With high praise for the community, Wenstrom says it is simply just 'time'
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After a dozen years serving the community of Clarkfield, city EDA Director Gene Wenstrom is retiring from his post. "At my age," he says it's time for him to slow down a bit. And as for Clarkfield, it's simply time for a change.
During his tenure overseeing Clarkfield's economic activities, Wenstrom helped facilitate a number of forward looking initiatives that has allowed the city to refortify and maintain amenities that make Clarkfield an ideal place to live, work and play––amidst a rapidly changing world.
"There's a whole host of accomplishments that I am happy about during my time in Clarkfield," Wenstrom said. "The community has to make sure there are things there to make it a desirable place to live, and that's what they've done."
Highlighting the list of investments that have proven wise decisions by the EDA has been Clarkfield's development of the city's Industrial Park, which allowed for for the 3 million bushel, $11.5 million Prairie Grain Partners expansion, completed in the fall of 2011. In addition, Wenstrom said the city's decision to build four, fourplexes, its procurement of a $500,000 DEED Housing and Commercial rehabilitation grant, the development of the Clarkfield Foundation as well as the preservation of the town's hardware store and the re-opening of the cafe have all served to improve or help maintain the community's quality of life.
"Gene has done such a good job for us," said Clarkfield City Council and EDA Board member Neil Linscheid, who noted the lack of empty storefronts downtown as a testament to the EDA's good works. "We've undertaken a lot of projects and new initiatives during his time," he said. "And while it's sad seeing him move on, we're grateful for his help."
As for the city's plans to replace Wenstrom, Linscheid said the EDA board has yet to broach such topics as the group did not meet in December. But adding to the intrigue of the situation is the additional departure board member Paul Wilson as well as the hire of new City Administrator Rebecca Schrupp. Linscheid said that Individuals interested in filling Wilson's vacant seat should contact City Hall.
As for Wenstrom, he says he is hoping to ease into activities associated with the retired life. However, at present, he continues to serve as the EDA Director for Appleton, Clara City and Glenwood. The fact that Clarkfield was the most southern of his job sites was why he decided to step away from his roll amongst the Heart of the Prairie.
"I've always enjoyed working with the Clarkfield community," said Wenstrom. They're great people and great people to work with."