By Joshua Schuetz
In a recent “State of the City” gathering on Thursday, January 11, the City of Mapleton presented an overview of its ongoing projects, recognized outstanding community contributors, and delineated the city’s strategic priorities for the approaching year.
Mayor Jeff Annis said the event was well received, noting that it offered community members a chance to learn about the workings of the city they call home. “The gist of it was to communicate what we did, since we have a lot of irons in the fire and a lot of things happening, so it’s a good time to recap what we did.”
During the event, Mayor Annis touched on five major priorities for Mapleton in 2024: improving communication, addressing facility needs, launching childcare initiatives, fostering entrepreneurship and business development, and continuing an emphasis on volunteerism. The city showcased its appreciation for local organizations and individuals through the presentation of prestigious awards, including the “Photo of the Year,” “Organization of the Year” and “Citizen of the Year.” This year’s honorees were Christine Borden, the Maple River FFA, and James Gordon, all of whom were recognized for their outstanding achievements in the
community. Mayor Annis hinted at future recognition for emerging businesses, aiming to inspire entrepreneurship in nontraditional spaces.
Celebrating a recent graduation from the Rural Entrepreneurial Venture program, funded and delivered by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the city received a plaque at the event. The program involved extensive collaboration with local stakeholders to promote sustainable entrepreneurship in the region.
Highlighting the city’s commitment to business development and entrepreneurship, CEDA team member Robert Harris, who serves as Mapleton’s EDA director emphasized the focus on streamlining programs and processes to make navigating local resources easier and more accessible for new startups and existing businesses.
“We’re focused on creating a culture of community champions, so we can streamline business programs in town and create avenues where businesses feel they have a touchpoint to communicate what their challenges are,” Harris stated.