Karasek for Mayor Top 5 Priorities for 2016 and Beyond

As your Champlin Mayor, I will continue to provide a voice for the residents of Champlin and work with the community to guide us into the future. One of my favorite things to do is talk to Champlin residents and earnestly listen to what they share with me. Time and time again, I hear that Champlin has a wonderful “small town” feel. I couldn’t agree more; we should embrace what makes Champlin great and strive to make it even better! I love that Champlin has a communal atmosphere, and I will make every effort to keep it that way. We are small enough to really get to know your neighbors. We can build relationships with and support our local businesses.  I will continue the fight to maintain the spirit of Champlin and inspire the residents to play a proactive role in its future.  We have an exceptional city staff and numerous dedicated commissioners that have a voice that also needs to be heard. Working closely with the council and the commissions, I feel we can do some amazing things. We have some very thoughtful and creative people involved in this community. Considering this, we must encourage more collaboration. Our brightest days are before us: these are some truly exciting times. My top five priorities for 2016 and beyond are as follows:

  1. Ensure the development of our riverfront at the Mississippi Crossings and Commons redevelopment areas provide increased access to the Mississippi River for the residents of Champlin, whilst still ensuring an amazing opportunity for businesses to grow and thrive. This project is easily the most important development that Champlin has seen in decades. It is critical that we do it right!
  2. Establish a 2/5/10 year vision for the City of Champlin which is simplified and broken down into categories (residential development, commercial development, police, parks and recreation, budget, community development, etc.). With the cooperation and inclusion of the City Council, establish a clear, definable vision with measurable outcomes. Keep taxes low, keep our streets safe, and provide an engaging environment for growth and prosperity.
  3. Continue to improve a City of Champlin marketing plan to attract business and development. Implement a plan to identify possible candidates for business development and actively market to the prospects. Explore options where the city can creatively attract new business. Promote and develop stronger connections with current Champlin business owners by establishing regularly scheduled forums and discussing the creation of a proactive, engaging relationship with the city staff, council and business owners.
  4. Utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and other means of mass communication to facilitate and foster a collaborative environment with residents and promote community awareness, safety and cooperative input.
  5. Identify creative opportunities for annual community events or attractions. Search for and implement alternative revenue generating sources to help offset the rising costs of operating Champlin.

 Summary Explanation

Councilman Karasek’s top five City Council priorities for 2016 are not only arranged in a hierarchy of importance, but also as the beginning of an organizational structure for implementation. He feels it is critically important to establish a vision for the future and to begin with the end in sight. In order to be effective and efficient with our goals and priorities, we need to know what course we are on and have a measurable outcome for when we reach the end. As the commissions, councils, mayors, and staff change and evolve, the vision and fundamental direction of the city should remain firm.

The Mississippi Crossings and Commons redevelopment areas are significant parts of the future vision of the city. They are projects that if implemented with care and discretion could change the trajectory of business and development in Champlin. The land that was painstakingly acquired by the city over these many years should be given every degree of diligence. We must find the best use of the land whether it affirms or reimagines previously designed concepts. A third of Champlin’s border is along the Mississippi River, but the majority of our residents have very little opportunities the access to it. We need to protect the land that has been acquired as well as ensure that all residents of Champlin will have a vibrant riverfront community providing business, pleasure, and relaxation opportunities.

By establishing a two, five, and ten year vision for the City of Champlin, broken down into categories such as residential development, commercial development, police, parks and recreation, budget, community development, etc., we can provide a structure to establish a clear plan with attainable goals. The key to this goal is measurable outcomes in all categories. Keep taxes low, keep our streets safe and provide an engaging environment for growth and prosperity.

A thorough, well-thought-out marketing plan for the City of Champlin is vital to the growth and development of the city. The promise of the Mississippi Crossings Redevelopment Project can be the decisive draw for a new business to spring up or move to Champlin. However, this project is not the only factor that will attract business growth and development to Champlin. An effective marketing plan should accentuate all the benefits of our fine city and continue to provide new business opportunities. The marketing plan should not be static; it should evolve dynamically as the city and society does. All avenues for marketing Champlin should be examined, including but not limited to, the internet and social media.

It is crucial that we promote and develop stronger connections with current Champlin business owners by establishing regularly scheduled forums and discussing the creation of a proactive, engaging relationship with the city staff, council and business owners. Discussions with local business owners reveal a desire to take part in and promote the future growth and development of Champlin. Collaboration and the understanding of the challenges that local business owners face will foster an environment of mutual respect and trust, allowing businesses to look at the city as a supportive partner rather than a bureaucratic obstacle.

We should continue to effectively utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to nurture a collaborative environment with residents, promote community awareness, and ensure safety.

Leadership must identify creative opportunities for annual community events or attractions. With the ever-rising costs of goods, services, and health insurance, in addition to cost of living adjustments it becomes increasingly difficult to curb the increasing cost of operating a city. Couple that with state mandates that aren’t funded and broadening regulations, and the city is forced to find places to cut just to operate with the same level of services. As John F. Kennedy once said, “Government has to move very fast, just to stand still.”  I would like for us to look for alternate revenue generating opportunities to eliminate or offset rising expenditures.