River Heights trying harder to keep people engaged

RIVER HEIGHTS — A lifelong resident of River Heights recently reached out to KVNU to highlight some of the things her city has done to keep a sense of community going through the pandemic.

In her email she spotlighted the recent festival-like setting outdoors of Apple Days. But she also said the city has done a lot through social media and other avenues to keep the community together news-wise and also so that they can interact and have fun.

On a recent KVNU For the People program, River Heights Mayor Todd Rasmussen said it’s all because of having a creative staff and council. He said they are as invested as he is in making sure people remain unified and together.

“Council member (Sharlie) Gallup, she’s one of our council members, she’s just done an amazing job. Here a couple weeks ago we had Family Night Out. The residents rode around as families on their bicycles and we had three or four different stops in the city that really showcased some local businesses. Zollinger’s Tree Farm had some cider at a local bakery and families just rode their bikes by and visited with some of the people in the city and some of our volunteer staff,” he explained.

Rasmussen feels to keep the city running properly it’s essential to make sure  people feel invested in its functioning.

“I’ve often said when we sit there in council,” he explained, “if nobody is there in the council meeting, being very honest with you, I can feel myself moving toward an autocratic type government where we really don’t need the citizens and we move ahead with decisions. All it takes is one person to enter that room and that sense of accountability and responsibility comes back with a real soberness that makes us want to engage again.”

He said since they have been holding virtual meetings they have seen greater participation by residents than before.

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