The past several months have certainly changed our lives and the way the City of Stoughton operates.

Initiatives from COVID-19 included protecting our community and staff while providing essential services. We have done this through salaried staff working additional hours, volunteerism, collaboration, virtual meetings, working remotely, increased online transactions, and record numbers of absentee ballots. Many vital city programs and services continue in different forms.

I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of the way the staff, my fellow business owners and community have responded.

Moving City Hall to the McFarland Sate Bank building has already paid dividends. Those who paid their taxes, purchased their permits or voted in person experienced safe, friendly and efficient service. We expect the building to continue to serve the community even better as we improve the road and parking lot this summer. Renovation in the Opera Hall offices has begun.

Much needed major Wisconsin Department of Transportation road construction on Main Street from Page Street to Hoel Avenue will be completed this year, as well as many other road improvements, including the downtown streetlights, sidewalks and crosswalk upgrades.

Phase 1 of Kettle Park West business expansion continued in the last year with the addition of Great Clips, AT&T, Dunkin Donuts, Century 21, and T&T Nails. The Tru by Hilton hotel will open this fall.

Phase 2 of KPW, The Meadows, was approved by the Common Council. The city expects to produce nearly 200 single-family homes, with multiple price points. Construction may begin this year. And single-family lots are still available at Nordic Ridge.

These housing units are important for employers, the Stoughton Area School District and our local businesses, who have suffered through the COVID-19 crisis.

We have an approved plan for the retail/multi-unit housing on Nygaard Street and a pending offer on the lot next to Culver’s for a future retail site. In the past year, we annexed 33 areas of developable land on U.S. Hwy. 51 West for future housing and retail.

The Redevelopment Authority has cleared the riverfront site. A Request for Expressed Interest process was developed and executed. The RDA has been working with Curt Brink to begin the much-anticipated project.

This site is expected to produce a minimum of 250 dwellings. The RDA’s Marathon site continues to move forward (while avoiding litigation) when it was discovered there is a use restriction on the title.

We continue to write grants for the Riverfront Development and the Whitewater Park as we learn more about impacts to the river, trails and economic benefits.

Last year, I reported we had listed an 18+ acre commercial lot for sale in Business Park North. I am pleased to say we have sold two of the four lots and anticipate selling a third lot this year. Exclusively Roses will be constructing a new building to expand their business and GIP-Glacier Moraine LLC will be building a series of business incubator units. Stellar Services and The Printing House are constructing additions on their respective buildings.

Stoughton Trailers is selling a parcel to a Zink Power to add a new process to their trailer manufacturing and expand their Plant 6 operations. The Plan Commission approved the Site Plan for Zink Power with the anticipation of adding 90 new jobs.

The Common Council approved an Emergency Order and a resolution waiving fees and conditional use permit to allow restaurants to have outdoor dining. We continue to look for options to provide relief and opportunities for our business community. There are multiple offers to purchase the movie theatre building.

Since last year, several new businesses have or are planning on opening, expanding, relocating or have new ownership. These include Midwest Best, Babyface Family Photography 1833 Speakeasy, Financial Innovation, Abel Contemporary Gallery, Shakers Saloon, Ocean Counseling, Main Event Resale, La Cantina, Main and Page Auto, Yahara Chocolate, Gemini Games, Dune Gifts + Home, DTS Tek, MC Squared LLC, Primal Fitness, Grasshopper Goods, Morale’s Family Restaurant, Nate’s Classic Barbershop, Viking Day Camp, The Posh Beauty Bar, Ferraro Real Estate Team, Integrity Title, Rossi’s Pizza and Roxy’s Restobar, Culvers, McDonald’s, Edge One, Dairyland Electric, Cheesers, Tailgaters, the Free Health Clinic and Kwik Trip.

Collaboration has become more important than ever to address the COVID-19. I have participated in calls from the White House, State, Federal Representatives and Senators, Dane County, Mayors, League of Municipalities, Cities and Villages, Stoughton Area School District, Chamber of Commerce, Stoughton Health and others.

Stoughton continues to lead and is poised to provide quality and strategic growth for our present and future needs.

Tim Swadley is the Mayor of Stoughton.