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Mabel progress

Fri, Jan 22nd, 2010
Posted in Progress Edition

Mabel's welcome sign.

The people in Mabel have been working on raising enough money to build a new Community Center. Plans have been drawn up and a location picked out. The building that was on the creamery lot was torn down to make room. Several fundraisers have been organized, but the city is still short of the money to start the project.

Jim Narum has been Mabel's city administrator for the past 32 years. According to Narum, the city and the EDA (Economic Development Authority) devoted a lot of time at the beginning of 2009 working on the fundraisers and looking for other ways to fund what they think would be a great addition to their town. A new building could mean a place for people to host wedding receptions and other parties, and a potential source of income for the city.

Right now the city is continuing to work on the possibility of building a new Community Center. Narum said they are working with the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) to find a loan or grant that would work out for them.

Businesses in Mabel have been busy this last year as well. According to Narum, there is a business outside of town that is relocating to Mabel and putting up a new building. There are also businesses that are planning some remodeling and expanding in 2010, and the city is helping them get a plan.

Mabel has been lucky this past year as far as the economy goes and receiving LGA (Local Government Aid). "There were no cuts last year," said Narum. "We're under a thousand people. I haven't heard of any cuts this year, either."

The state of the country's economy has not had a huge impact on the City of Mabel. "We haven't been affected a lot," said Narum. We're doing what we've always done in the past."

Narum added that as a small town of about 800 people, they don't have a lot to cut. There are only a few people that are employees of the city.

There is one area in which Mabel has seen the effects of the poor economy and that's in collecting money from residents for utility bills. "That difference sure has been noticeable," said Narum.

Like many other cities, Mabel is looking at replacing some water and sewer lines in town. They are also looking at a new water tower to replace their old one.

"We're in the planning stages of the water tower," said Narum. He added that they will need to replace a lot of sewer mains throughout the town. They have televised the whole system and need to find areas that need replacing. Narum explained there are areas that are really old and need to be updated.

To make financing simpler, Narum explained they are combining the water tower and sewer main projects. He said there is some stimulus money that can be used.

The flooding Mabel experienced in 2008 also caused some problems for the city. Using a Hazardous Mitigation Grant through the DNR and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), they were able to pay for the tearing down of five damaged structures in town. They also elevated one business to protect from future flood damages.

In all, Narum felt it was a good year for the city of Mabel, especially since there were no floods. He is hopeful that things will continue to go well, they will be able to build a new Community Center, and complete the water and sewer projects, all in an effort to maintain and improve their community.

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