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Mayor says 2008 was good for Rosemount

Rosemount mayor Bill Droste

Mayor Bill Droste started his State of the City address Tuesday with talk of a difficult economy but most of his 20-minute speech focused on the good things that happened last year in Rosemount.

Turns out there was a lot.

The city issued 237 building permits last year, 90 more than in 2007. The total value of construction last year was $68 million, 7 percent more than in 2007.

Droste presented his vision of Rosemount's year gone by from one of the most significant additions to take shape last year: the Robert Trail Library. The building, which opened earlier this year, was six years in the making.

A new Intermediate School District 917 school building opened last year in Rosemount and the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District will next week move into a new office in Rosemount, taking over a building that had sat vacant for more than a year.

Droste also pointed to progress on Waterford Commons, the first phase of a long-planned downtown redevelopment. That building, a combination of retail space and apartments, is scheduled to open this fall.

A new Fairview Clinic opened last week and planning is under way for the city's second clinic, a Health East facility on what was once the Genz Ryan Plumbing and Heating.

"We are fortunate to have the growth we experienced last year," Droste said. "We are also aware the next couple years are going to be slower."

Droste pointed to partnerships the city has developed to get things done around town. The city and Dakota County Technical College will install three new soccer fields this year and DCTC students decorated the walls at the Rosemount Community Center.

"It's a little harder to go it alone today," Droste said.

Voters rejected a proposed levy last year to pay for a recreational facility and renovations at the former St. Joseph's Church. Droste said the city would look for "incremental ways" to make improvements at the church.

"Progress will be slow, but we believe progress can be made within constraints," he said.

All in all, Droste said Rosemount's 150th year was a good one.

"Through the last 150 years our residents have accomplished much," he said. "The experiences and sacrifice in Rosemount's history pointed the way to a better future."