Rosemount mayor eager to lead, serve community in fifth term
Rosemount Mayor Bill Droste is looking forward to the upcoming election results even though he is running unopposed for his seat. It will be his fifth term if elected.
"I have done a lot of work and I have a lot of energy and the passion to continue to do it," Droste said.
Droste will complete his fourth term in December, but this is the second time he is running unopposed for his seat.
After serving the city for almost 16 years, Droste did take some time to seriously contemplate serving another term and said it was a somewhat difficult decision, especially since his wife died this year. He readily admits it has been a difficult year.
One reason Droste decided to run again, he said, can be linked to seeing the fruition of potential growth and development slated to come to the city within the UMore Park land.
Land located off Biscayne Avenue all the way to County Road 42 will be developed.
Interested in learning about development, Droste referred to a trip the city took to visit the former Stapleton International Airport in Denver.
"We brought back a lot of good ideas and it has progressed down the road," Droste said about UMore Park. "The process is moving forward and there is mining being done and a significant amount of gravel on the west side."
Two years ago, the city signed an agreement with Opus that purchased 158.8 acres of UMore Park property in Rosemount owned by University of Minnesota. Now there is a new purchase agreement and one in process with Newland Communities.
"We are finally getting to the point where action and things are happening," he said.
Prior to leading as mayor, Droste served seven years on the Rosemount Planning Commission. "That gave me a tremendous amount of knowledge about land use, zoning and how to move through development processes," Droste said.
Growing up on a farm in eastern Iowa, Droste said his understanding of agricultural land issues has served him well since many constituents live on land that is considered farmland.
Change can be difficult for some residents, especially if the change brings uncertainty.
"If you have lived here for multiple generations and the feel was always an open field, and now it is going to be developed into housing — that can be difficult for anyone," Droste said.
In the past year, some residents voiced concern and frustration about the Metropolitan Council at a forum where the plans for 2040 Comprehensive Plan were outlined.
"It (The Met Council) is an easy group to blame because they are large ... and all the federal funds do flow down to the Met Council," Droste said. "But in my experience, they are good to work with and they listen to local government."
Two failed referendums
Two recreational facility referendums have failed during Droste's tenure.
"The first one was probably wise that it failed because it was just after the recession," Droste said. "If it was approved, we would have been issuing bonds and back then the unemployment was high and growth basically stopped."
In both cases, Droste said there were large groups within Rosemount with interests in supporting soccer or hockey.
"We agreed with them to move forward even though at the time ... a community survey (showed) that the support was not strong to support another sheet of ice," Droste said.
City Council recently approved moving forward with a feasibility study to see if there is still interest in a new recreational facility.
Perhaps the city could look into building a recreational facility that could fulfill different kinds of the community's recreational needs, Droste said.
"We hired the firm and we are spending the money and they will come back with something and we will move on from there," Droste said.
The results from the feasibility should come back to City Council by early next year.
Rosemount's existing assets and amenities comes natural for Droste. He can often be found sharing the city's story as he boasts about the thriving arts community, the engaged youth and adult volunteer network, and the city's schools.
"I am not naïve and I know it is not all about the cities, but it is about schools and it is about public safety," Droste said. "We have to always look at better ways to reach out and engage our residents and we want to make sure we have all the amenities to keep them active and growing in a positive direction because that is important."