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City notes: Events keep residents engaged

One of the joys of summer is that it’s easier to come together as a community. Today Rosemount is between two great events that bring us closer. Leprechaun Days has just completed a successful run. And the Night to Unite block parties are just ahead.

My colleagues on the city council and I take advantage of those opportunities to talk with residents and learn their concerns. Last weekend, we had a booth in Central Park where we talked to dozens of people who were kind enough to stop by. We were joined by members of the Rosemount Youth Commission, helping us keep a focus on the bright future of the community.

I find there’s one misconception we often have to correct. Folks tell us they love Leprechaun Days and they thank the city for putting it on. Well, we don’t. The celebration is the creation of a committee of volunteers. They put in a year of work to bring those 10 days of fun to completion.

The city does provide a lot of support, including the work of the parks & rec, public works and police departments. But Leprechaun Days succeeds in large part because of the work of volunteers who step up to create it.

Because it’s citizen-driven, it’s no wonder that our community survey showed three out of four residents participate in the celebration — a number that’s held steady over the last 10 years even as many newcomers have moved into Rosemount. Those are the ties that strengthen a community.

Among the items we were proud to display at the council’s booth were some of the results of the past year’s work by University of Minnesota students in the Resilient Communities Project. They took a hard look at some of the city’s needs as part of their graduate-level courses. We intend to leverage their research and the public’s response to it in our planning for the next few years.

Our next opportunity to get your views may be just down the street from your home, at one of the 30-plus block parties to be held Tuesday evening during Night to Unite. It’s a national event, but we keep the focus local as council and staff members try to reach as many of the parties as we can. Again, our latest survey showed that 72 percent of residents have taken part in these and other neighborhood events, a number at the top end of communities in the Twin Cities.

I find we get some of our most valuable feedback during these summer events. I hope to see you there. Please feel free to keep sharing your views on Rosemount’s future throughout the year.

Mayor Bill Droste authored this column.

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