Annual report hits city’s highlights for 2013

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

During 2013, the city of Elk River opened a new park, repaired and reconstructed streets, saw more home building and set an attendance record at the downtown concert series.

Those were just a few of the facts outlined in the city’s new 2013 annual report, which was presented to the City Council on Monday.

Some of the highlights include:

Throngs of kids tried out the new Orono Park playground when it opened in June.
Throngs of kids tried out the new Orono Park playground when it opened in June.

–On the parks front, a new destination playground at Orono Park officially opened on June 25 and the 23-acre Bailey Point Nature Preserve celebrated its grand opening on Aug. 14.

–The 2013 Riverfront Concert Series set an all-time attendance record with more than 10,000 people attending the 10 free outdoor concerts in downtown Elk River.

–The Elk River Activity Center, a 55-plus facility at 413 Proctor Ave., also had a record attendance year. Participation was up 8 percent with a total of 24,840 visitors.

–The improving economy boosted construction with 82 new homes built in 2013. In all, more than 1,800 new building permits were issued with a new construction value of $38.4 million.

–Business additions and expansion included plans for the construction of a new Starbucks Coffee franchise, a Noodles and Company restaurant, Cornerstone Auto Oil Change Center, the addition of Steiss Auto Sales, an Alliance Machine Co. expansion and groundbreaking for Preferred Powder Coating on a new 100,000-square-foot facility.

–Overall, the city completed $3.6 million in street projects in 2013.

–A redesigned city website debuted in March of 2013.

–The Elk River Fire Department initiated organizational changes and completed a long-term strategic planning process.

–The city’s waste water treatment plant will require major improvements to comply with new pollution control requirements. Design work has begun on a facility plan and construction is expected to begin in this summer.

–Total sales at the city’s Northbound and Westbound liquor stores hit $6.75 million in 2013, an increase of $238,475 over 2012.

The report was presented in a new interactive format called Storymapping. To see the full report, go to