality public space. The Altoona container yard project is a proposed plan to increase the flow of downtown by creating a business development behind the post office. Additionally, the veteran’s tribute trail project received a $22,000 grant to put up 15 historical memorials. The 10th street playground and perseverance park are additional projects the city is working on.
Some events highlighted by Golat include the River Prairie festival celebration of art, Frosty Fun, the summer concert series, River Prairie ginormous pumpkin festival, and Recreation Department Holiday Events. The Pumpkin Festival is the 2nd biggest pumpkin festival in the world!
Key economic development initiatives include the Prairie View Ridge development, Larson Orthodontics, Royal Credit Union, Fairway Luxury Apartments, NW quad multi tenant buildings, and Kwik Trip. The city has approved 227 residential dwelling permits in 2021. 153 of these have been multifamily, 28 2-family, 13 manufactured homes, and 22 single family homes. Finally, the city has a priority to fix the roads in Altoona. Several street projects are planned for this year as well as a new city well installment that is greatly needed.
Golat and Pratt wrapped up the address by presenting three awards to community members and groups. The “Extra Mile Altoony” was presented to Josh Clements for his outstanding leadership and vision as Altoona’s first planning director. The “Special Sauce Altoony” was awarded to Visit Eau Claire for their “heroic leadership” during the pandemic and their commitment to Altoona’s tourism industry. Finally, the “Altoona’s got Heart” Award was presented to Blake Henrichs for “embodying the Altoona Spirit by exhibiting fierce courage in the face of adversity”.
Posted by Brianna Franke, Governmental Affairs Intern