It’s been a while since I last wrote in the Herald. Time flies when you are busy!

I want to start by saying Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I hope that you can spend at least some part of the holidays with your family and/or friends. If you had a chance to spend some time in downtown Chaska, I hope you’ve enjoyed the festive decorations in Firemen’s Park and City Square Park. Thanks again to the Chaska 100 Club for funding these!

My wish for the New Year is that COVID would go away, even though I know that probably won’t come true. While the case numbers in Minnesota continue to rise, here in Carver County, cases seem to have leveled off a bit. Even so, new variants keep popping up, which makes COVID spread more easily. Let’s keep following public health guidelines. One of the best ways to stay as healthy as possible is to get the vaccine. It’s safe and effective.

As the calendar turns to 2022, we are looking for Chaska residents to serve on one of our city commissions. We have openings on all four of our commissions — Heritage Preservation, Parks & Recreation, Planning and Human Rights. Joining a commission is a great way to make a difference in our community. If you’re interested, I encourage you to apply on our website, chaskamn.com/467/Commission-Applicant-Information.

ROAD WORK

Downtown street reconstruction on portions of Fifth Street, Walnut Street, and the Sixth Street bridge is wrapping up for the year. Because of the unusually warm weather last week, we actually did some paving work, which is very uncommon in December. There will be a final paving and landscaping work to take care of next spring/summer.

Next summer, our downtown reconstruction project will cover East Fifth Street, East Sixth Street and Maple Street. After that, we will just have parts of the streets around City Square West and City Square Park left. Those will be reconstructed when those areas are redeveloped, and that will finish the downtown streets being reconstructed.

In addition to downtown city street reconstruction, County Road 61 (Chaska Boulevard) from Highway 41 to Yellow Brick Road will also be under construction in 2022. This is the first phase of the Downtown Highway 41 Project. Also part of next year we will be doing some alley way and parking improvements in preparation for the 2023 Highway 41 reconstruction. This project will make Highway 41 a safer and less congested road into the future.

In 2023, the project will move to reconstructing the stretch of Highway 41 from the river to Firemen’s Park. You can stay in the know about the construction timeline by signing up for email updates on the project website, downtownhwy41.com.

EVENTS

You may remember that our Human Rights Commission typically holds a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. While this program was virtual last year, it will return to the Chaska Event Center on Monday, Jan. 17 at 8 a.m. I encourage you to attend if you can. It is always inspirational to reflect on the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

If you can’t make it in person, you can always tune into Comcast channel 14 or the Chaska Community Television YouTube channel: youtube.com/chaskacommunitytelevision.

The Chaska Fire Department Relief Association is hosting its annual Fishing Contest on Saturday, Feb. 5 from 1-3 p.m. in Firemen’s Park. I’ve always called this the social event of the winter. It’s fun for the whole family and getting out and seeing everyone. You can do some fishing, or just let the kids run around outside.

Members of the Fire Department are also selling raffle tickets for the event. If you see a firefighter around town, you can buy a ticket for $20.00. Each ticket gives you a chance to win cash prizes ranging from $100 to $5,000.

Check our City of Chaska Communications or Chaska Fire Department Facebook page for more details. Hopefully, Mother Nature makes the ice on the Clayhole thick enough for people to walk on it.

Have you noticed the large building that was put up really fast on the south side of Engler Boulevard by Highway 212? This is a warehouse and office space that is part of the Chaska Creek Business Park. There are plans for two more of these to go up. These will bring more jobs and economic development to Chaska, which are great things for our community.

CENSUS

The 2020 Census results are out, and our population is now 27,400, which keeps us the largest city in Carver County. The Census data also gives us a look at the population counts in our wards. We need to have a similar number of residents make up each ward.

With more people moving into southwest Chaska, this could very well change the boundaries for our four wards. That means we may need to adjust polling locations, and some people may end up with a different councilmember. The state is going through the redistricting process right now. Once the state is done, we’ll know more about what we have to do before the 2022 election cycle.

The City Square West project is still moving forward. Back in October, we hosted the State House Capital Investment Committee bonding tour and gave them an overview of the project. We are also trying to get on the State Senate bonding tour in January. Securing some state funding will help us fund the infrastructure of the public pieces of the project.

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you all celebrate safely during the holiday season and have a happy new year!

Mark Windschitl is the mayor of Chaska

Events