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Editorial: State of city is good, but there are challenges

Rosemount mayor Bill Droste painted a pretty sunny picture when he gave his annual State of the City address Tuesday morning. The city issued more building permits last year than it did in 2007, he said. Several major projects have been completed or gotten well under way since the last time Droste addressed residents.

There are challenges, the mayor admitted, but all things considered Rosemount is doing pretty well.

It's easy to sound optimistic when you're standing in the Robert Trail Library, perhaps the single most anticipated addition to the city in recent memory. And Rosemount is certainly better off than some of its neighbors. But things haven't always been smooth, and they're not likely to get any smoother.

Rosemount added a new library, a new school and a new indoor hockey rink in recent months. It several businesses also closed their doors.

Droste trumpeted projects like Waterford Commons, the retail and apartment complex that is the first phase of the city's long-planned downtown redevelopment. But when there is still unused commercial space just down the street at Rosemount Crossings even a couple of years after that center opened we're curious to see what will happen when the new building opens later this spring.Finding tenants, especially now, could be a challenge.

The city's voters went to the polls last year and rejected a proposed referendum that would have paid for an athletic complex many believe the city needs and for renovations to the former St. Joseph's Church that could have turned it into an arts center that could draw people to the city. Droste on Tuesday promised the city would find "incremental" solutions to fund those projects, but with city and state budgets especially tight this year it will take some creative thinking to get anything significant done.

People are having a hard time in Rosemount like they are everywhere else.

None of this is to criticize Droste's address. It's not the job of a State of the City speech to dwell on the negative and Rosemount's budget planning truly has left the city better off than some of its neighbors in the face of cuts to state aid. But like the opposition party responding to a President's address to congress we felt it was important to offer a bit of a counterpoint to the view presented Tuesday. Rosemount is in pretty good shape, but things could be better.

There are difficult times ahead. But like Droste we're confident Rosemount will make it through.