Kinni River Corridor Project

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March 22, 2016

Contact: Mary Zimmermann

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Contact: Keri Schreiner

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Former Duluth Mayor Don Ness to keynote April 6 “Tech Talk”


River Falls, WI – The third of six community “Tech Talks” – part of the Kinni Corridor Project planning process – will be held Thursday, April 6, from 6:30-8 p.m., at St. Bridget Catholic Church, 211 East Division St. The event is open to the public; there is no fee to attend.

(NOTE: This is a venue change. The event will NOT be at the River Falls Public Library as previously scheduled.)

The Tech Talk, “Economic and Neighborhood Development,” is part of the City of River Falls’ comprehensive, multi-year planning process to consider the existing and future relationship of the community with the Kinnickinnic River and adjoining urban and undeveloped areas. When complete, the Corridor Plan will establish a future vision for the area and strategies for implementation.

The April 6 Tech Talk will feature Don Ness, former mayor of Duluth, MN. He will share stories and experiences about transformational waterfront-related projects in Duluth to illustrate the complexities and interconnectivity of a long-term development project, as well as the importance of active participation in the community planning process.

“We are so pleased to welcome Mayor Ness to River Falls,” said City Administrator Scot Simpson. “His stories and experiences will provide valuable insights and food for thought as the Kinni Project planning process unfolds.”

Ness served as mayor of Duluth from 2008-2016, running unopposed in his second term. Among his many honors and awards, Mayor Ness was selected as the Twin Cities Business Journal’s Person of the Year, and the Labovitz School of Business and Economics Business Person of the Year, both in 2014. In 2016, he received the Midwest Book Award and Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for his memoir, “Hillsider: Snapshots of a Curious Political Journey.” Ness earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and economics from the University of Minnesota-Duluth a master’s degree in management from The College of St. Scholastica.

In 2009, Mayor Ness organized the first St. Louis River Corridor Summit to begin developing a comprehensive vision for the corridor area. His efforts resulted in the St. Louis River Corridor Initiative, a hallmark of his second term. Mayor Ness has also been recognized for:

  • Developing and supporting partnerships with private sector businesses to encourage job creation and investment;
  • Implementing a capital infrastructure plan for streets and sanitary sewer overflows;
  • Encouraging development and investment in the City;
  • Reducing the general fund budget and increasing the budget reserve; and
  • Creating a unified development code – the first in 50 years.

Prior to the keynote, River Falls City Administrator Scot Simpson will provide introductory remarks. The last half-hour will be devoted to questions and answers from community participants.

Future Kinni Project Tech Talk dates and topics include

May 18: Hydro Facilities and Relicensing

July 20: Dam Removal Alternatives

Sept. 7: Recreation and Tourism 

See the project timeline for planning milestones through June 2019.