Monticello City Council Highlights - July 26, 2021


July 26, 2021

EDA Annual Update

Economic Development Manager Jim Thares presented the annual Economic Development department update.

“The 2020-2021 workplans included six components: downtown redevelopment was the top goal or priority for the EDA. Promoting industrial and commercial development was the second priority, housing development was third. The IEDC’s priorities were labor force development and business retention and expansion. In 2020 the CARES Act came to the city and money was provided to the EDA and that’s where the COVID-19 emergency response efforts were established,” said Thares.

EDA ANNUAL UPDATE: Presentation intro slideHe then elaborated further explaining that Block 52 was the top priority of the Downtown Redevelopment work plan as well as the Façade Improvement Program. One highlight was that the façade improvements to the Agosto building were completed in late 2020, with three new applications submitted this spring/summer, all of which are on Block 35.

According to Thares, there were 38 EDA CARES Act grants approved for $5,000 each. Eight additional City CARES Act grants were also approved for restaurants and microbreweries in the community.

Riverfest Recap

Riverfest 2021 was a huge success according to Riverfest City Liaison Tom Pawelk.

“Overall, it was a good turnout. Second highest gross sales that the Riverfest committee has ever seen, so that’s pretty good. Record beer sales… and duck adoptions were basically sold out, so that’s 5,000 ducks sold,” said Pawelk.

The first night [Thursday] kicked off at Pioneer Park, with a Monticello firefighter showing up strong for a second year in a row and winning the pie eating contest. Mayor Hilgart teased that may only be because he’s “not invited back” to the pie eating contest after winning twice.

“Friday night, the talent show had 22 acts and we followed it up with a wonderful fireworks display, sponsored by the City of Monticello. The Lions Bean Bag tournament on Saturday had 49 entries,” said Pawelk.

Pawelk added that while Sunday’s parade was shorter than past years, with no royalty candidates or visiting royalty; the shorter parade might have been preferable given the heat. He joked that the kids didn’t seem to mind because they still got plenty of candy.

Online Building Permits

City of Monticello is now offering online building permits for permits that do not require a plan review. Visit our website to check it out! 

Council Approval

  • Council approved Special Event Permit
    • City Council approved a Special Event Permit and temporary liquor license for the Rotary’s Taste of the Towns event. The event will be held on Thursday, September 16 in the commuter lot on Deegan Ave. 

  • Council approved new restrooms for Ellison Park
    • City Council approved the purchase of modular restrooms to replace the existing restrooms at Ellison Park. The project will also include ADA improvements in the area around the bathroom.
  • Council approved proceeding with bids for DMV relocation
    • City Council approved notifying the State of Minnesota of intent to move the DMV from its current location to the Prairie Center building at 118 W. 6th Street. Council also approved proceeding with bids for the improvements necessary to remodel the first floor of the building for the DMV. City Council will consider officially ordering the improvements at a future meeting.


Citizens are welcome to attend City Council, Planning Commission, and Economic Development Authority meetings, but we understand that attending in person is not always an option. As an alternative, we offer the following options to stay engaged with your local government:

  • Meetings are broadcast live on cable channel 12 (FiberNet and TDS subscribers) or channel 180 (Charter subscribers).
  • Meetings are streamed live online. View the live stream on the Monticello Live Stream website.
  • Meetings recordings are available online to watch when it's convenient for you. View the meeting recordings on the Monticello Live Stream website.
  • Meetings are rebroadcast throughout the week on cable channel 12 (FiberNet & TDS subscribers) or channel 180 (Charter subscribers).


Sep 23

[ARCHIVED] The Dragonfly Effect: New Sculpture Installed in East Bridge Park

The original item was published from September 23, 2023 12:49 AM to September 23, 2023 10:25 AM

The Dragonfly Effect: New Sculpture Installed in East Bridge Park

The beautiful, floral landscaping of East Bridge Park has attracted thousands of pollinators and people alike to Monticello for decades. Now, another addition paying homage to the park’s significance has come to town!Parker McDonald's new sculpture in East Bridge Park

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 city staff, MontiArts, members of the Parks, Arts, & Recreation Commission, the City’s volunteer Garden Club, and the Dragonfly Society of MN gathered at East Bridge Park to welcome Parker McDonald and celebrate his latest creation for Monticello: a new sculpture of a dragonfly, grasshopper, and a ladybug on long stalks.

McDonald says dragonflies have always been a fascination of his, “When I was a kid, I was always outside, always catching and collecting insects and dragonflies.”

When he was young, McDonald ‘caught’ an unhatched dragonfly, brought it home and put it in an aquarium. He says when it hatched, there was a beautiful, big, green, and blue dragonfly. That experience sparked his love and affinity for dragonflies.

“This is the fourth dragonfly sculpture I’ve made, but it is the largest,” said McDonald.

Several years ago, East and West Bride Park were home to significant dragonfly research efforts in Minnesota. A founding member of the Dragonfly Society of MN, Curt Oien, spoke briefly about Arne Myrabo, a Monticello resident whose research and work in our city’s parks received state-wide recognition.

“Minnesota was one of the most under surveyed states for dragonfly research in the country,” said Oien, “Arne’s contributions made a huge impact on what we know now. So much so, that he was even awarded a volunteer of the year award for his work as a as a Minnesota Master Naturalist and his dragonfly surveys.”

That research and its impact inspired the installation of this sculpture.

“A few years ago, this concept was submitted to the City of Monticello for East Bridge Park and it really stood out to us, especially because of the dragonfly significance this park has. It was a close, close second to ‘The Gathering’ sculpture you see at the entrance now, but we knew we wanted to incorporate it somehow,” said Parks, Arts, and Recreation Director Tom Pawelk. “Last year, when Parker was here for the Bass sculpture installation at Ellison Park, we put the wheels in motion for this project,” he added.

This stunning sculpture would not have been possible without the grant we received from the Central MN Arts Board (CMAB). We also would like to give a huge shout out to our wonderful MontiArts team, our volunteer garden club for all their hard work keeping or community beautiful and selecting a beautiful place for the sculpture to go, all the city staff who helped with the planning and installation, and Parker himself for being a pillar in our arts community for over two decades, and inspiring local artists with his talents!

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About the Monticello Arts Initiative

Monticello's growing arts and entertainment options provide a variety of experiences for all ages! Connectivity through creativity is the core value behind the Monticello Arts Initiative (MontiArts). What started as an initiative in 2018 to help make the downtown area a vibrant, invigorating space where people enjoy spending time and being active - has grown into a thriving group that connects local creatives to one another. 

Whether you enjoy the over 30 pieces of public art in Monticello (sculptures, murals, etc.), participate in the GLOW parade, High School Art Club, or their weekly events like open mic night or open studio; MontiArts has something for everyone!

If you would like to learn more about MontiArts or are interested in getting involved, follow MontiArts on Facebook, email the MontiArts or visit their website for more information!

Gathered at East Bridge Park to welcome Parker McDonald and celebrate his latest creation.